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By midlandsmovies, Aug 30 2017 10:49AM



Midlands Spotlight – Catharsis


With a successful cast and crew premiere at Nottingham’s Broadway Cinema in August, Midlands Movies discovers more about local short film Catharsis from filmmaker Jay Martin.


Writer/director Jay Martin hails from Mansfield in Nottinghamshire and studied at the Confetti Institute of Creative Technologies in 2015 where he began to develop Catharsis, his directorial debut.


The story follows Sandra (local actress Olivia Newton) who descends into drink and drugs after the loss of a child and the film is the culmination of a year and a half of dedication and commitment from a mostly local cast and crew.



Mark Jarvis (seen in a previous Midlands Movies film series we’ve covered called Let’s Bring Back Sophie) plays Isaac in the film and the regional focus of the movie meant it was made solely in and around greater Nottinghamshire.


“It's difficult to put into words the tremendous amount of love, respect, and gratitude I have for the entire cast and crew”, explains Jay. “A seventeen year old, first-timer, had no business working with such incredible talent!”


He adds, “With no producer on our backs hounding us for deadlines, we took the time to intricately develop every aspect of this film, and I truly believe that you see our love, and attention on screen. Every hardship we faced, we faced as a team”.




Although it is Jay’s first dramatic short, he has been involved with many previous projects which have included music videos ‘ABSORB - #PTFAD’ and ‘The Age of Stella – Lucilla’. And as production came to an end on Catharsis in May 2017, the director began developing his next short film project under the working title 'After Dark'.




Once completed, Catharsis was subsequently first shown at the 'Celebrate Short Film Festival' in Nottingham where not only did it have a tremendous reception, the dramatic short was awarded the converted 'Best Short Film' prize as well as a 'Best Director' win for Jay.


With a trailer soon to be released online and upcoming announcements on festival appearances and general release dates, Catharsis looks one to watch from an exciting and talented young filmmaker.


For more information check the film’s social media and IMDB accounts below:


Website: http://www.jaythefilmguy.com/


Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jaythefilmguy/?hl=en


Twitter: https://twitter.com/jaythefilmguy


IMDB: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt6509956/?ref_=fn_al_tt_2

By midlandsmovies, Aug 4 2017 07:49AM



Midlands Movies speaks to local legend Thomas Hodge aka The Dude Designs who for years has been respected as one of the best alternative poster designers out there but who now has taken his first steps into making his very own film.


Thomas Hodge is the poster artist behind Hobo with A Shotgun (2011) The Innkeepers (2011) The Heat (2013) WolfCop (2014) and many more, as well as the author of VHS: Video Cover Art (2015). This book is the first of its kind to comprehensively bring together the artwork on UK VHS covers from the '80s to the '90s.


But now Tom is now proud to present his first stint in the director's chair with 'Teddy Bears Picnic', a proof-of-concept short film selected to premiere at this year's Fright Fest in London.


Written, produced, directed and financed by Tom himself, the film stars US actress Abby Miller (Justified, Aquarius & The Sinner TV series) and Laurence R Harvey (Human Centipede 2+3, ABCs of Death 2 & The Editor) yet was shot entirely in the Midlands at Welford in Northampton.


“I'm VERY excited to announce my first film project at long last!” says Tom who has kept the project behind guarded doors during its production. He adds, “It’s great the film is also showing at Fright Fest in London on the 28th August and with a world-wide online release to follow I hope it’s possible to develop it into a feature”.



The film revolves around a mother and daughter playing games in the forest but unbeknownst to them there is somebody watching their every move. Filmed entirely on location in the rural woodlands of the English Northampton countryside, Tom describes the short as "a year-long trip in terms of production but seven years of work in total”.


“I've been hands-on throughout, donning many new creative hats to produce, direct, art-direct and edit for the first time. I spent months making props, building creepy woodlands and creating original costumes."


Tom says how he was inspired by the 1907 melody of the same name, “Teddy Bears Picnic re-envisions the childhood song as a nightmarish fable that twists the concept of childhood innocence. I particularly loved the creativity of high concept horror in the '70s and '80s – from the films of Charles Band to the pulp horror novels of Guy N. Smith. So I wanted to take classic character-driven horror and develop it to suit contemporary tastes, with a strongly stylised visual approach”.


Tom also had the invaluable input of an “amazing director of photography" James Fox and the help and support from co-producer Natalie Dorn who also sacrificed a year for production. A musical score by Sophie Galpin (Pins-band) and sound design by Todd Freeman (Cell Count & Love Sick) add to the small cast and crew alongside co-writer Russell Norris.


With a set of teaser trailers being released online over the next month, you can get updates on the film at Tom’s YouTube channel - click here


And check out Tom’s poster art at https://www.thedudedesigns.com




By midlandsmovies, Jul 24 2017 04:33PM



Midlands Movies speaks to Paula and Michael Webster, two Leicestershire filmmakers who are journeying across the Atlantic for a new documentary to be filmed in South America.


Living and working in the Midlands, Paula Webster grew up with an interest in wildlife and nature conservation. From Leicester’s Lea Meadows Nature reserve to volunteering for the Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust, Paula has spent a lifetime of love supporting their causes.


But soon the couple’s life was turned upside down as they headed to South America to promote the diversity of the continent where their photographic and film-making skills could be fully utilised.


Working as a two person team, Paula is very much the technical worker behind the camera with Michael acting as presenter.


“We work together on the scripts for our films, I do all the editing and Michael’s experience as a still photographer is invaluable”, says Paula.


She adds, “We come back to our home to the Midlands in the Charnwood Forest to do the important work of editing and catching up with friends and family, as well as giving talks on our work to photographic and wildlife groups”.


And despite the global nature of their endeavours, Paula is keen to emphasise her connections to the local filmmaking community back here.


“I have an excellent network of friends in the Midlands who help me with advice on my films. This is so important! Colin Sullivan from Market Harborough Movie Makers is a great help with the technical side of editing on my EDIUS software. Jill Lampert from Sutton Coldfield Movie Makers is a boon for helping develop a good story and Melvyn Rawlinson from Nottingham is a great guy who always gives thoughtful, constructive criticism. I have recently joined the Seven-Five group at the Phoenix in Leicester and hope to work with them in the future”.





Their most recent project is about the struggle to save a rare bird in Patagonia for Aves Argentinas, the sister organisation in Argentina to the RSPB in the UK.


“As you can imagine filming in the wild, windswept expanses of Patagonia was not easy”, explains Paula. “First we had to find the birds. They were spread over high plateaux, miles from the nearest tarmac road. We spent weeks searching for them. We then had to find a camp site sheltered from the wind. This meant a two hour walk laden down with all our gear to get to the lagoon where we had seen the birds. We were lucky! The birds started to display on day 2 of our stay. What an incredible performance”.


One of their main challenges was involving members of the Hooded Grebe Project who were not professional actors and the couple worked carefully to encourage people to speak English as well as try to make them look natural in front of the camera. Although not easy, the Websters had to be very flexible in their filming often leading to a lot of last minute dashes across the volcanic plateaux with new sequences to be written into the film.


With 6 trips already in the bag and more planned for the future, the Websters show that there is a whole world of film opportunities for local filmmakers. Along with their love of wildlife and travel documentaries, they haven’t forgotten their roots with their film “What Does It Mean to You?” including voxpops from their very own hometown of Leicester.


Check out more information about the filmmakers at their official site http://living-wild.net and watch the full film on the Vimeo video below.


Midlands Movies Mike






By midlandsmovies, Jul 12 2017 05:55PM



SOCKS AND ROBBERS


“Darned criminals, stitched up good and proper!”


Midlands Movies uncovers one of the region’s most surreal premises as we take a look at upcoming comedy 'Socks and Robbers'.


‘Socks and Robbers’ is a short dark comic heist film coming in from Nottingham which follows a gang of daring, sock headed robbers who hold up a bank.


However, what the robbers don’t know is that one of them is an undercover cop. Directed by the award winning director David Lilley who says the film boasts “more twists than pages”, ‘Socks and Robbers’ is described as a rollercoaster of a story that will keep audiences guessing to the very end.


With a planned release for 2017, this Midlands film spans multiple genres and is part-gangster, part-horror but all comedy and will be released via Loonatik and Drinks productions. This group of filmmakers make a variety of short films and although they say they “don’t make money”, they add that “often people watch our films and say nice things”.


Along with David Lilley, Stephen Gray forms the creative core of Loonatik & Drinks and the duo have been working together for over 15 years, first on music and then film projects. Initial collaborations were loosely planned and informal but over the past couple of years they have worked even closer together with both being fans of the cult B-movie genre and classic horror fiction.


BIFA Nominated in 2006 and winner of a Cofilmic Audience Award in 2011, the Nottingham friends have taken their style for this film from genre classics such as ‘Fargo’, ‘Reservoir Dogs’, ‘Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels’ and ‘The Mighty Boosh’.


The film will be produced by Jenn Day and the whole production can be followed on the official Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pg/socksandrobbers/about/?ref=page_internal


Also check out theLoonatik and Drinks page for info on previous projects, watch previous shorts and more: http://www.loonatikanddrinks.com


And you can view David Lilley's director showreel below on VIMEO:




By midlandsmovies, Jul 10 2017 05:44PM


Midlands Movies Mike uncovers an interesting new experimental feature that combines the mysticism of folklore with the modernism of an experimental soundtrack.


Staffordshire set film The Doxey Boggart is a new film from John E Smoke who is a deaf-blind filmmaker, musician and artist. Set within a nature reserve called Doxey Marshes, the film is a semi-documentary which follows a group of people investigating the local legend.


From an experimental sound artist with his guide dog to his fellow esoteric associates, they seek to uncover the truth about a ‘boggart’ (an evil or mischievous spirit) that is associated with the area.


Director John E Smoke is the aforementioned sound artist and has performed in many unusual locations including abandoned buildings and a set at Mermaid Pool in the Staffordshire Moorlands.


During one particular session of his there were claims of a ghostly image being caught on film which went viral online and featured widely in press at the time.


The film mixes a slim ‘plot’ with real-life elements as the musicians perform a set on Doxey Marshes during which a folk poem about a boggart is recited. At first nothing untoward happens but after the disappearance of a mother and child “the team are left wondering if the recital has brought something to life”.


Following their investigations the film includes field recordings and footage and borrows from 'actual' local folklore relating to 'boggarts', 'bugs' and other entities.



One of the key parts of the film is the music which assists in supporting the atmosphere of the historic locations. John E Smoke has pulled together friends in the music scene to compile a soundtrack that includes well-respected members of the experimental noise genre.


Soundtrack artists include 'Tunnels of Ah' (the solo project of the former Head of David vocalist, 'Autoclav 1.1', 'Khost' (featuring former members of Techno Animal, Final, Iroha etc), 'From The Bogs of Aughiska', 'John 3:16', 'Ian Haygreen', 'Whote', 'Satan's Bee Keeper', 'Theresia', 'Raxil4' and 'James Hoehl' alongside field recordings undertaken by John E Smoke.


With a mix of documentary, sound art and a little bit of horror, The Doxey Boggart’s eclectic combination of experimental images and dark ambient music will be released later in 2017 and also includes the release of hand printed DVD and double-CD music packs.


For more info please take a look at the trailer above and also check out further details of this Sonic Entrails production over on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/doxeyboggart






By midlandsmovies, Jun 9 2017 03:19PM



New production company Them Pesky Kids hit the region as their Kickstarter campaign launches into full swing for their upcoming short film Ariella.


Formed recently in Nottingham, Them Pesky Kids are aiming for a fresh take on the crime-thriller genre as they begin production on their film with a fundraising campaign goal of £10,000 due to end on 30th June.


The filmmakers are brothers Michael and Jack Jobling and Ariella will be their first film they have created together, though they have both worked individually on music videos, short films and documentaries.


Michael Jobling’s last project Anoesis was well received locally at the Short Stack and Beeston Film festivals and went on to win a student Royal Television Society award. Ariella is being produced by Ryan Harvey who won the Best Student Drama for his debut film Tuesday Afternoon at the Nottingham International MicroFilm Festival.


With a talented crew, the film tells the story of a seemingly innocent waitress who is told to keep an eye on two thugs hiding out in her cafe, but her own motives get in the way of her professionalism.


And as well as the successful past of the filmmakers, they have managed to attract amazing local talent in front of the screen as well.


Hannaj Bang Bendz, who recently won Best Actress at the LA Film Festival for her short film, The Man up the Stairs stars alongside Johann Myers who is a Nottingham based actor who has recently starred in Luther and Black Mirror.


As the villain, James Graeme takes the creepy role and has also been in Phantom of the Opera and Jesus Christ Superstar on the West End. Finally, playing his daughter is Nottingham based singer and actress, Tiger Cohen Towell who has appeared as a BBC Introducing artist.


‘The cast and crew have brought this collaborative mentality on board, they’re really bringing their A-Game”, says Jack Jobling. He adds, “I’ve lived in Nottingham for a year and I’m still astonished by how professional and creative everyone is!”


His brother Michael agrees with him. “Everyone believes in this project, the community support is incredible. It’s great to direct a film that’s bringing such talented Nottingham-based artists together”.


Previously, Them Pesky Kids held a launch screening at The Nottingham Contemporary to showcase their earlier films as well as unveil their plans for the future.


And in June 2017 they’ll be releasing further news, cast announcements, vlogs, songs and flash rewards across their social media pages.


Check their full Kickstarter and social media pages below:


https://www.facebook.com/thempeskykidsfilm


https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/498110007/ariella-short-film?ref=user_menu

By midlandsmovies, Jun 6 2017 04:26PM


Local filmmaker ready to take you to another world


With the release of Marvel’s Spider-Man: Homecoming in the Summer of 2017, interest in the web-slinging superhero is at an all-time high. After a deal that saw Spidey enter the MCU from a property owned by Sony, fans are anticipating a great first adventure during the blockbuster season.


However, the biggest fan might just be right here in the Midlands as Leicester filmmaker Joey Lever is set to launch his own fan-film based around the infamous New Yorker. Now we’re “tingling” with excitement, we swing by to find out more about the ambitious production.


In early 2017, Joey Lever won a Midlands Movies Award for his sound mixing work on his film Paper Plane which began a successful start to a year that looks set to explode for the local filmmaker.


His new superhero fan film is Spider-Man: Another World and it is in fact part of a larger shared universe he has created with fellow fans. Taking an idea from Marvel themselves, Lever has named it "The strand of web, web series" which includes 3 films and one short.


DiGitiLhEaRt & PavillionArts are the studios who have invested in his vision and Joey’s new project has also seen him working with many of the region’s most talented creatives, including Gatling Gun Productions who also hail from Leicestershire.


With the trailer just launched in June (see YouTube video above) Joey Lever says “We are so excited to hear what [fans] think about it as this been such an amazing experience to step back into the shoes of Peter Parker. This time trying to make a fan film that is different and we are so proud of the outcome”.


Also supporting the production is comic book artist Marc Ducrow who has designed the film’s poster.



Updating via the movie's Facebook page, Joey goes on to add, “As a child I was always fascinated by the idea to tell stories in different ways. I spent many years growing up drawing, acting out little sequences I thought up before bedtime. This blossomed into my love of film making. Every film you see of mine will be made with my heart and soul”.

Based in Leicester, Joey is a self-taught freelance filmmaker & cinematographer and has been lucky enough to work internationally on projects in the USA, South America, Australia and Germany


As well as writing and directing Lever himself stars in the action-drama alongside talented local actors Craig Ellis, Teravis Ward, Andrew Miles, Charlie V and Jordan Schofield.


We'll be keeping a close eye on the film's development as it comes to launch and follow the movie's updates on the official pages below.

https://www.facebook.com/SpiderManLC


http://www.joeylever.com

By midlandsmovies, May 7 2017 09:21PM



Midlands Spotlight - The Wasteland


Midlands Movies catches up with Stuart Wheeldon and his new film The Wasteland which is a modern-day mystery thriller scheduled to be shot in the Derbyshire Dales in July 2017.


Production company Nine Ladies Film launches into their new project The Wasteland which follows the journey of Laurence, a loner with a hidden past, who arrives in a small village on the offer of work from a local farmer named Frank.


As he takes the job of rebuilding a field boundary stonewall, Laurence becomes intrigued with the mysterious figure of Holly, the wife of Frank. Her own troubles both with depression and possible mental domestic abuse, lead Laurence on a new journey which he may or may not be happy to be on.


The film is written and directed by Stuart Wheeldon who is a Wirksworth (Derbyshire) based filmmaker and he is joined by Nick John Whittle as producer.


The film itself stars Paul Dewdney, a London based actor who has won the 'Best Supporting Actor' at the Long Island Film Forum for his role in 'Crossroads'. More recently the actor has also won the 2016 'Best Actor' award for the lead role in 'The Inquiry' at the Burning Reel film festival. He is also up for nomination for Best Actor at the upcoming Nice International Film Festival.

Also in the film is Johanna Stanton who has recently played the lead in feature film ‘Injustice’ – a hard-hitting thriller. Johanna has also just played Ruth Ellis in the docu-drama ‘Inside’ recently screened on Channel 5 and next up she will be filming the comedy series 'King Of The Gym'.



Completing the main cast is Bern Deegan, an Irish actor whose experience spans from feature film, award-winning short films and touring theatre. Bern plays the lead role of 'Peter Nash' in Big Ideas Films ‘Point of No Return’ which also stars Paul Ronan, Don Wycherley and Steven Berkoff. The film was directed by Kevin Glynn and is currently in post-production and Bern has appeared in the films local Midlands films ‘In Limbo’ and ‘The Telephone’ as well.

The Wasteland will feature original music by Michael Walters who is the founder and Director at Storm Force Winds. Michael's catalogue of concert music is published globally and he has been fortunate to receive three Royal Premieres (Regius Adventum 2006, Centuries 2010, Viginti 2014).


His famous music has also been broadcast on the BBC Radio 3 Concert Series (Zygonic De/regeneration 2012, Seven Minutes of Contrarian Zygonicity 2013) and this year, Michael has joined the emerging talent roster at acclaimed Film and TV composer agency SMA Talent.

With such an acclaimed cast and crew, the film gets underway with a crowd-funding campaign launching in May and more details of which can be found at the film’s official website here: www.wastelandshortfilm.com


Follow updates and news at the film’s social media page on Facebook www.facebook.com/thewastelandshortfilm.com

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