icons-02 icons-01 MM Logo FILM FREEWAY LOGO

blog

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

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








By midlandsmovies, Jul 20 2019 03:24PM



Midlands Spotlight - Lucky


Lucky is the new forthcoming film from award-winning writer/ director David L Knight and is his first project since returning to film production.


Unlike his previous films Suicide Blonde and Rachel, Lucky is a romantic drama set in a unique world all of its own, full of quirky colours and possibilities as it tells the story of Lucy and Mark who have never believed in true love.


However, the film hopes to show that with a little luck somebody is about to teach these two strangers that destiny has other plans.


With Lucky, David and his team wanted to create a story that was a little different to a lot of films that are currently being watched on the festival circuit. More light-hearted in tone he hopes the film leaves the audience with a wonderful sense of optimism, while also delivering on the drama.


As with his previous films not giving the story focus to one single character, David has assembled an amazing cast from across the UK, including Chelsea Grace, Luke Maskell and Stoke based actor/ filmmaker Craig Ostrouchow.


Creating further collaborative partnerships with fellow Midlands-based filmmakers, David has brought on established production designer Chloe Brown to help create Lucky’s world.


While he also continues his collaboration with director of photography Martin Tucker and other returning crew Janine Bevan and Tim Vickerstaff.


Lucky is currently running a crowd funding campaign to raise funds for its production (click here) and check below their promotional video:




By midlandsmovies, Jul 9 2019 08:57PM



Midlands Spotlight - Stairs


Award-winning Midlands director Tom Paton is about to launch his debut time-travel/horror film 'Stairs' at Arrow Frightfest in London.


This is Tom's fourth film and stars Shayne Ward and Toby Osmond and will get its world premiere at the prestigious event.


Mosley Productions in association with Goldfinch will hold the debut screening of their film this August at the highly respected festival and is about a group of mercenaries who are sent into Eastern Europe in the middle of a civil war to retrieve intel.


But shortly after the mission, the unit find themselves trapped on a never-ending stairwell; forced to climb or die. To survive, they must revisit their past sins if they ever want to get off!


The production hopes to blur the lines of action and horror to create a visually unique movie that deals with time travel, the repercussions of violence and its consequences. With practical effects, bone crunching fight sequences and existential dread the film promises to thrill audiences with 'Stairs' marking Tom Paton’s third time premiering at the London-based event.


Tom grew up in West Midlands where his passion for story telling started. Originally he wanted to be a comic book artist, but at the age of fifteen he realised it was a different form of narrative he was most drawn to and film became the obvious choice. “I always had a goal and that was to have made my first feature film by the age of thirty, so writing and directing Pandorica always felt like something that was inevitable to me, even in those early days”.


Paton had this to say on “Stairs” inclusion in the event, “It’s a really honour to be back at Frightfest for the third year in a row. I’m especially proud of how Stairs has turned out and I can’t wait to share it with everyone".


"Frightfest has been an amazing platform for my career and I’m really excited to be heading back, especially as the line-up is so incredible this year", he adds.


The film marks the feature film debut of National Television Award Winning actor and former X-Factor winner Shayne Ward, alongside Toby Osmond (Game of Thrones), Sophie Austin (Call The Midwife), Alana Wallace (Black Site), Samantha Schnitzler & Bentley Kalu (Wonder Woman).


Never one to rest on his laurels, Paton has also announced that his fifth film 'G-LOC' is in post-production. It is set to star Stephen Moyer (The Gifted, True Blood), Tala Gouveia (Cold Feet), Casper Van Dien (Starship Troopers), John Rhys-Davies (Lord of The Rings, Raiders Of The Lost Ark, Aquaman).


Ward, Osmond and Wallace will also return for the film and Tom has already announced that he is in production on his sixth film with executive producer Steve Mosley.


Tickets and information are available via the events website www.frightfest.co.uk







By midlandsmovies, Jun 12 2019 09:00AM




Midlands Spotlight - Rachel from David L Knight


Midlands Movies checks out the forthcoming release ‘Rachel’ from regional filmmaker David L. Knight as he prepares to put the finishing touches to a new dark drama.


Award-winning filmmaker David L. Knight recently released his last film Suicide Blonde (our review here) which won Best Local Short Film at last year’s Birmingham Film Festival. It also picked up a prize at 2019’s Heart of England Film Festival.


However, David has quickly moved on to his next project and describes Rachel as a “supernatural revenge film”, but he refuses to pigeon hole this ensemble drama as a horror. Even though he admits there are traces of the genre within the film.


"Rachel tells the story of Alex, a junkie living on the street who wakes up to find himself gagged and tied. Beginning to realise what his capturer’s motives are, a battle of wills ensues and Alex’s only ally is a girl he once knew".


Containing his largest cast to date, Rachel is made up of actors from around the UK including Stafford-based actor David Pritchard. Having had a small role in Suicide Blonde, he impressed the director so much that Knight decided to write a role that could showcase David as a local talent. Other cast include Joseph Hughes, Lilibeth Langford and newcomer Jake Brown.


Reuniting with long-term collaborator Martin Tucker - whom David studied with at the University of Gloucestershire - he continues as Director of Photography, and further Rachel crew also includes Rob James (1st AC) and Janine Bevan (make-up artist).



These are joined by Stafford-based Tim Vickerstaff (sound recordist) and Charlie Morton (editor) originally from Leamington Spa.


The film will also have original music written exclusively for it by newly established Birmingham-based composer Peter May.


While Rachel is currently in the final stages of post-production and is expected to be finished by the end of June, David and his team have already began pre-production on their next film Lucky, which will see its crowd funding campaign launching in mid-June 2019.


Check out the brand new poster above and find out more about the film and its release dates at the social media links below:


https://www.facebook.com/rachelshortfilmuk/


https://www.facebook.com/DavidLKnightFilms/


https://twitter.com/DaveLKnight




By midlandsmovies, May 21 2019 06:45AM



Not content with already being involved with multiple projects, Lee Charlish of Korky Films is beginning pre-production on a new project Wake-Up Call. Launching a new funding campaign, Midlands Movies uncovers more information about this unique horror project.


With tagline “True love cuts deep”, Wake-Up Call tells the story of Ronald Weiss, a plastic surgeon, who en-route to a convention, gets lost and finds an old, foreboding guest house and reluctantly stays overnight. However, he is forcibly coerced into performing surgical enhancements and is drawn into a macabre, psychological dilemma.


Lee Charlish is hoping to get the film made by raising funds and has enlisted the help of Leah Solmaz, a local Lichfield-based producer, who originates from Birmingham. There is also the opportunity for the concept to be further explored and developed into a feature film, but this will be dependent on reception, appetite and, of course, funding.


Lee adds, “The film’s ominous subtext clearly exposes society’s obsession with body image, and delves into the ugly depths which people might sink to in order to abate such perceived inadequacies. Although the ideas explored are taken to the extreme and sometimes the surreal, it’s this original approach to storytelling which will make the movie ingenious and compelling to audiences”.


Leah Solmaz of recently created Luna Kaynak Productions is attached as producer of the project and will oversee the movie written and directed by Lee and, good news to us, will be a joint production of both local Midlands-based film companies.


Leah is Birmingham born and has worked as an actor on several, local productions, including the Midlands Movies Awards’ winning feature, The House of Screaming Death. She also co-wrote/co-directed a feature called "Checking In" which won Best British Film at the London TV & Film Awards. She is currently producing (and starring) in Theosight, a web-series, which will be released soon and continues to write other projects.


Lee Charlish is a Coventry based writer, director, producer and ‘sometime animator’. He is an award-winning director, having won the Midlands Movies Award for Best Animated Film in both 2018 and 2019, as well as the DepicT! British Special Mention Award; at the Encounters Film Festival, Bristol, in 2016 for his surreal, psycho-horror, Pig Dream.


The musical score will be provided by long-time Korky Films collaborator Chris Pemberton who has worked with several high-profile bands and artistes, all over the world, and is looking to establish himself further in the world of film soundtrack composition.


Acting talent already attached includes Adrian Annis, who has worked previously with Lee on the creepy, fantasy thriller – Scarecrow and Stuart Walker, who has provided voice-work on Korky Films’ – The Cold Caller and, more recently – Waxworks Owner Fumes at Closure. Completing the cast is Charlotte Elizzabeth Langley, as ‘The Wife’.


The first port of call for funding will be the British Film Institute (BFI), although other options are being explored to ensure the movie is made. A full, ‘production package’ is currently being put together, to ensure funding applications are robust and realistic.


Although fully-cast, with three exciting actors, Leah is currently engaging with local talent to ensure Wake-Up Call is fully-crewed with a team, fully on-board with the movie’s unique story and required look and feel. It will also help with the funding campaign and will “offer a real sense of collaboration and inclusion from the get go”.


Lee Charlish says,"We know that talent exists in the region, in various roles, and we are looking for dedicated creatives to join us. We actively encourage anybody and everybody to get in touch, there are no prejudices; we just need a willingness to commit and help make this movie the best it can be".


Leah says, "We are nearly there and hopeful we have enough to secure a worthwhile budget which will truly make Wake-Up Call possible and able to fulfil its ambitions".


If anyone is suitably enticed, they should contact Leah at leahsolmaz@gmail.com to get more information, and discuss their experience and skills for consideration.


For more info check out: https://leecharlish.wixsite.com/wake-upcall


By midlandsmovies, May 9 2019 09:49AM




Midlands Spotlight - A Kidnap


'A Kidnap' is a new Midlands-based psychological thriller feature from award-winning writer/director Lee Greenhough and cinematographer Paul Horton. With aims to be both innovative and daring, the film is an ambitious project which will be made on a low budget scale within one soundstage in the region.


The film tells the story of adopted brother Lewis and his younger sister Izzy who get kidnapped, and they are brought into two rooms by three strangers known as Tuco, Angel and Blondie. Over the next two hours the kidnappers start to realise they don’t share the same ideas on how to orchestrate the kidnap and with tension mounting, their plans have to change.


The filmmakers are currently crowdfunding (click IndieGoGo link here) where contributors will get a chance to be involved in the film and also receive one incredible perks and rewards which can range from learning to fly a drone to VIP tickets to the film’s premiere.


Lee Greenhough explains his background, “The most important thing you need to know about me is that I really love film, if I’m honest I’m pretty obsessed. I started off wanting to act but as I got into my late twenties decided it wasn't for me as I wanted more creative control and started to write and direct”.


“Any hobbies went out of the window, all I wanted to do was pursue my dream. Since then I started my own production company Greenhoughfilms, won awards and raised money for charities with some of my short films. I’ve also tried to learn every aspect of filmmaking from directing and editing to more specialised skills like aerial cinematography and colour grading”, Lee adds.


Lee has also been mentored in creative writing by a former BAFTA winner and is a regular at the London Screenwriting Festival as well as being a screenwriting and directing judge at the prestigious Top Shorts Film Festival.


Working on various projects including pre-production on his new British thriller feature film ‘On Our Own’, Lee is also looking for producers for his latest feature screenplay ‘Together Apart’ and an original TV show pilot 'Verifying Vincent'.


Also involved in the project is Director of Photography Paul Horton who has over 15-years of experience as a professional and has worked on a range of projects from popular feature films to classic British TV shows such as Hollyoaks.


Ash Gardiner joins as Assistant Director and is based near Birmingham in the Midlands and the crew is rounded out by Matthew S Jones (Sound Recordist), Merryn Rea Peachey (Scipt Supervisor), Grant Snaith (1st Assistant Cameraman) and Abbie Allen (PR and Film Administrator).


With regards to crowdfunding Lee goes on to explain, “As with any film endeavours there are always inherent risks, however, me and my team are well experienced in these projects and know that with whatever we raise we can still make a film”.


“If you want to help but can't afford to contribute money, you can still pitch in by sharing this campaign with as many people as possible: friends, family, social media it all helps to raise awareness for this campaign. Also if you know someone who is a psychological thriller fan or a business who may want to become a corporate sponsor then please pass on our details”, says Lee.


With the project now underway you can find out more about the film and all the latest updates at the production’s official website and social media pages:


Web www.akidnap.co.uk

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

Twitter https://twitter.com/akidnapfilm

RSS Feed twitter