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By midlandsmovies, Apr 14 2019 08:47AM

Sutton Coldfield Movie Makers and local college announce new film The Wand

Sutton Coldfield Movie Makers and Sutton Coldfield College are collaborating to make a new fiction film at the College located on the Lichfield Road, Sutton Coldfield. The initiative to make the film was taken by Emma Buet, lecturer, to give her students work experience.

Filming has just wrapped on “The Wand”, a short fantasy film based on a script written by Julian Austwick who is a member of Sutton Coldfield Movie Makers.

And work is now being done on editing and post production with the finished planned for screening at the British International Amateur Film Festival in Birmingham on 25th April 2019. Further afield, the team hope to enter the Birmingham Film Festival in November as well.

The locations for filming were all on site at Sutton Coldfield College and included using a studio with a blue screen for special effects. Students on the design course made props and costumes and students on the drama course were the cast. The props included a giant toadstool and a wand, whilst make-up and prosthetics included a witch, a lion’s head, a horse’s head, a dreadful rash and webbed hands.

The film crew was drawn from Sutton Coldfield Movie Makers: Julian Austwick, Jill Lampert, Gordon Hunt and Debbie Daniels.

And for the students it was a chance to get valuable experience working for an outside project as well as useful work to add to CVs and personal statements in applications for university.

For Sutton Coldfield Movie Makers this was a great opportunity to engage with enthusiastic and talented young actors, and to have access to the wonderful creations the design team produced.

Debbie Daniels (Member of Sutton Coldfield Movie Makers) added, “For us at Sutton Coldfield Movie Makers, it’s been a joy to have the students’ expertise and creativity, giving us an opportunity to experiment and play, to make a really unique film. It’s one of the most stimulating things we’ve done!”

Student Tilly went on to explain: “I just enjoyed doing the hair and stage make-up because it was very fun and a new experience for me to do make-up for a movie”.

“Plus, I felt really welcomed and felt like my work was really appreciated. I also feel very proud to be part of The Wand because it has helped me socialise more and perfect my prosthetic making skills.”

Finally, lecturer Emma Buet added, “I have been delighted by my students’ engagement with the collaboration and enjoyed seeing their work develop and personal confidence grow. I really hope we can continue to work with Sutton Coldfield Movie Makers on a regular basis and look forward to seeing the finished film.”

Sutton Coldfield Movie Makers meets at Wylde Green Community Centre, Emscote Drive, B73 5NE on the 2nd and 4th Thursday of the month at 7.45pm for an 8pm start. It is a lively, friendly club for people who enjoy making films for fun. Visitors and new members are always welcome.

For more information check their website at www.suttoncoldfieldmoviemakers.org.uk

By midlandsmovies, Oct 4 2018 09:02AM

Student filmmaker tackles dark drama in new short film Terminal

Ben Evans is a student filmmaker studying in Derby who has created a new short film project called ’Terminal’ which he has written and also directed in 2018.

Starring Sophie Bloor from BBC One's 'In the Dark', the film is a short drama about the mental health of a young character towards the end of her life.

A tough uncompromising look at illness, ‘Terminal’ tells the story of Ellie (Sophie Bloor) who is diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis at the age of eight. With her father soon walking out on her, the story is picked up eleven years later. And he returns to find Ellie on her deathbed hoping to be part of her life again.

Joining Sophie will be Alix Ashurst as Helen, David Castleford as Mark, Tom Hendryk as the doctor and actress Ellie Jackson as a young Ellie.

Crew wise Ben is excited to have Jon Altham from SoundWave Studios on board to compose music on 'Terminal' and has just released the official poster for the film to the public (see above).

And with the filmmaker currently deep in post-production, Ben has high hopes for his short and is already looking at entering the film onto the festival circuit later in 2019.

Check out the full information about the film over on IMDB here:


And for regular updates follow the film’s social media at Facebook:


By midlandsmovies, Feb 15 2016 07:43PM

The Inner Carriage Metaphor (2016) Directed by James George Oshoba & Robin Trinity

The Inner Carriage Metaphor is the title of a new narrative music video from Nottingham media student James George Oshoba. Shot as part of a second year university assignment, this experimental short is as different as anything we’ve ever been sent here at Midlands Movies.

However, the short contains a wide range of film techniques to help create a series of memorable and ambient images. We also know that all the good directors like Spike Jonze and David Fincher began their careers as music video directors so the format provides a perfect short-form platform to achieve much, but on a smaller budget. That doesn't mean it's restrictive - in fact the opposite - as creators trial more challenging subject matter than a mainstream film could do.

Experimental in concept, the film tackles themes of information overload and raises a variety of questions through symbols, images and edits. Inspiration comes via a variety of topics and emotional beliefs and the filmmaker explains that the concept as a whole refers to mystic philosopher and spiritual teacher, George Ivanovich Gurdjieff.

Spoken word, script, text and black and white video are combined to create a collage of hallucinogenic style dreamscapes. Images overlap creating an ambiguous experience for the viewer whilst there are some attempts at creating meaning between nature and technology as well as the human soul.

I enjoyed the René Magritte-esque apples and headshots whilst the superb music was not a million miles away from Hans Zimmer’s Interstellar soundtrack with piano/organ notes adding some spirituality. Albeit mixed with electronic drum loops.

The negatives? As a fan of narrative cinema I would have preferred some focus on a small “story” no matter how slight and I couldn’t care less for anything incorporating "interpretive dance" . The film’s reliance on just a black and white palette also gave it a bit of a student-y feel when a dash of colour could have enlivened the proceedings.

That said, the short intentionally keeps its meaning in the shadows and silhouettes combine with kaleidoscopic effects to create an abstract experience. Combining the conceptual with the intangible the film shows great promise for a short and although its ambient ideas were not particularly up my street, the piece could qute happily find a successful place in an art gallery as well as a music channel and that alone is something.

Find out more on


By midlandsmovies, Jan 12 2016 04:23PM

With an entire cast and crew from Nottingham, new short film Amber from director Theo Gee has squeezed the life out of every last penny available to him to make his debut. Midlands Movies Mike uncovers more about this region-set psychological thriller.

Amber has been directed and co-written by Theo Gee who has come through the University of Nottingham as a third year psychology student to make his first film. In between taking exams, revising and writing dissertations, this unusual route has not stopped the 21 year-old from balancing his educational life with a passion for movies.

Although by no means traditional, neither Theo and his co-writer Ian Bousher had ever worked on a film before so they took their £500 budget and did what all great filmmakers do and stretched it as far as they could for their first endeavour.

“We hope this film is a testament to the idea that hard work, talent, a smidge of luck and relentless determination can overcome the obstacles presented to us”, says Theo.

He goes on to add, “Studying psychology has given us both a very unique, mature and insightful perspective on people's minds. This short film aims to explore a very unique situation and the development of 2 very unique psychological disorders”.

The cast come from the highly respected Actor’s Workshop in Nottingham which is also heading into new territory by starting its first ever show on Notts TV. Their new show “Sketch Up” can be seen on FREEVIEW channel 8 all over the region.

Writing and directing the short was a challenge but Theo believes it stands up to multiple viewings where “someone could watch it once and then just have to watch it again”.

Theo encourages people to watch again in order to “try and pick up on all the small details which might hint at the surprising ending”.

Story wise, Amber shows one event which leads to a routine robbery drastically falling apart. With a scared witness gagged on a sofa at her own home, the film builds tension as characters heatedly argue over what to do with her. This is made all the harder as ulterior motives start to bubble to the surface.

With fellow students James George Oshoba (Director of Photography), Leonard Garner (Editor) and Producers Connie May Harris & Theo himself again, Amber has a youthful and energetic team on board. Actors Chloe Crump, AJ Stevenson and Tori Hope are in key roles making this a film that will hold its own with more experienced filmmakers from the region.

The short can be watched on the VIMEO link below:


By midlandsmovies, Oct 27 2015 01:19PM

Top 10 things to check out for Lincolnshire film fans

After our Top 10 covering the best of Leicester, Derby, Nottingham and West Midlands film-making talent we shift our focus to Lincolnshire to find out 10 of the best things a film fan can look out for in and around the county.

Lincolnshire Cathedral

The third largest cathedral in Britain after St Paul's and York Minster, Lincolnshire Cathedral owns one of only four surviving copies of Magna Carta from 1215 but has also played host to a number of blockbuster feature films, often doubling for Westminster Abbey in London. Filmed in September 2007 this was the case with Young Victoria and also the controversial “The Da Vinci Code”. Oscar-winner Tom Hanks played Robert Langdon in the film which caused a storm of controversy over its questioning of many of the key beliefs of Christianity. Officials from the Abbey refused to allow filming to take place inside, claiming that the book is "theologically unsound". To arrange a visit and follow the Cathedral’s many events please check their Twitter account here: https://twitter.com/LincsCathedral

The Drift by Backyard Productions

An already successful sci-fi, The Drift is no average independent film having been created with a crew of over 100 and with help from many local businesses in Lincolnshire. With a limited local budget of just £5000, the film took 3 years to make (all in everyone’s spare time) and the cast and crew were all volunteers but the ambition does not stop just there. With a feature length 100-minute run time and over 1300 Visual Effect shots they also built sets over 9 months and did 2 years of visual effects production, matching and even surpassing many a Hollywood blockbuster. Formed in 1993, Backyard Productions began with three teenagers making short movies in the garden before quickly moving on to making their first feature. From there, the “company” grew to include friends and family members, making parodies based on Batman, Indiana Jones and Star Wars with all productions being self-funded and helping to raise money for charity. For more insight check out http://bypuk.com/movies/drift/ and view The Drift's exciting trailer here - https://www.youtube.com/embed/aXFILnob3AA

Read our article on the film here: http://www.midlandsmovies.com/blog/4558436876/Midlands-Spotlight---The-Drift/9207663

Lincolnshire Film and Digital Media

Lincolnshire Film and Digital Media is run by multi-award winning, professional film maker Phillip Lofas whose background is in film production. His company uses state of the art video and media equipment to deliver professional quality work which specialises in offering high quality services as well as training within the county for aspiring filmmakers. With a respected track record in delivering education and training to a range of organisations they cover a wide variety of media training topics including script writing, pre-production, filming & mastering as well as sessions on lighting, sound and animation. Read more about this exciting organisation to develop your skills with a professional and local team here: http://www.lincolnshire-filmmaker.co.uk

Lincolnshire Film Archive

The LFA is a registered charity set up in 1986 to locate and preserve motion film showing life and work in all parts of the county. Covering wartime reels as well as many other decades, their films are available to enthusiastic cinematographers with local historical events such as the first post-war Royal Show, the Festival of Britain and the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II amongst archive footage available. Further footage comes in their “A Century on Film” series which focus on everything from World War 2 right through to the Victory celebrations of 1945. Drawing on its extensive motion picture collection, much of it has never before been made available for home viewing, the LFA sets out to present a wide-ranging picture of over a hundred years of Lincolnshire life. For an up-to-date list of videos and details of how to order, see www.primetimevideo.co.uk or check their main website: http://www.lincsfilm.co.uk

Movie Locations

We have already mentioned how The Da Vinci Code was partially filmed in Lincolnshire but as well as the infamous cathedral, the county has provided picturesque buildings for many more movies. However, one of these locations was again utilised in The Da Vinci Code, where Burghley House in Stamford near Peterborough was used for the interiors of ‘Castel Gandolfo’. Not solely focusing on that film though, Jan De Bont's The Haunting (1999) was filmed at Harlaxton Manor (Great Hall) in Grantham whilst Thunderball (1965) used RAF Waddington for the film's Airforce base runway scene. Not content with just those well-known classics, Lincoln can claim to be the location of certain scenes in the little-known The Emerald Forest (1985) whilst more famously, The Dam Busters (1955) with its “bouncing bombs” was partly filmed in the area. The coastal marshes from Atonement (2007) are at Gedney Drove End, a beach on the Wash and finally Pride and Prejudice (2005) was filmed in Lincoln where Burghley House (again) stood in for Rosings, while the adjacent town of Stamford served as Meryton. For more info on Burghley House check their official site: http://www.burghley.co.uk

Lincoln Shorts

The 5th annual Lincoln Shorts film festival showcased local film-making talent from Lincolnshire and the surrounding areas in October 2015. Previous screenings at the annual film event left audiences excited and amazed by the wealth and breadth of film-making talent right on their doorstep — film-making they may never knew existed. This annual event regularly takes submissions from a wide range of genres from comedy, drama, music and factual and all have a local Lincoln connection. Examples may be that it was filmed or edited locally or someone in the cast or crew may be originally from or lives in Lincolnshire or even studied in the area. Screening shorts (films should be five minutes or under) the last event was a great success at Lincoln’s Drill Hall and submissions will soon be open for filmmakers to submit their newest creations for the 2016 festival.



The LAFTAs (Lincolnshire Awards for Film, Teamwork and Animation) is now in its ninth year and has become a key event in many schools' calendars and a regular event not to be missed. These annual film awards are for 3 - 19 year olds and showcase/celebrate the films and animations made by children and young people. The scheme has supported thousands of young people, teachers and schools through training, advice and guidance. Last year 40 schools submitted over 100 films and were judged by an independent panel consisting of experts from the film industry and education. All prizes were presented by the LAFTAs patron, Oscar and BAFTA winner, Jim Broadbent, who was born in Lincolnshire in 1949. Every year Jim dedicates time to viewing all of the shortlisted films to choose his favourite Primary age and Secondary age winner. Further information at: http://www.laftas.co.uk

Crow’s Eye

Crow’s Eye is a Production Company based in Lincolnshire involving the joint creative team of Nick and Pauline Loven. Covering a wide variety of work from feature length and short films as well as costume drama and music videos, Nick is a filmmaker with 15 years of experience and established his company Crow’s Eye Productions in 2005. Also available as a freelance camera operator, Nick uses broadcast standard equipment and for his most recent film set on First World War battlefields, he undertook pyrotechnic training. Crow’s Eye Productions also has its own Period Costume Wardrobe Department run by Pauline Loven, a costumier with 30 years’ experience. Check out the brilliant work of this dynamic duo at their websites and Twitter links below:

Twitter @CrowseyeUK http://www.crowseye.co.uk Twitter @periodwardrobe http://www.periodcostume.co.uk

Lincoln Film Society

The LFS is a small group of cinephiles who regularly meet at the Venue at Bishop Grosseteste University College in Lincoln. Publishing a set programme for each season, films are selected based on member’s suggestions and research by the Society’s committee. The ‘programme’ is never too specialist because their members have a wide taste in movies and the club also screens other one-off films as well. The Venue’s 230 capacity auditorium with fixed rake seating is the perfect location for the society which also allows temporary members to see films but heartily recommends full membership which can save people money over the course of a year. Like most film societies, Lincoln Film Society requires membership and has reasonable rates for those wishing to join. If interested please email lfs-membership@hotmail.co.uk for more information.


BlackBeetle Films

Last but certainly not least is the brand new production company from Lincolnshire. They are currently fundraising for their debut short film Every Waking Breath which follows the story of Abigail Burton - a young woman who is haunted by the death of her parents when she was a child. After years of mourning she decides that there is only one way she can gain closure - by finding the man responsible and exacting revenge. With very high expectations, the team of Josh Brown (Producer) Scott Driver (Writer/Director), Joel Dunn-Wilson (DoP), Jake Greenan (Sound), Oliver Cowton (Art Director) & Harry Kumar (Editor) have set a preliminary fundraising target of £1,000 at IndieGoGo and have already surpassed their goal. Formed within the well-known Media Production course at the Lincoln School of Film and Media (https://www.lincoln.ac.uk/home/fm) the group will utilise the industry-standard, purpose-built facilities at the University to complete the project.

Check their updates here: https://twitter.com/BlackBeetleFilm

Fundraising campaign: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/every-waking-breath-a-short-film#/

Midlands Movies Mike

By midlandsmovies, Apr 1 2015 07:24PM

Midlands Movies Mike speaks to Jess O’Brien who is a young writer, director and actor from the Pauline Quirke Academy (PQA) in Leicester. She’s beginning her first film outside of the PQA and with mentoring from Bad Shoes’ Keith Allott, plans to go into production soon, as well as screen her film using KickStarter funding.

Mike asks this young talent about her background, hopes and plans for the film as she plans the long journey to festival screenings.

MM: Hi Jess. Tell our readers a bit about yourself and your current project

Jess: Hello. My name is Jess O’Brien and I am a 13 year old girl who has been acting locally for around three years before joining Leicester’s performing arts academy PQA in early 2013. My current project, Coping, is something I wrote independently mainly to challenge myself as I will be acting and directing. It is a short story focused around a girl who loses her two best friends while she watches. It shows the main character, Ruby attempting to deal with the whole situation, proving that getting over something as big as this can’t be done alone.

MM: How did you come up with the story idea?

Jess: I don’t really know how the idea came to me, I have always loved writing and as I started to get more and more into the acting career I wanted to challenge myself. I felt that I wanted to write something quite deep that wouldn’t only test me but also the actors. I started off by writing down notes which I then turned into a rough script. I sent it over to Keith Allott who directed my first two films Flawless and Atonia and is the Film and TV teacher at PQA. Over the next six months I developed the idea more and more, storyboarding it until I was completely happy. I had to research a lot of the impacts and emotions which an event like this would cause as thankfully I have never personally gone through this.

MM: Thank you. And what were your influences on this film?

Jess: I think the thing that influences me to act and write is being around people that are like me. They understand how I see things from a film point of view. Also, after acting in my first two films, Flawless and Atonia, I saw their success and it just gave me the urge to just try it myself.

MM: And what has been the most difficult hurdle you have had to overcome?

Jess: While I was writing it, I had a lot of chats with Keith and realised a vital point. In a situation like this, showing the emotion won’t so much be in what they do, more about how they do it. This meant I had to be very specific about the small details and how to play certain parts. The idea of the film could be taken in a very different way if the emotions aren’t right. Ruby could just be seen as a teenage girl acting out for attention instead of being in real trouble and other characters could come across as being menacing which is not right. Therefore, I had to work really closely with the actors so they could understand my thinking.

MM: And what kind of thing are you hoping for when you finally start shooting?

Jess: The main I’m hoping for is that it will be fun and not too rushed. Also, we have had a few rehearsals which were mainly talking about dialogue and the script. We did do run-throughs of the whole script, but not too many as I didn’t want to over rehearse and not get a full performance on the day. I’m looking forward to getting the other actors opinions and changing things around and doing it differently. A lot of the scenes I have left to the actors to improvise which will be fun to play around with.

MM: Do you have any heroes in the film industry?

Jess: Keith is the person that inspires me to act as he got me into screen acting and is the person who got me into writing my own film. I look up to other actresses like Hetti Bywater and actresses that started acting young and made it their career - like Lindsay Lohan whose films I watch a lot.

MM: And what has been your greatest achievement or success?

Jess: My biggest achievement is being given the opportunity to be involved in Flawless. The director could have chosen anyone because there are some incredible actors out there and being asked to do something like that is really amazing. Without all that, I wouldn’t be where I am today so I am so thankful to the makers and everyone that made that possible. Also, Flawless has been very successful, getting into 16 festivals and winning awards and that’s mind-blowing to think that I was involved.

MM: What are the future plans for the project?

Jess: In the future I’m planning to collect funding to pay for any expenses - like the screening I am planning for soon after filming takes place. Also to put Coping into some festivals to see peoples’ thoughts and learn things from the professionals that judge.

MM: And finally, what advice would you give to others thinking about making a film?

Jess: What I would say to someone thinking of being involved in filming is dream of being good at something, not of being famous. If you do become famous, it’s a bonus for being good at something. Don’t worry about what anyone thinks because that’s the reason I didn’t get into acting sooner and I regret that. To be in the acting/filmmaking career I think you have to be willing to look stupid and be embarrassed so just go for it - that’s what I did and it got me here. Life is full of risks anyway so you might as well just take them.

Thank you for your time Jess.

Find out more about Flawless and BadShoes films at this link: https://www.facebook.com/badshoesfilm

And the Pauline Quirke Academy Leicester here: http://pqacademy.com/academy_locator/leicester/?ccm_paging_p_b6550=7

By midlandsmovies, Nov 14 2014 07:07PM

Shereen Walker may be a name new to you but The Zone UK are sure you’ll be hearing it and saying a great deal more very soon! Midlands Movies Mike takes a look at the work of this up and coming actress

With a unique cultural mix, blending the exotic excitement of the Caribbean with charisma and allure of Asia, Shereen is already creating a buzz in the acting world. This began after an outstanding and critically acclaimed graduation and Shereen says she is now ready to make a mark in the professional world of dramatic arts.

As a committed and convincing actress she has delivered a wide range of character roles from dark and sinister to soft and humorous and after hard studying has also graduated from The American Academy of Dramatic Arts (LA) on a 2 year programme. Not content with that, Shereen is also engaging with on-going training with Sword Fights Inc (SFI). Undoubtedly the world of acting is one of the toughest, most challenging, demanding and competitive career avenues out there and Shereen is determined to step up to the test.

From playing Cleopatra in a theatrical production of Antony and Cleopatra for the AADA-LA in the USA to more recent short films made right here in the Midlands, Shereen shows the wealth of talent coming from the region.

She most recently played the lead role of Mary/Zelda in locally made short Hotel Detective filmed in the US and edited by The Zone UK. The Zone UK are a film, photography and video production company dedicated to designing projects from the ground up – from the very first script draft to the final sound mix – ensuring a unique film that says exactly what makers want to say.

The Zone UK is the brainchild of Philip Walker, an experienced Director of Photography, Cameraman, and Creative Director who after ten years of freelancing realised he could do things far better than the majority of companies he saw around him.

With Hotel Detective, Phillip and Shereen have created a short film where Mary, a shy girl who has a lot to say but doesn't always know how to say it, takes solace in one of her favourite pastimes – going to the movies. Described as part film noir, part coming-of-age, Hotel Detective takes a look at what it means to be an extra in your own life.

Other feature films Shereen has starred in include Hush (as Amber) made by the University of Stafford and also as Claire in Blind Eye – a further production from the University of Wolverhampton.

For more info on Shereen please see her contact details below and with more films in the pipeline, Shereen is going to be one to look out for in 2015.

Shereen Walker

Email: shereensswalker@gmail.com


Toshi Madhar , Bakers Boot Factory, 20 Cleveland Road, Wolverhampton, WV2 1BH |

Office: +44 (0)1902 871411 | Mobile: +44 (0)7588339180

toshi@leadingroleagency.co.uk | www.leadingroleagency.co.uk

By midlandsmovies, Aug 22 2014 03:27PM

A University of Derby Film tutor has a new short film called “Dolls” accepted into an online competition to win top prize of £41,000 at an international festival. Midlands Movies Mike finds out about this eerie movie.

“Dolls” has been made by Kelly Holmes’ and tells a sinister tale of a borderline incestuous relationship between a young brother and sister set in a doll’s house in their Victorian playroom.

The short is in contention in the Viewster Online Film Festival, where internet-based audience members vote for their favourite film and the movie’s director of photography Gavin Struthers has previous credits including Downton Abbey, Doctor Who, Da Vinci’s Demons and the new pirate drama Black Sails.

Starring Anna Tolputt – who was in Run, Fatboy, Run – and Derby actor Dean Whatton, who has appeared in the hugely-popular drama series Game of Thrones, the film is at the whilm of a panel of judges who can award $70,000 (more than £41,000) of prize money to the top film. The four-minute drama centres on a sibling power struggle between brother George and his prize toy, his sister Tabitha and shot in the TV studio at the University’s Markeaton Street site in Derby.

A set was constructed to look like a Victorian playroom holding more than 100 porcelain dolls whilst staff and students from the university helped to create the intricate set and produce the final film.

Director Kelly said, “This film has been a long time in the making but I am thrilled it is now getting recognition. There are more than 500 films in the running for an award and it has been bouncing around the top 50 since the start of the festival.

"I just want as many people as possible to vote for this now as it would be such a fantastic achievement to win an award”, she added. “I have a passion for the weird and creative in genres like horror, thriller and fantasy and have been making films as a director, producer and other crew roles for over ten years.”

Last year, Kelly visited Los Angeles to help make films for Hollywood’s famous American Film Institute, where she worked as an Art Director and Assistant Director in locations such as the Disney Film Ranch and the sets of The Usual Suspects. Viewster Online Film Festival is part of Viewster, a free video streaming website with millions of fans watching international content. All content is free and allows the community to discover new international hits, discuss and find trends. This year’s festival has the theme of ‘Relation Status: It’s Complicated’.

The film can be viewed at http://www.viewster.com/movie/1262-17420-000/dolls with voting is now open and ends on June 26th.

For more information, visit https://www.facebook.com/dollsthefilm

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