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Movie news, reviews, features and more thoughts coming soon...

By midlandsmovies, Oct 8 2019 11:05AM



Midlands Spotlight – STAY INSIDE 2: VINCENT’S REVENGE


A new action drama film is due for release in 2019 from local filmmaker Joshua Griffiths. We find out about this exciting new flick from the West Midlands.


Joshua Griffiths is an actor and teacher and began his film production company JJR Films around 5 years ago in the Midlands region.


Ever since, the company have created films of different lengths and genres and was set up to give him and his cast and crew friends a chance to showcase their talents including acting, writing and producing their own films.


Wolverhampton-based Joshua is taking on the roles of actor, writer and director himself for the film and the young movie-maker has already starred in the Midlands-made World War 1 short The Long Way Home. (Click here for Midlands Movies link)


Influenced by horror and action, Joshua’s latest film is a sequel which picks up the story of best friends Jason and Dean whose friendship was tested when someone from their past, Vincent, once paid them a visit.


After an incident saw Vincent disappear from their lives the two tried to hide from their past but this new film asks whether Vincent could be back for revenge. The film also stars Jordan Shaw and Ryan Corry.



Previous JJR Films have also included horror/thrillers “Tetanus” and “Escape” whilst the original “Stay Inside” was an action feature from a few years back.


And as well as appearing in The Long Way Home, Joshua has acted as an extra in music videos and Yesterday – the recent Danny Boyle/Richard Curtis Beatles-inspired film.


With the film due for completion soon and a host of festivals ready to be submitted to via Film Freeway, check out Stay Inside 2 Vincents Revenge when it is released soon.


Follow Josh and the future of this project on his social media links below


Twitter: https://twitter.com/JoshJoshieg98

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/joshuagriffiths21




By midlandsmovies, Sep 13 2019 10:21AM



Midlands Spotlight - All That You Love Will Be Carried Away


The premiere of “All That You Love Will Be Carried Away”, which is produced by Harms Way Studios, will be on Sunday 22nd September at the Odeon Worcester.


The film stars Jack Frank, Gabriella Leonardi, Christian Vaccaro, Leona Clarke, Christian Dapp, Carys Jones, Zoe Doughty and James Kay in the lead roles. Writer/Director Hendrik Harms adapted the popular Stephen King story in a unique way with pumping synth, neon hues and noir tones. And the film has a blistering score by Elliot Hardman and visuals from cinematographer Elliot Wallis.




Based on the short story by Stephen King. All That You Love Will Be Carried Away tells the story of Alfie Zimmer, a travelling salesman, who collects interesting graffiti. Every time he finds a new piece he writes it in his book. These scribblings are his “friends”. However, there are darker truths hidden in these words, and it will take all of Alfie’s strength to face what he’s been running from and keep his head above water as his life collapses around him.


Shot predominantly in Worcester at the Whitehouse Hotel and in Birmingham at the bar Subside, this is a film that is all about keeping it local.




Witer-director Hendrik Harms explains, “When making this film we were overwhelmed with the support from the community. We had catering provided by Ma Bakers, Boston Tea Party, Waitrose and Tesco, as well as some delicious home cooked meals. The Whitehouse Hotel could not have been more accommodating too. It really showed us how much Worcester has to offer for filmmakers and why it was so important to screen our premiere here in the city centre".


"This project is the culmination of so much generosity and passion from so many people that I can’t wait for them to see it on the big screen", adds Hendrik.



Director Hendrik Harms
Director Hendrik Harms

The film is part of Stephen King’s Dollar Baby scheme, which gives filmmakers the rights to adapt one of his short stories for just a single dollar. When it’s completed a DVD of the film will be sent to him, prior to its international tour of film festivals.


“We actually shot the film in 5 days, which is a massive undertaking for the script that we had, but thanks to every single person in the cast and crew being on top form, everything was incredibly smooth. It was an electric experience.”


For more information please check out the film's official pages below:


www.facebook.com/harmswaystudios

www.instagram.com/harmswaystudios

www.harmswaystudios.com



By midlandsmovies, Sep 13 2019 09:20AM



Midlands Spotlight - 3rd Annual Q-Film Weekender 8-10 November


The Q-Film Weekender returns to the Northampton Filmhouse from Friday 8 to Sunday 10 November 2019 for its third year.


Running across three days, the festival celebrates queer cinema from around the world, showcasing LGBTQIA+ talent and films with an exciting programme of features and shorts, exclusive previews and complementary events. Highlights of the festival are now on-sale with further films to be announced.


The programme includes award-winning films such as Céline Sciamma’s highly-acclaimed Portrait of a Lady on Fire and the trans documentary Seahorse: The Dad Who Gave Birth, followed by an exclusive Q&A with star Freddy McConnell.


Other events and Q&As include a selection of shorts and a special ‘In Conversation’ with trans filmmaker Jake Graf on Saturday 9t November. Tickets for these films and events can now be booked via the Filmhouse website www.northamptonfilmhouse.com or by calling 01604 624811.


The Q-Film Weekender is also proud to announce its Q-Film panellists: Q-Film’s Cat Nicholas, Co-Chair of Northampton Pride and Community Co-Chair of Northampton Borough Council’s LGBTQIA+ Forum Matthew Toresen, Screen Northants co-founder Becky Adams, Borough Councillor for Phippsville Anna King and Northampton Outlaw’s Simon Chapman.


The full programme is to be announced shortly on the Northampton Filmhouse website and the Weekender’s social media.


The Q-Film Weekender is presented in association with Q-Film and has been made possible by grant funding from Film Audience Network.


By midlandsmovies, Sep 12 2019 12:35PM




Midlands Spotlight - Day of the Stranger


Whilst his other movie The Pocket Film of Superstitions is in full swing, local filmmaker Tom Lee Rutter is closing the book on another film that has had a more complicated journey.


And after a near-6 year battle, this highly unique and ambitious Midlands movie is finally all set to attract a cult crowd...


Billed as the only British Guerilla Acid Western ever made, new film Day of the Stranger was full of filming obstacles and hardships. With a traumatic behind the scenes story as dramatic as the movie itself, the film finally looks set to be unleashed upon the world.


In true guerilla fashion, filmmaker Tom Lee Rutter and his crew took to the sand-stoned countryside of Worcestershire to achieve the unthinkable - a West Midlands psychedelic, horror Western.


True to form, what started as a group of enthusiastic individuals making a film turned into an ordeal which spanned nearly 6 years of obstacles to get the film finished.


''Several times it nearly never happened, I was ready to bury it", says Tom.


"Everything you can imagine that went wrong went wrong - from erratic behaviour of certain individuals, constant re-shoots and re-casting to hard-drives dying on me. We had it all. Your classic underground film-making horror story.'' explains the director.


With the help of the enthusiasm of individuals and the recent involvement of new talent, new life has been breathed into the film and seen it to the finish line. 'It's a miracle we have a film at all, but such is the journey on the front-line of underground film.''


Now a trailer has been released along with an official poster. The film is a throwback homage to the sparse run of the acid-western sub-genre which included films such as Monte Hellman's The Shooting (1966), Alejandro Jodorowsky's El Topo (1970) and Robert Downey's Greaser's Palace (1972).


Aiming for an early 2020 world premiere and starring a wealth of talent including Gary Baxter (Beyond Fury), Richard Rowbotham (White Goods) and a special appearance by Gary Shail (Quadrophenia, Metal Mickey) Day of the Stranger looks set to offer something different to the world of cult and horror indie cinema.





By midlandsmovies, Sep 11 2019 09:41AM



Midlands Spotlight - Beginners Youth Film Academy


The Beginners Youth Film Academy (BYFA) is a new after-school Academy that focuses on both acting and filmmaking that has been recently launched by Midlands-based Country Star Productions.


Run by Sharni Tapako-Brown and Gary Rogers, the BYFA is moving to a weekly academy running initially from Haybridge High School in Hagley, Worcestershire with a view of expanding to other areas.


Company founder Gary Roger’s early working career started in electronic engineering and software design where he helped develop a technical background which would prove very useful in later years.



After this, Gary became a qualified teacher of PGCE status spending around 10 years teaching ICT, DT and Media whilst developing his filmmaking career. And as he got more involved in indie filmmaking the demand also grew to a point that it became his full-time career, starting his own company Pixel Perfection Media.


Since then, a new production company was started with Sharni Tapako-Brown called Country Star Productions with the aim of producing high quality films, some of which have gone on to be multi award winning films and include a wide variety of projects such as music videos and corporate and commercial work.


From working in the industry professionally and drawing on her teaching experience in schools and drama Academies, Sharni Tapako-Brown wanted to expand and share her knowledge too. "Drama and film helped me to express myself, giving me the confidence to succeed, and so I want to implement that to all students I teach".



Sharni has now expanded her profile by becoming a producer and writer for Country Star Productions alongside Gary Rogers. As a woman in film, she believes that there is no limit of what you can learn from others, and thus no limit of what you can achieve for yourself.


Their school focuses on not only acting and live performance, but also acting for camera, film and TV as well as how to use top end camera, lighting and sound equipment. The BYFA also have ties with known actors such as Michael McKell who is their official patron, stunt coordinators, casting agencies all of which gets you closer to the industry you are striving to be part of.


So the end outcome of the year will be the students’ involvement in film development which will contribute towards receiving a professional looking portfolio, consisting of showreels, films to keep, IMDB credits, film festivals and much more.


Finally, the academy offers Trinity Arts awards as part of the course, which are industry-recognised qualifications; giving students UCAS points towards further education. BYFA is not only qualified to deliver the award but are also a registered Arts Award Centre.


To join and find out more information head to their official website: www.byfacademy.co.uk


By midlandsmovies, Aug 16 2019 10:36AM



Midlands Spotlight - Hokum


Hokum is a new movie from Lee Charlish that is currently in pre-production and scheduled for a late 2019 release.


An ambitious project which is being entirely self-funded by Lee himself (who will also produce and direct his original screenplay), Hokum follows his previous projects where a great emphasis placed on creating ‘a world in which things seem out of place; awkward or decidedly unfamiliar’.


Leading to a distinctly unsettling feel, the movie’s subject matter involves the spiritual world, mysticism, tarot and demons - both real and imaginary.


Despite the confines of a non-existent budget, Lee says, “It has steadily evolved into something even bigger than the original premise which was larger than life already”.


“Thankfully, despite having no discernible budget or funding, it has been written with an appreciation of what’s realistically achievable without compromising its unique style and premise”.


With the possibility of the film being developed into a feature, the filmmaker still thinks the short packs a sufficient punch in its anticipated 18-minute run time.


Hokum itself tells the tale of Ash, who is tormented by demons and tries to obtain redemption from an angered spirit world. Donnie, his violent and thuggish accomplice, is desperate to lay his hands on illicit cash and will stop at nothing to obtain it, even if he must sell his own soul.


Described as a ‘fantasy chiller with elements of the real, the ethereal and surreal’, Lee adds, “It’s a big project with lots to go at and there’s plenty which could go wrong. However, there’s been a real buzz and lots of engagement with local, exciting talent who have volunteered their services since seeing early promotional material or have answered casting calls”.


Attached early on were Korky Films stalwarts Adrian Annis and Jim Low, who are described by Lee as the “superlative dream team”. “These guys are immense and really carry a scene. What’s important is that they completely get my style and the vibe I try to create and immerse themselves wholeheartedly into the mouth of madness! They are also both great fun without ego, which is important”.


Adrian Annis has an impressive CV in feature films and shorts and will play Shepherd, the Shaman and Jim Low has been cast as the movie’s important ‘baddie’ - Donnie. And recruited via Facebook casting calls are Elaine Ward, from Birmingham but now residing in Warwickshire, who will assume the role of The Clairvoyant and Peter James from Leicester who will take the role of the ‘troubled’ Ash. Elaine has also been in her own short film, Tea for Two which premiered at the Birmingham Film Festival in 2018.


Completing the cast are Alex Kapila from Stratford-Upon-Avon as Fortune, the drug-addled acolyte of Shepherd and Hannah Hargraves from Leamington Spa, as The Hostage.


To fulfil the movie’s ambitions, Lee’s vision will incorporate extensive production design elements and wardrobe to adorn the unique characters contained within the story.


And he finishes by saying, “Whether we can successfully pull it off is yet to be seen, but I’m excited and confident with all attached so far. There will be a powerhouse effort to get his made and in a way which does the story and script justice.”


Check out the poster above and more news on the official Hokum movie website here - https://leecharlish.wixsite.com/hokum



By midlandsmovies, Aug 3 2019 04:48PM



Midlands Spotlight - Film Press Kits and Festival Planning


In August 2019 we spent an amazing day with filmmaker Daniel Alexander who invited us to Birmingham to talk local film, press, marketing and short film festivals to a group of future movie-makers participating in the 'Back In' film development programme.


The programme is aimed to support support BAME filmmakers in Birmingham who will be given the opportunity to develop industry knowledge and professional connections as part of a six-month artist development programme.


The programme is run by creative agency Punch as well as Daniel who will empower the new wave of filmmakers with project support, one-on-one mentoring, masterclasses and peer-to-peer sessions.


Midlands Movies was there to share our experience and knowledge of press kits and press releases. Receiving over a huge amount each year from local filmmakers, we put together a document to help filmmakers avoid the common pitfalls that can see their press releases being ignored.


In addition, from the Midlands Movies Awards to being on festival panels, we also created a handout around the planning and preparation short filmmakers should undertake as they get ready to showcase their work at movie events after their production has finished.


And we're sharing both of them here! (click on the links to open as printable WORD documents):


*** Midlands Movies Press Kit Handout ***


*** Midlands Movies Film Festival Handout ***



The programme has been running a number of years and culminates with a screening of the participants’ shorts which will be premiered later in 2019.


Supporting the next generation of young filmmakers will help them getting better connected amongst learning many other industry skills. Currently, the film industry workforce does not reflect the diversity of the UK. In production, only 3% of employees are from a minority ethnic background, compared to 12.5% nationally.


Check out more info about Daniel at https://www.danielalexanderfilms.com/


For more info about Punch Records, visit punch-records.co.uk


Michael Sales

Midlands Movies Editor




By midlandsmovies, Jul 24 2019 09:52PM



Midlands Spotlight - Singh: Number 7


We find out about upcoming Leicester based football film Singh: Number 7 which follows a young British-Asian player called Jasdeep Singh and his struggle to make it as a professional footballer.


From Leicester's West Knighton Films, this exciting new movie sees an aspiring sportsman chasing an unrelenting dream to become a professional footballer and make it to the highest level in the game.


With monumental pitfalls and obstacles standing in way, such as institutionalized racism, cultural stereotypes, and a skeptical family, Jas finds himself at a crossroads.


The story also sees Jas having an amazing opportunity to prove himself on the biggest stage of all after an unbelievable FA Cup run. Will he take this once in a lifetime chance or will he become just another statistic?


Well, filmmaker Pardeep Chera will hopefully be "on the ball" as he creates a film based around a contemporary underdog story that follows those whose talent eventually shines through despite major adversity.


"This could either be through poverty, abuse or physical disability", says Pardeep, with Singh: Number 7 painting a gritty setting indicative and reflective of the area the story is set, the outskirts of Leicester.


With vibrant suburban homes mixing with local businesses and a football field or park every few miles, the setting is perfect for this exicitng tale of drama and dreams.


Pardeep himself is also an actor with more than 7 years of experience in the industry. His career began as he took to the stage in various theatre productions but eventually he shifted his focus onto film.


Watch the newly released trailer below and get following on social media for the latest updates


Twitter: https://twitter.com/SinghNumber7








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