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By midlandsmovies, Aug 20 2018 07:24AM



Midlands Spotlight - The Short Cinema 2018


Kicking off even earlier in the summer holidays this year is Leicester’s The Short Cinema film festival. So early in fact, that we were away on holiday when the amazing festival, which started in a local pub many moons ago, began its full summer programme!


As regular attendees, the festival has been a hotbed of local talent in 2017, 2016 and even further back but this 12th edition is bigger than ever before.


Running from Wednesday 15th to Saturday 25th August the festival has expanded beyond its early “local shorts” remit to include the finest short films from across the globe as well as features and specific evenings based around varied topics.


With the launch incorporating an evening screening of Pin Cushion with Q & A from the film’s director – we also spoke to Deborah Haywood here – the festival is off to a positive start and highlights of the week’s events are listed below:


Film / The Short Cinema: International Programme Mon 20 Aug, 7pm – Tickets £4

See some of the best short films from across the globe in our international programme. This year, our International Programme will bring with it another fascinating selection of world cinema.


Film / The Short Cinema: Iris Prize LGBTQ+ Shorts Tue 21 Aug, 7pm – Tickets £4

The international renowned festival, held in Cardiff each October, has become known as the most prestigious LGBTQ+ specialised film event in the world.


Film / The Short Cinema: Lives in Sign Language Tue 21 Aug, 6.30pm | Tickets £4

In partnership with London Short Film Festival we present a selection of thought provoking archive and contemporary short films which bring stories about D/deaf culture and experience to the big screen.


Free Event / The Short Cinema: BFI NETWORK Talent Mixer Wed 22 Aug – Free Event

BFI NETWORK brings together the UK's film agencies to discover, develop and fund new and emerging writers, directors and producers. Join us for drinks and networking.


Film / The Short Cinema: BFI Network Shorts Wed 22 Aug, 8pm – Free

BFI Network brings together the UK's film agencies to discover, develop and fund new and emerging writers, directors and producers. Check out the competition by attending this free screening of BFI NETWORK funded shorts.



Film / The Short Cinema: Intersectional Feminism + Panel Thu 23 Aug, 6.30pm – Tickets £4

In a time when #metoo and #timesup are so heavily in the public conscious, we explore the concept of intersectional feminism through the medium of short film. The screening will be followed by a panel discussion including curators, creatives and filmmakers.


Film / The Short Cinema: British Shorts Fri 24 Aug, 7pm – Tickets £6

What does it mean to be British in 2018? Comedy, drama and horror come together to showcase individuals, communities and stories from our nation.


Film / The Short Cinema: Family Shorts - There's No Place Like Home Sat 25 Aug, 10.30am – Free

A collection of stories about kinship and belonging, curated by Flatpack Festival. Suitable for ages 4 and above, the programme showcases the best of international animation.


Closing Gala / The Short Cinema: Midlands Showcase Sat 25 Aug, 7pm – Tickets £6

The big kahuna, bringing you the best in shorts from the Midlands and celebrating the talent who made them. We’ll announce the 2018 award winners before our annual “wrap party”.


For full information on each night and to buy tickets for this fantastic selection of local film delights, please go to the festival website here: https://www.phoenix.org.uk/event/the-short-cinema/





By midlandsmovies, Jul 11 2018 02:00AM

Quite simply, here is our ongoing and updated list of Film Festivals in the Midlands (2018 edition):


• THE SHORT CINEMA http://www.theshortcinema.co.uk info@theshortcinema.co.uk Phoenix, Leicester - August 20 – 25, 2018


• NOTTINGHAM MICRO FILM FESTIVAL Twitter @FilmNottingham http://www.nimfestival.com/ 8-10 March 2018


• INDIE-LINCS - March 15-18 2018 Based at Lincoln Performing Arts Centre, and run in partnership with The School of Film and Media at the University of Lincoln http://www.indie-lincs.com


• BRINDLEY PLACE OUTDOOR FEST - http://www.brindleyplace.com/event/brindleyplace-film-festival-2018/ July 16 -22 2018


• LEICESTER DOCFILM FEST https://twitter.com/docfilmfestival Contact John Coster November 2018


• BORDERLINES FEST http://www.borderlinesfilmfestival.co.uk UK's largest rural film festival. Herefordshire/Shropshire - 23rd February - 11th March 2018


• BIRMINGHAM FILM FEST - November 22 – 25 2018 https://filmfreeway.com/festival/Birminghamfilmfestival


• BIFF FEST (Black International Film Fest) https://www.biffestival.co.uk 2018 dates TBC


• SHOCK AND GORE FESTIVAL http://www.shockandgore.co.uk The Electric Cinema in Birmingham, July. Contact david@theelectric.co.uk or https://twitter.com/shockgore July 27 to Aug 5 2018


• DEAFFEST http://www.deaffest.co.uk The UK's International Deaf Film & Arts Festival Wolverhampton. Contact info@light-house.co.uk Friday 17th to Sunday 19th May 2019


• THE UK ASIAN FILM FESTIVAL LEICESTER - http://tonguesonfire.com/ 15 March - 31 March 2018


• SHOUT FESTIVAL http://shoutfestival.co.uk Birmingham Dates TBC for 2018


• DERBY FILM FESTIVAL http://www.derbyfilmfestival.co.uk 4th - 13th MAY 2018


• FANTASTIQ FEST http://fantastiq.co.uk Fantasy/Horror Fest at Quad in Derby (part of Derby Film Fest)


• MAYHEM HORROR Film Fest - Halloween. Contact Broadway cinema in Nottingham http://www.broadway.org.uk/mayhem 11 October - 14 October 2018


• FLATPACK FEST - Birmingham, UK. http://www.flatpackfestival.org.uk 13 - 22 April 2018


• EAST ASIAN FILM FESTIVAL http://www.eastwindsfilmfest.com May 2018


• BEESTON FILM FESTIVAL - https://twitter.com/BeestonFilm 8th - 11th March 2018


• SHROPSHIRE RAINBOW FILM FESTIVAL http://www.rainbowfilmfestival.org.uk/midlands-zone 5th - 7th October 2018


• GRINDHOUSE PLANET - www.grindhouseplanet.com November 2018 TBC


* BOTTLESMOKE FILM FESTIVAL - https://www.facebook.com/BottleSmokeStoke Stoke on Trent, 8th - 9th September 2018


* POCKET FILM FESTIVAL (Unseen cinema) http://www.unseencinema.co.uk/pocket-film-festival-2018/ Stafford 12-17 March 2018


* BIRMINGHAM HORROR GROUP - https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/birmingham-horror-group-mini-movie-marathon-25-march-2018-tickets-41683231668 Mini-Movie Marathon Mini-Movie 25 March 2018


* SHROPSHIRE'S FIRST WORLD WAR FILM FESTIVAL https://twitter.com/wilfredowen100 8th October to 23rd November 2018


* THE BRAVE BLACK BIRD FILM FEST Wolverhampton https://ajayhackett2113.wixsite.com/bbff Wolverhampton 25th Feb 2019 (submissions until July 2018)


* HIGH PEAK INDEPENDENT FILM FESTIVAL Derbyshire https://www.highpeakindie.com 12th to 16th June 2019. #HPIFF18


* NOTTINGHAM FILM FESTIVAL Hothouse Theatre Nottingham https://twitter.com/NottmFilmFest 8th July 2018


* THE VENUE LINCOLN FILM FESTIVAL Lincolnshire https://www.thevenuelincoln.co.uk 6th - 8th July 2018


* THE SHORT STACK FILM FESTIVAL Nottingham Bi-monthly screening night at Broadway Cinema https://www.facebook.com/groups/841340665914084 (Various dates)


* THE TELFORD FILM FESTIVAL Telford & Wrekin - various venues across Telford as part of the twon's 50th anniversary http://www.telford50.co.uk/filmfestival 14th September to 31st October 2018


Other useful Film Festival information can be find at these links:

http://www.festivalfocus.org/festival

http://film.britishcouncil.org/festivals-directory/festivals-map

http://www.thefilmfestivaldoctor.co.uk

By midlandsmovies, Sep 28 2017 08:32AM

Midlands Spotlight - Paul Vernon


Midlands Movies Mike finds out about regional filmmaker Paul Vernon who has gone from the local to the global arena with his documentary, dance and short films.


From gaining a BTEC National Diploma: Film and Moving Image at Brooksby Melton College back in 2007, Paul Vernon is now showing his latest short film, Lost In The Nameless City, in the Chelsea district of New York as part of the Artists Forum Festival Of The Moving Image .


From small beginnings, Paul has now directed a range of films, many of which have been selected, award nominated and chosen to open and close film festivals and Lost In The Nameless City was the recent winner of the Experimental Award from the 12 Months Film Festival in Romania.


The film is an experimental documentary and photographic film interpreting urban space in London and combines black and white video and 135 film photography with an original minimalist score from composer David C. Hëvvitt made especially for the short.


More locally, Paul directed A Film By Abigail which was shot in his home village of Tugby near Leicester. Screened twice at Phoenix Square in Leicester’s Cultural Quarter - once with The Short Cinema as their opening film and also at the DocFilm Fest as well - Paul explains that his unique style saw the film screened in a gallery in Nottingham too.


“I’m deeply interested in cinematic aesthetics and form driven with passion to create unique varied films of individuality, tone and image”.


Although Paul has one foot firmly in the UK, and gained an MA with Merit specialising as a director earned at The Northern Film School in Leeds, he has always looked beyond the local too.


And it was "Abigail" that launched Paul’s work outside of the region when it was incorporated into a New York City school art curriculum and was an opening film at the 25. Internationales FilmFest Emden-Norderney representing UK films in London Shorts Special. Afterwards, the film was soon being screened further afield as part of festivals worldwide competing in Russia, India, Israel, Estonia, Albania, Egypt and France.


The film also premiered as the opening film of a short film showcase at BAFTA, screened in the "Best of Fest" at San Diego Comic-Con as well as the London Short Film Festival at the ICA and at the LACMA.


Find out more about Paul and his projects on his official website here: http://www.paulvernonfilmmaker.com


Watch the full short documentary A Film By Abigail here on YouTube below:



By midlandsmovies, Aug 31 2017 11:07AM



Midlands Interview - Award winning director Andrew Rutter


Filmmaker Andrew Rutter recently won Leicester’s 2017 The Short Cinema Main Competition Award for Best Film which is the culmination of many years hard work for the local director. Mike Sales interviews Andrew who tells us more about his winning film and more.


Midlands Movies Mike: Hi Andrew, congratulations on your win! The Short Cinema is a great event for the region so are you from the area at all?

Andrew Rutter: Hi and thanks very much! Well it all started for me in the Black Country where I was born and raised. I grew up in a small area called Rowley Regis where my brother and I would rope our school mates in to making horror films with us using the family camcorder. We managed to produce all sorts of whacky stuff, a few zombie films and our own little homage to the Texas Chainsaw Massacre at one point. Aside from a brief stint in backyard wrestling we very much enjoyed making horror films. Fast forward to now, I’m a freelance filmmaker full time. Of course I work a lot in corporate video to pay the bills but I tend to turn my hand to all sorts of film production, continuously trying to carve some sort of career out of all this madness!


MMM : And when did that home-made filmmaking become more professional?

AR: Well, I guess I started working “Professionally” right out of the gate after my stint at Wolverhampton University in 2011. I landed a freelance editing job cutting toy adverts so that helped me financially and grow professionally. When not working I was continuously shooting Music Videos for next to nothing, fully realising that I kind of had to build a brand new portfolio since the DSLR movement had swept the filmmaking scene and the bar had been raised.


I found it quite hard to navigate to where I am now, and even still I find it difficult because freelance is such a life that is all about unpredictability, not fully knowing if a job is coming through or not. The key factors for me were making friends and making cool art. I always believed that if you strived hard to make the best possible thing you can, time and time again, then eventually it’d be hard for people to ignore you.


MMM: So do your films focus on any particular genres or themes?

AR: It’s weird really as I pretty much grew up on genre movies, but my work tends to blend a lot of stuff, or at least that’s what’s going on in my head during the process. As a kid I made horror movies, but I haven’t made a horror film since then. I’m a big fan of dark comedy, quite a few past Music Videos have gone down that route and I think I’m leaning more in to that for some future shorts I have in mind. I kind of fell into music videos because they had a formula that meant you could get your ideas funded but you’d just have to tailor them to some music. I’m at a point now though where I want to fully dive in to all sorts of genre filmmaking.



MMM: You just mentioned the problems of balancing the corporate and freelance work but what have been other difficult hurdles you have overcome?

AR: It’s very difficult to pin point as I can honestly say my whole ‘career’ has been a constant struggle. Building a network of people, establishing regular work, detecting untrustworthy people, the list goes on. Then there’s the difficult reality of trying to navigate the film industry, which is this insane beast; to ‘break in’ to something riddled with elitism and blind luck. I didn’t come from money or have an uncle in the biz, just an encouraging mother, a camcorder and loads of ideas. Early on I really struggled with the notion of working with other people for a long time, I hated that I needed other people to make my films. I couldn’t tell you how many times I was let down by people I thought were trustworthy, at the risk of sounding really negative, I grew to dislike the industry after meeting so many bull-shitters. The positives from this though is that I learnt a lot from these people, it’s been useful to be stung a few times because my bullshit radar is pretty strong now! The reality is that you need to find the right people, sometimes it’s just a small tight-nit group of friends that will fight to get your film made and as a result champion each other’s talents through success.


I think the biggest challenges over time have not been the physical graft but my mental state. It’s hard to get anything done when your mind is rooting against you, filmmaking can be a lonely journey and when you do eventually meet these liars, they contribute to the gradual chipping away at your own mental stability, often causing doubt in your own ability. I’ve been fortunate to find strength in loved ones and other filmmakers who are also chasing this crazy dream. There’s a whole lot of inspiring stuff being produced all over the world so I think it just takes giving yourself that time to absorb some of it and recharge your batteries - a great cure for any negative thinking!



MMM: And how was the shoot for Ultrasound and how did you get involved in it?

AR: The shoot was very challenging as it was my most ambitious piece to date. The band were great, they literally gave me free reign over what the film could be and left me to it. I came to work with the band a few years ago, I was literally just a fan that sent them a tweet along the lines of “Let me do your next video”. They called my bluff and a few weeks later I was in Hastings doing the first video with them. A couple years later they had album three coming out, they invited me to the studio and that’s where I first heard ‘Kon-Tiki’. I knew from that moment that it was the one I’d do a film for.


A lot of things went wrong during the shoot, a producer dropped out at an awkward time and I became buried in multi-tasking alongside the DOP Christopher Hood. We shot for around 5 days, lead by location availability really, which was primarily Wolverhampton, Wales, Peterborough and an evening in Leicester. I was running on 3 hours sleep for most of it, barely eating and generally a silly mess. For all it’s hardships a lot did go right on the shoot, it had to or we’d have been well and truly…


This shoot also happened to be the last with my good friend Keith ‘Casablanca’ Whitehouse who sadly left this world not long after the film came out. I was so happy he got to see his work in it, that he really loved it and supported it massively. Whilst he plays a rather negative character in the film, I have a huge smile when his face pops up on the big cinema screens that it’s been playing across recently.


MMM: And which do you have any heroes or people who have influenced you from the film industry?

AR: My heroes of the industry have kinda changed as I’ve grown up. I managed to meet a few when I was in my early teens. At thirteen I attended a TROMA master class in London with my brother where we got to meet and talk with Lloyd Kaufman, a real champion of independent cinema. I got to briefly meet John Waters and George A. Romero many years ago too, both who’ve made extremely influential films. Seeing John Carpenter play his music live last year was also a beautiful treat.


There are so many great filmmakers out there now doing amazing things, I’m a frequent visitor of Vimeo, which is a great injection of inspiration when you need it. The filmmaking duo DANIELS I’ve followed for a few years on there, watching their journey from Music Videos to feature film Swiss Army Man is amazing. Nowadays though I find my heroes to be the people who are fighting to get their films made, the ones who are pushing on regardless of doubt and naysayers. I suppose it transcends film though, artists in general have a positive effect on me when I see what they’ve been through to get something made.



MMM: And what do you think has been your greatest achievement on your journey so far?

AR: I don’t have any defining moments of success to be honest; it’s been a series of little victories that have kept me going over the years. Last year I learnt to drive and bought myself a car, which I was pretty proud of, as it’d been something that tormented me for years! Every project I’ve completed has been a victory for me, knowing that something exists because I willed it to, whether it’s good or bad doesn’t matter. So many people don’t get past the ideas part of the process so to have something actually exist in the world is a win, to get accolades for it is a bonus.


MMM: And for the obligatory “impossible” question – what are your favourite films?

AR: I live and breathe all kinds of cinema and my top ten is forever changing. As a kid I was introduced to stuff like A Nightmare on Elm Street, Dawn of the Dead, and John Carpenter’s The Fog. In early high school I saw Peter Jackson’s Bad Taste, which was a massive influence; the behind the scenes of that film alone is a testament to him as a filmmaker. When I reached my teens I was discovering a bunch of stuff from David Lynch, David Cronenberg, Jan Svankmajer, Terry Gilliam, Alejandro Jodorowsky, Roman Polanski, Werner Herzog and so many more. I fell in to a deeper world of film and it all opened up for me during my teens. It was magical stumbling upon something that blew your mind; in college it was stuff like Tetsuo: The Iron Man, Boogie Nights, Todd Solondz’s Happiness. Even now I’m still catching stuff I missed out on, such as Tarkovsky’s Stalker and the work of Kenneth Anger.


MMM: With The Short Cinema win now in the bag what can we expect next from Andrew Rutter?

AR: I’m developing a few short narrative films at the moment; I’ve done a lot of Music Videos and Documentaries so I’m trying to push myself in to some narrative shorts that aren’t either of those. I’m not ruling out anything though as you just never know what may present itself at the right time.


MMM: And finally, what are your favourite Midlands films and is there anyone for our readers to look out for?

AR: I’ll use this moment to plug my brother’s new film which he’s just released as you couldn’t get any more Midlands than this. It’s called Bella in the Wych Elm and you should definitely check it out here


MMM: Wow! I didn’t know you were related and we reviewed his film earlier in the year. Huge thanks for speaking to us today Andrew.

AR: A pleasure.


Check out Andrew’s showreel below and follow the filmmaker on Twitter here https://twitter.com/AJRutter



By midlandsmovies, Aug 27 2017 04:47PM

The Short Cinema 2017 - Part 2


For Part 1 of The Short Cinema showcase 2017 please click here:

http://www.midlandsmovies.com/blog/4558436876/The-Short-Cinema-2017---Part-1/11214523


After a much needed beer break, I headed back into the main screening room for the second part of the excellent Short Cinema 2017 to discover even more great films from the region’s talent...




Ultrasound – Kon-Tiki by Andrew Rutter

This successful music video (and ultimately eventual winner of The Short Cinema 2017 Main Competition) is directed by Andrew Rutter using a track by the group Ultrasound to launch a whirlwind coming of age story mixing surreal visuals with the band’s catchy melodies. Tackling serious subjects of inner conflict – the young protagonist begins on a bike yet behind closed doors dresses in high heels and nail varnish – the film does so in an entertaining way without ever poking fun at the teenager. With a healthy dose of nostalgia, the film’s most successful images are the most strange and dreamlike ones from an “astro” love-making session to personal reflections on a lake. In the end, Rutter has high ambition and more than achieves his aims throughout the video which itself ends on an explosive climax.

Watch the full video here: https://vimeo.com/192961828



A Broken Appointment by Kaleb D’Aguilar

A 3-minute short about same-sex relationships, A Broken Appointment showcases the complicated issues of closeting and hiding feelings in the gay community. Mixing tender and violent emotions, the film condenses a lot into its short run time from the first touching of hands to the complexities faced by a mixed-race gay couple. Dark yet offering a glimpse of optimism, the film’s sensitive narrative is a dramatic slice-of-life exploring marginalised groups in a responsible and delicate manner.

Find out more information here: http://caribbeantalesfestival.com/project/a-broken-appointment/



Girl A by Jess O’Brien

Reviewed by Midlands Movies earlier this year, Girl A still packs a metaphorical and physical punch on a third watch as young filmmaker Jess O’Brien doesn’t flinch from her story of a bully from a broken home. Using strong language and flashes of violence, the solid story and great performances from a teen cast help infuse the film with believability, as we see a troubled pupil lash out at school owing to problems at home. With some great tracking shots and an open ended finale the film is a local success from a strong young filmmaking voice.

Read our full review here: http://www.midlandsmovies.com/blog/4558436876/Feature-Review---Girl-A/11098121



Vandella Day by John McCourt

Actor Kieron Attwood reappears on our list in this darkly comic short from Leicester filmmaker John McCourt. Alongside Lois Cowley, Attwood plays one of two people holed up in a confined space where we find there is just one bullet left in their gun as they think the unthinkable. With the noise of attackers approaching and with no apparent way out, the gun is raised to their heads but malfunctions at the most inopportune time. The intense 1-minute short sets up its characters, cramped location and desperate motivations in mere seconds and filmmaker McCourt turns the tables when an accident with the firearm leads to less than pleasant consequences. A brief but forceful short, Vandella Day’s in-your-face extremities will hit you like a bullet in the head.

Find out more about Vandella Day here: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt6483644/fullcredits/



Betty by Jordan Handford

Another film reviewed by us earlier in 2017 is this drama from Jordan Handford about the effects of dementia. Set on a park bench the film slowly pans around Betty’s distant face before she is joined by a man who regales her with a story from his past that connects to her own. A subtle film on a sensitive subject, the story had personal connections to me after my own mother lost her battle against dementia in May of this year. “Betty” tackles the issues with a finely tuned script that is masterly delivered by John Ghent as Eric, who uses the well-written dialogue to capture the spirit and memories of the past whilst acknowledging the difficulties of the present.

Read our full review of Betty here: http://www.midlandsmovies.com/blog/4558436876/Midlands-Film-Review---Betty/11160736




The Last Drop by Sascha Zimmermann

Written by Nottingham-based screenwriter Tommy Draper, this new short had a true international flavour having been made in Germany. Der Letzte Tropfen (The Last Drop) concerns itself with a self-help group who are experiencing problems with drink dependency with some attendees less than pleased with being there. The group’s advisor tries to maintain some civility as each member explains (or doesn’t) the problems with their addiction. As a first-time stranger joins the group the film goes into overdrive as it switches genres right before our eyes in a spectacular but satisfying “rug-pull”. With a tremendous script and brilliant turns by the German cast, the film is a superb collaborative effort that audiences can get their teeth into.

Find out more here: http://www.midlandsmovies.com/blog/4558436876/Midlands-Spotlight---Nottingham-writer-Tommy-Draper-heads-to-Germany/11200733



The Inuring by James Hughes

With another tale this evening of childhood abuse, The Inuring looks at a teen who is a victim of bullying who confronts a sister about their past. An astonishing Emily Haigh plays troubled teen Aleish who has been bullied yet keeps many private thoughts to herself. Locking herself in a room, her sister (Sarine Sofair as Claudette) places herself on the other side of the door in an attempt to get her sibling to talk. Haigh’s performance shows the systematic breakdown of a put-upon victim and during their awkward interactions, dark secrets of the past are revealed which raises the stakes in their important conversations. With a bleak and gloomy tone and great cinematography the film is not for the faint of heart but winning performances make this short a satisfying drama of angst, regret and childhood ruin.

For more info click here: http://www.theinuring.com




Retrograde by Eve Wills-Wilson

This 10 minute experimental film uses varying film stock and images to cover issues of the past, present and future as well as celestial bodies and the movement of the oceans. The archive sound drones in the background as an abstract series of repeating motifs are shown. Not to my personal tastes – the backwards clock being a cliché crime – the film nonetheless has its roots in contemporary art and would suit an installation in a modern gallery where its ethereal imagery could be studied and discussed. With lots of random footage and film speeds, I would liken the short to a visual version of The Beatles’ “Revolution No. 9” – i.e. some will consider it a disorganised collage whilst others will see intellectual gifts within. Take your pick.

Watch the short here: https://vimeo.com/200670585




Bless You by Daryl Grizzle

Three videogame-playing friends sit in a front room in this short from Daryl Grizzle who uses the situation to discuss the history of one of the most used phrases of all time. As one of the pals does a particularly large sneeze, his friend gives him a courteous “bless you” before each of them in turn explains their version of the origins of the custom. From the plague and saving angels to keeping the devil at bay, the trio of chums lull the audience into a false sense of security with their banter before a jump-scare filled conclusion. Moving from a lightweight discussion to a darker ending the short is an off-kilter blessing in disguise.

Find out more info here: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt6867424/




Loyal to War by Parang Khezri

Made by award-winning Iranian filmmaker Parang Khezri, Loyal to War was one of the shortest and strangest films of the night. With middle-eastern imagery and a boy looking into a mirror (actually cleverly played by two actors through a frame), the film is a surreal look at nature and life. With some filming shot backwards and the images of petals and mirrors, the short asked the audience to reflect on its ideas but provides very little context as to meaning. An intriguing visual statement, the film is baffling in many ways but portrays a very mysterious aura and an enigmatic puzzle to study long after it ended.

Catch Parang’s previous 2010 short TABU: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zke-4oogD60




Upgrade by Mike Doxford

The final film of the night is another Random Acts funded project called Upgrade, where we are shown a night watchman who heads into a building to see a number of random youths hooked up to different technology. This tech seems forbidden, hence the security, but we notice they are listening to old headphones and playing old handheld video-games. The guard then presses play on an vintage tape recorder which plays some funky brass-filled salsa music. After a bit of head nodding the guard (played well by James Bartholomew) gets “into the groove” and begins dancing around the building. Linking the physical dance with the analogue tape player – the film presents a tangible world which stands in stark opposition to the passivity of modern day digital technology.

Find out more here: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt6394702/


In conclusion, with 22 varied films from different genres this year seemed more than just a showcase of film but acknowledged the huge work done by the community. In these films’ reflection and representation of different stories and narratives, the emphasis was on art and in the face of funding issues throughout the industry it was even more impressive to see the quality on show at the festival.


For more info on the Short Cinema please click here and a big thank you to all the organisers including the magnificent Alexzandra Jackson for such a tremendous 4-day event.


Midlands Movies Mike


Below are some photos from the evening.




By midlandsmovies, Aug 27 2017 01:12PM



The Short Cinema 2017 - Part 1


It comes around so quickly! Last night was another hugely successful showcase of regional talent as the final Main Competition night was held for The Short Cinema 2017. A full screening room at Leicester's Phoenix Square Independent Cinema were hugely receptive to a whole host of shorts, dramas, comedies and more from the best filmmakers in the area. With the largest programme of films I've seen yet, this show was spread over two screening sessions so I headed down to catch the judge's best films chosen from this year's Short Cinema entrants.


(Click here for part 2)




Multi Story by Kieran Chauhan

Given the big task of opening the evening, Kieran Chauhan had a huge job on his hands being the first film of the night but the bar was set high with his dark drama Multi Story. Set mostly in an eerie car park, the phrase “What Brings You Here?” is echoed throughout as the audience are encouraged to ask the same question of the protagonist. A car-park purgatory of sorts, a man investigates his wife's death but with surreal twists and turns. Its imagery echoes everything from the elevator from Inception to the visions of Jacob’s Ladder and the short is great at unsettling the audience. Adrian Bouchet is superb as the haunted detective whilst Izabella Malewska is feisty and mysterious in an excellent support role with director Chauhan demonstrating his outstanding eye for troubling images and peculiar sequences.

Find out more here: http://kieranchauhan.com/sample-page/shortfilms



Headspace by Stuart Peters

With influences from Spike Jonze’s sweeping camerawork in his “Weapon of Choice” and “Kenzo World” dance-music videos, this short showcases the dance talents of Danni Spooner. Contrasting the sunny tap dancing around Leicester’s Castle Park with a Gene Kelly-esque tit-for-tat dance off with her own spotlighted shadow, the short encapsulates the dreamy world of the dancer and accents all the right beats in its attempts to ‘click’ with the audience.

Watch the short here: https://vimeo.com/groups/459498/videos/213422967




The Last Barman on Earth by Brian McDowell

Brian McDowell’s film of two heavily armed survivors of a post-apocalyptic earth who head into a bar was certainly a highlight from the evening. Mixing great special effects with a tongue-in-cheek steampunk tone, the two leads’ banter contrasts with the appearance of straight-talking android barman. Channelling Martin Sheen in Passengers and a huge dose of Michael Fassbender’s ‘David’ in Prometheus, the star is Kieron Attwood whose electronic movements are a perfect physical manifestation of a machine. The monotone automaton has aims as dark as Ash in Alien and the film concludes with a suitably twisted ending. A satisfying sci-fi success.

Watch the short here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RBV6VENAQpQ



The Past Whispers by Jane Hearst

A short which tackles the sensitive subject of sexual abuse and bullying was not the last of the night but this film highlighted the struggles of an abuse survivor as well as the dark memories that continue to haunt victims. The film used a great concept of “blacking out” the perpetrator as a way of trying to forget past trauma but the use of personal photos were clear that the acts were committed by a close family member. The female lead has her memories collated in what initially looks like a fun scrapbook but the shadow of her tormentor burdens her thoughts throughout. An intriguing and delicate story, the film was created through the “First Acts” short programme in partnership with Rural Media – a grouping which again would appear more on the night.

Find out more here: http://randomacts.channel4.com/post/162079637751/the-past-whispers-by-jane-hearst-a-survivor-of



Hands by Michael Lane

An experimental film in which 4 hands are shown against a black backdrop is an arty conceptualisation of a number of themes which are open to interpretation in Michael Lane’s “Hands”. The fleshy appendages are shown in stark contrast to the dark background and the movement of digits hinted upon everything from communication, birth, blooming flowers and togetherness. With great music from Vladimir Konstantinov, Hands is not for everyone as the film’s abstractness may turn off some viewers but its collaborative creation encapsulates the minimalist words seen on screen at the end: A Dance. A Meditation. Hope.


Recovery by Daniel Purse

One of the first straight ahead (or so it seems) dramas of the night, Daniel Purse’s “Recovery” sets itself up as a tale of drunk driving and regret. However a literal left-turn (or was it right?) gives the short much more depth than at first glance. As a mysterious figure watches a grave, the film is superb at setting up a well-known narrative only to switch focus towards its conclusion. With the ringing of a red phone box and a symbolic red book, all signs point towards a bloody ending but a hint of time-travel (believe it or not) help turn a seen-it-before story into something much more intriguing.

Find out more about Recover at http://danielpurse.com/recovery/




Si by Steve George, Ryan Sibanda

A film by Steve George, Ryan Sibanda, Joshua Baggott and LJ Greenwood from the University of Wolverhampton, “Si” was nominated for the Undergraduate Short Feature award at the RTS Student Television Awards 2017. The short is an amazing comedic sketch from one of the strangest points-of-view this reviewer has ever seen. Telling the story in voiceover, the “star” of the film is a ‘Caution: Wet Floor” sign, nicknamed “Si”. Yes, that’s correct. This high-concept idea is delivered with huge laughs and an understated voiceover reminiscent of Ralph Brown’s Del Preston from Wayne’s World 2 (or Danny in Withnail & I if you prefer). Witnessing office romances, terrible toilet incidents and more, the sign hilariously comments on the various events and the short won the audience over from the outset. Si is a winning demonstration of how a great concept, executed well, can result in an even greater success for any short filmmaker.

Watch the short here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FpbjApLefgI




FAG by Danni Spooner

An abstract concept of a film, FAG is described as a “rebellious reflection on the cis-gendered society we exist in”. With three individuals shown at the start from the feet up, FAG plays around with stereotypes, expectations and political correctness. The high heels mixed with masculine “marching” mixes gender concepts and as the short progresses, there are tasteful shots of stubble, breasts and smoking – again, combining aspects of what the audience may expect from male or female bodies. With an inherent playfulness, the film brings up important issues but does so in a fun, (partially) explicit yet no-nonsense way that is accessible for all.

Watch the short here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=REpNwEOYUys




The Gift by John Quarrell

Husband Michael arrives at the posh residence of a call girl with embarrassment and trepidation in this dramatic film from John Quarrell. Yet, initial thoughts of a cheating spouse are put aside when it’s revealed this is part of a ‘gift’ provided by Michael’s wife, who is debilitated by Multiple Sclerosis. Gregory Finnegan delivers a great performance as he weighs the moral quandary he’s facing whilst Natasha Pring as his disabled wife shows the daily struggles she faces. All red-dress and sly glances, Alex Childs is amazing as she delivers a sultry performance as the call girl who gives depth to what could have been a straight forward supporting role in the film. With 3 strong actors delivering minimalist but thoroughly satisfying dialogue, The Gift gave its audience a superb present of extraordinary pleasures.

Find out more about The Gift here: https://www.johnquarrell.com/




My Jedi Powers by Rhys Davies

A modest little short from Leicester filmmaker Rhys Davies, My Jedi Powers continues with the themes from the filmmaker’s previous efforts embracing family connections between young and old generations. In this Star-Wars influenced film, a boy (in a Stormtrooper outfit) and his grandmother (brilliantly attired Audrey Ardington as Darth Vader) are attempting to get to the cinema but are beset by unforeseen ‘forces’ including a broken-down car. What a piece of junk! The two connect over talk of “Rebels” and, with the help of an old man, continue their adventure and cross rural rivers to get to the bus stop. With their new hope ultimately dashed as the bus fails to arrive, the short ends on a high with their journey itself being celebrated as a success. And again, My Jedi Powers shows how director Davies uses his masterful skill to tackle the quaint and peculiar hobbies that bring families together.

Find out more here: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt6225146/




Barfly by Mike Yeoman

“Mike Yeoman walks into a bar”. Barfly is a short but sweet sketch from Mike Yeoman and his FlipYou comedy collective and takes the age-old “bar joke” format and twists it with a swift punch-line. Less than a minute long, it continues Yeoman’s quick and funny Fast Show-paced skits that cut out the fat for big dollops of sharp laughs. Mixing the amusing with the absurd, the film left the audience in high spirits as the break approached and showed the group’s talent for well-observed, yet intelligently silly, humour.

Follow updates from Flip You comedy here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCD8Slh-Kc2LHWcjC0h8-fuA


Click here for Part 2...


Midlands Movies Mike

By midlandsmovies, Aug 17 2017 08:40AM



Midlands Spotlight - The Short Cinema 2017 in Leicester


Leicester's amazing The Short Cinema is now under a week away and they have a full programme of loca, national and international films to showcase over their 3-day festival line up.


Check out the full programme below:


THE SHORT CINEMA LAUNCH PARTY Wed 23 Aug, 6.30pm

To celebrate the eleventh edition of The Short Cinema, we’re launching the festival with a get-together, to give us a chance to highlight some of our partners and supporters and allow our makers to meet before their screening night. Join us for a drink from Langton Brewery and finger food from exciting, new, vegan caterers The Mystery Booth to celebrate another year of excellent short film. We will also have music from the talented Les Hayden and an outdoor screening in partnership with The British Silent Film Festival (weather dependent). This event is followed by our Opening Gala screening of our 2017 International Programme in Screen 2 from 8:45pm. Please note you will need a separate ticket for this event.

 

THE SHORT CINEMA OPENING GALA: INTERNATIONAL PROGRAMME Wed 23 Aug, 8.45pm

Opening Gala: The International Programme has expanded! For the first time this will be showcased in one of our main screens following the launch party.

 

ARTIST MOVING IMAGE: THE LACEY RITUALS: FILMS BY BRUCE LACEY Thu 24 Aug, 6.45pm

This delightful programme showcases the playful, physical sense of humour and irreverent sensibility of great British artist and eccentric, Bruce Lacey.

 

THE BEST OF IRIS: QUEER FILM NETWORK SCREENING Thu 24 Aug, 7pm

A chance for audiences to watch the Best of Iris LGBTQ+ Film Festival Shorts. A post screening discussion will be hosted by Connor Winterton. [LIMITED AVALIABILITY]

 

THE SHORTISH CINEMA Fri 25 Aug, 8pm

Screening for its third year, the festival has expanded with The Shortish Cinema, a screening of Midlands-made films which need slightly longer than our usual 15 minute limit to tell their story.

 

FAMILY SHORTS: Sat 26 Aug, 10.30am

Presented in partnership with Flatpack Assemble: Join us for a morning of family friendly short stories told on the big screen.

 

THE SHORT CINEMA CLOSING: MAIN COMPETITION Sat 26 Aug, Doors 7.30pm – Screening 8pm

Now in its eleventh year, The Short Cinema is an annual short film festival showcasing established and emerging talent from across the world with a strong focus on Midlands makers.

 

More info can be found at http://www.theshortcinema.co.uk/




By midlandsmovies, Sep 19 2016 06:07PM

Archway 0173 tells the story of Tom who is fascinated by an old telephone bought at an auction but one day the previously-broken phone rings and connects Tom with a young girl from 1940 called Isabelle. Becoming friends after sharing conversations, Tom's friend Katie doesn’t believe Isabelle is real. MIdlands Movies writer investigates this new short from Leicester where characters make frightening discoveries about each other.


Writer & Director of Archway 0173 is promising newcomer Pat Knight from Leicester. Although this film is Pat's first production she is someone who already has connections with the regional filmmaking community in the city as she explains:


“My son David attends the Pauline Quirke Academy in Leicester and through this I met Keith Allott who is their Film and TV teacher", says Pat. Pat continues, "As well as working with the PQA students, Keith offered to help any parent who was interested in film making. Having been on serval TV and Film sets when David has been filming I became fascinated by the whole process of film-making and was inspired to create my own film, accepting Keith’s offer to help".


So what came next?


"I then began to think of ideas for a film. I love science fiction and time travel and I came up with the story for Archway 0173 having re-discovered our old broken Bakelite telephone which had been stored away. I imagined it connecting people through time and the story developed from there. I am very lucky that I have a very talented young actor for a son so it seemed obvious to create the role of Tom for him and it was such a lovely experience to work alongside him on set".


With David's friends also being actors, Pat felt it was a natural progressions to tap into their talent for the rest of the cast.


"I was delighted when Eleanor Worthington Cox, who is in CBBC’s Hetty Feather with David, agreed to play the role of Isabelle. We were very lucky that her other filming schedules fitted in with our shoot, I feel very honoured to have her in my first film. Our other young actress, Jess O’Brien is a student at PQA and David has worked with her previously on several short films. Many of the other actors in the film are from a local amateur dramatic group and for our crew we were able to enlist some of the other PQA students to help behind the camera as well as help from one of the other mums and my husband".


With this being Pat's foray into film, she said their were struggles but support came from a variety of close friends.


"It was a steep learning curve but Keith (Allott) was an excellent mentor and explained each stage of the film making process before I undertook them from the treatment through to the final draft of the script, shot lists, story boards, the actual filming process then into editing and creating a trailer. Through Keith I was introduced to Javier Blanco, a professional composer who then composed the music for the film. I have learned so much but I know there is still a huge amount still to learn. We filmed over 3 days and in all it took a year from the first ideas for a script to the film being completed".


Archway 0173 had its premiere at The Shortish Cinema, part of The Short Cinema film festival at the Phoenix cinema in Leicester and Pat couldn't be more delighted with the finished film, turning out exactly as she imagined it.


"I was so lucky to have such a fantastic mentor, cast and crew on my first film who all did an amazing job. I am looking forward to Archway’s next screening which is at 5 Lamps in Derby later this month and I have started to enter it into other film festivals all over the world".


Coming off the back of such successful feedback, Pat is now currently working on a draft script based on idea from her son which he is going to take forward and direct himself.


For a review of the film please continue reading after the jump.


Kira Comerford




Archway 0173 (2016) Dir. Pat Knight


Archway 0173 is a short film with a concept that I found to be very interesting. The idea of the two periods of time being linked by one telephone threw up a lot of questions for me, and made me sort of go, ‘Ah, now there’s a good idea for a short film!’.


The two main performances were partly the reason why I felt the idea worked as well as it did. Both David Knight and Eleanor Worthington-Cox did such a wonderful job of portraying their characters and the time they were growing up in. For example, it was very easy to tell that Worthington-Cox’s character, Isabelle, was from times gone by purely by the way she spoke, and I certainly feel that this was essential for the story to work and to ensure that audiences didn't become confused at any point.


One issue the film brought up that particularly fascinated me was the idea of changing history. Of course, in Archway 0173, the characters would not just have been interfering for the sake of it – it was presented here as a matter of life and death. It left me asking myself a few questions after watching, and I'm partly guessing that this was the impression writer and director Pat Knight was hoping the film would create.


All in all, I found Archway 0173 to be a thought-provoking short that was 20 minutes well spent.


Conceptually, I thought it was very good, and I feel as though there could be a future for some of the young actors who made appearances in the film. If anybody gets a chance to see the film at any upcoming local showcases, I would recommend seeing it at one.


Kira Comerford


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