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By midlandsmovies, Nov 26 2018 07:58AM

Midlands Spotlight – Irene’s Ghost

Midlands Movies Mike Sales finds out about new local film Irene’s Ghost made by filmmaker Iain Cunningham which covers a personal story about the search for a family member using animation and filmed footage.

Irene’s Ghost is a documentary which follows a son’s search to find out about the mother he never knew. The birth of his own child inspires the filmmaker to go on a journey to discover the truth about Irene, who passed away when he was just a child. Piecing together fragments of the past to make sense of the present he uncovers a long-held secret.

Directed by Iain Cunningham, the film is set around Nuneaton in Warwickshire and recently had a premiere at BFI London Film Festival. With plans to screen in cinemas next year and a local event in April 2019, Iain take centre stage doing the detective work to uncover his own mother’s story.

“I think that wanting to make this film is probably the reason I went into filmmaking in the first place”, says Ian. “The need to find out about Irene was always entwined with the desire to create something about her, to give her life a bit of poetry and give her a voice that she was in some ways denied in life”.

Irene died before Iain was old enough to form memories of her and after difficult decades where he was unable to broach the topic with his father, Iain encounters long-lost relatives and Irene’s best friend Lynn and gets to know his mother through the stories they tell.

From life in Nuneaton in the 1970s, factory work and living for nights at the Co-op Hall and holidays, the documentary pieces the puzzle of her life together, and slowly Irene’s personality comes to life.

Iain runs production company Forward Features and focuses on intimate and personal work. He decided to incorporate bursts of animation to illuminate memory and fantasy as he explores mental illness, grief and female friendship.

For more information on Irene’s Ghost check out the film’s official website and watch the trailer for the film below


By midlandsmovies, Apr 3 2018 12:01PM

Midlands Spotlight - Upcoming short film Scarecrow

Midlands Movies Award winner Lee Charlish of Korky Films is teaming up with Jam-AV to produce and release a live-action short film called Scarecrow in the summer of 2018.

The screenplay has been written by Warwickshire-based Lee himself who will also direct the film. Jam-AV’s Jason Langdell is the director of photography and he will work with Jamie Sergeant of Touchtype Films on camera.

Jason will also assume editing duties and the film will be overseen by producer Jenny McDonald who also works under the Jam-AV Media Production umbrella as well as the PQA (Pauline Quirke Academy) in Rugby.

Scarecrow follows a bickering couple, Thomas and Natalie, who are stranded on a deserted country lane because their car has run out of fuel. After deciding to try and find a garage they become lost and disorientated and eventually happen upon a creepy looking scarecrow.

Also on board the crew is musician Chris Pemberton who will provide the film’s musical score and incidental theme. Chris is an established musician who is currently on tour with James Blunt and has also worked with the band Budapest, as well as John Grant and Damien Dempsey. The sound for Scarecrow will be provided by Damien Trent.

The film itself is scheduled to shoot in Warwickshire in late May 2018. Locations secured include the picturesque Leasowe Farm in Radford Semele where most of the action will take place. Keeping it very much a Midlands production Scarecrow’s crew will consist of a mixture of experienced and young local talent.

The male lead will be played by Adrian Annis who has a wealth of acting experience gained in short and feature films, including Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows as well as a host of TV credits.

The female lead will be played by Georgina Mellor who will be making an acting return after successful turns in Coronation Street, Footballer’s Wives and Hollyoaks amongst other high-profile TV work. And finally, the eponymous Scarecrow itself will be played by Nathan Lapworth.

The filmmakers go on to explain, “The scarecrow has an ominous sign around its neck which reads ‘Do Not Touch’ and, although Thomas is nervous and cautious, Natalie becomes intrigued by its apparent mysticism and is prepared to ignore the stark warning with chilling results”.

With plans for a release early in the summer to tie in with festivals and the crew hope to submit to the Short Cinema film festival in Leicester for consideration.

As they head into the exciting start of pre-production, the filmmakers have created a teaser poster and you can follow their regular updates at their dedicated web page here - https://www.facebook.com/ScarecrowMovie2018

By midlandsmovies, Dec 5 2017 06:12PM

Random Acts and Rural Media - Part 3

In our third and final part we cover 4 more filmmakers who are part of the region’s Random Acts and Rural Media partnership. From all across the Midlands, please read below to find out more of the young talent the area has to offer.

For the previous blogs - Part 1 please click here and for Part 2 please click here.

Body Language (Nottinghamshire)

Michael Mante’s film shows a krump dancer performing amidst the ills, filth and degradation of his urban environment in a surreal art exploration of gentrification, classism and racism. Michael is an aspiring filmmaker, both directing films and writing screenplays with his creative ambition to use film to speak to audiences, ask them questions, and encourage viewers to ask themselves questions. Michael adds, “Visual literacy is the world's most poignant language and I try to use that to communicate the things I see in everyday life.”

Everyday Choreography (Shropshire)

Everyday Choreography is a charming short dance film by Caldonia Walton following Gerrard, an overworked 45-year old man on his way home from a tiring day at the office. He puts his headphones in to forget about his worries and finds himself amongst amusing interactions with two people who alter his outlook on life. Caldonia is a 23-year old dance performer and choreographer from Shropshire who creates dance work that links with theatre, text and film, using clear narratives about the world we live in realised through physical movement and a touch of comedy.

Yellow Wallpaper (Warwickshire)

Inspired by the short story ‘The Yellow Wallpaper’ by Charlotte Gilman(1892), this short film from Hayley Egan uses dance to portray the claustrophobic and cruel consequences of how ‘rest cure’ kept 19th century women compliant, which resulted in an increase in mental health problems and feelings of confinement and frustration. Through dance movement, our female protagonist will find solace in the yellow wallpaper, yet is driven to exhaustion by her frustrating predicament. Hayley Egan is young filmmaker/producer from Coventry now working in London.

Taking Up Space (Staffordshire)

Emily Mulenga’s animation covers the notion that time and space in the art world and academia are not often dedicated regularly to people of colour, most notably women. Emily grows to Godzilla proportions and takes over the city in this thoughtful short from this young talented visual artist from the West Midlands.

By midlandsmovies, Sep 14 2017 11:14AM

Flickerama - A film festival, that's an actual festival!

Flickerama is taking film festivals to a whole new level, bringing the vibe of a summer outdoor festival and making it all about movies. Think a mini-Glastonbury that's all about film. 

Regional film fans will be able to enjoy films on a large outdoor Arena Screen or in the comfort of a specially designed indoor marquee with three fantastic film events taking place over one weekend.

Over 15th, 16th & 17th September you can head to Umberslade Farm Park, just 30 minutes from Birmingham and be "transported to a film paradise".

With three unique events over the three days, there are indoor and outdoor screenings (with rain protection!), 16 classic films, two Labyrinth Masquerade Balls, Harry Potter After Party with Alex Baker (Magic Radio/Kerrang), a Quidditch Tournament and more!

There will also be the Ghostbusters car, a Kids Make & Take Craft Tent, Kids & Adult Cosplay (win a private cinema screening!), a Back To The Future Exhibition, Film Poster Sale, Conjurer's Kitchen, Kids outdoor games.

And that's not all! Other attractions are the Big Grey circus performer, Film themed Mini-Golf, Forza 6 Hotlap Tournament, Minecraft Creative competition. Phew!


The organiser's claim there is "something for everyone" and boy are they right!

For further info please click here http://flickerama.co.uk and check the film screening listings below:


15th September - DOORS OPEN 7PM

7.30pm Themed cocktail reception

8.30pm Labyrinth (U)

10.30pm Labyrinth Masquerade Ball


Saturday 16th September - DOORS OPEN 11.30AM


12.15pm Guardians Of The Galaxy(12A)

2.45pm Edward Scissorhands (12A) 100 mins

5.15pm Ghostbusters (12A) 103 mins

8pm Harry Potter & The Philosopher's Stone (PG) 150 mins


12.30 Adam West Tribute - Batman: The Movie 1966 (U) 103 mins

3pm Amaryllis (15) TBC mins

5:30pm Deadpool (15) 104 mins

7:15pm Adult cosplay competition

8:30pm The Room (18) 99 mins


Sunday 17th September - DOORS OPEN 11.30AM


12.30pm Safety Last (U) 76 mins

2pm Frozen singalong (PG) 108 mins

4.15pm Kids cosplay competition

4.45pm The Goonies (12A) 113 mins

7pm Back to the Future (PG) 115 mins


12.45pm The Lego Batman Movie (1h 45m)

3pm Matilda (PG) 94 mins

5pm Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory (U) 96 mins

7.30pm Labyrinth (U) 98 mins

By midlandsmovies, Dec 2 2016 05:05PM

Frettin’ (2016)

Directed by Lee Price

Beginning with well composed shots of rural Midlands combined alongside a rustic acoustic soundtrack, Frettin’ is the new feature from regional filmmaker Lee Price.

Price tells the tale of a man (Jake, played well by the quirky Richard Shields) who rejects the apparent riches of urban society for something more fulfilling as a busker, living a care-free life of creativity and freedom. Conversely, trapped in his money making world of jingles and sales pitches, advertising executive Tim (a first-rate dour performance by Craig Spencer) hits rock bottom and an unlikely friendship emerges between them.

With comedy mixed with pathos, Price uses clever edits to highlight their contrary standards of living with Tim’s stuffy corporate briefcase paralleling Jake’s guitar case – both of which encompass their lives at that point.

After discouraging Tim from an apparent suicide the two bond over food (“How will sir take his beans?”), accommodation (a small two-berth tent) and the great wilderness outside. Jake’s day-to-day free existence highlights the madness of the working world, whilst Tim’s coherent and rational persona highlighting the folly of Jake’s.

The film takes you on a journey through the countryside as Jake and Tim develop a believable father-son relationship, with Jake being equal part philosopher and (drunk) poet and Tim playing the straight role, asking questions as to why and how they’ve ended up in this predicament.

With room for improvement on some of the night-time shots which seem a little under-lit and therefore difficult to follow, the rest of the film beautifully captures the corn fields, brooks and hedgerows of the Warwickshire countryside. As they venture back to town centres, the camera work becomes less exciting but reflects the humdrum anonymous lives of those in the bustling high streets and pubs.

A question to ask is whether there is enough drama here in their travels to justify a 2-hour runtime? This reviewer thinks not quite. The protagonists are almost solely the only characters you follow and it’s a bit arduous to sit through a barrage of head-to-head dialogue scenes. I also wonder if the music was written for the film or the film around pre-existing tracks. I could be wrong but possibly the latter at sometimes as the narrative structure was a little forced.

The film had me questioning some of the morals of the two men also. What is presented as cheeky travel banter can sometime come across as cruel as they steal, lie and expect things of life I felt they failed to deserve. This portrayed romanticism clashing with the realist in me. However, later on, some melancholic despair and violence demonstrated a few sad realities as their old and new lives collided and provided heightened drama at the film’s conclusion which re-engaged me to their plight.

That said, these are brief and not too off-putting and the acting is very natural, especially Richard Shields as Jake who holds the film together with a likeable performance and also a fantastic and naturalistic cameo from Catherina Nellany as an eccentric bag lady they pick up in the third act. The humorous songs (a football ditty, “Balls, balls, balls, They’re in it for the balls”) were jaunty and cheerful and had a dash of dreamy wish fulfilment thrown in too which was enjoyable. Although avoid if you don’t like acoustic music as the film is filled to the brim with it.

With funny moments, from an ‘audition’ in a shop shower showroom to the young girl’s pink tent they end up sharing, to darker scenes of regret and painful pasts, the film moves smoothly between these differing tones without being jarring.

Frettin’ is therefore a film which wears its world-warming heart on its sleeve with a fond devotion for all things pastoral and trouble-free. Although a shorter running length would help convey its simple tale of straightforwardness better, Frettin is still a great example of a film with a strong central idea. It’s then delivered with clear-cut direction and is both effortless and easy to watch. An unpretentious pleasure.


Midlands Movies Mike

By midlandsmovies, Oct 15 2016 12:40PM

Midlands Movies finds out about Lee Price, a regional filmmaker who is leaping from the local to the international with a whole host of new projects.

Midlands writer-director Lee Price is an old hand at making films in the region. Since 2011 Lee has focused on making full length films with his first foray into features being Neville Rumble, about a character with Asperger's Syndrome struggling to cope with rejection.

Neville is played by Ian Hencher who is an obsessive man who meets Lucy (Alex Lochrie) at a “people skills” training course. He soon becomes infatuated with her but becomes depressed when she leaves town.

The story continues when three years later, a chance meeting sees Neville running back into Lucy. However, upset about her new fiancé (played by Gavin Fowler) Neville takes drastic and dark steps that see Lucy fear for her life.

Lee says the film contains “relatable angsty and awkward characters that teen youths will be interested in” whilst the film represents how shifts in power can lead to things going badly wrong for those involved. The interpersonal relationships are intentionally brought to the forefront of the story and the script has been co-written and co-directed by Price and Richard Miller to cover personal themes and a focus on mental health issues.

Currently available in the USA on video-on-demand (VOD), Lee is happy with the film’s success and hopes to bring that learning to his second feature called Frettin’. Currently in post-prodcution, Frettin’ has been filming in Hinckley (Leicestershire) and Nuneaton (Warwickshire) over the past two years. “If I was to pitch the film it would be as a British Midnight Cowboy, in the spirit of Bill Forsyth”, explains Lee.

With the trailer soon to be released, the Homebird Films production tells the story of Jake who lives off-grid, down by the cut and “busking for his bread”. Lee goes on to divulge that the character “keeps his head down, living life day-to-day, and is almost a ghost amongst the living”.

“But then Jake meets Tim, an executive in a moment of crisis and decides to take the younger man under his wing”, continues Lee, before adding that the film is “a buddy road movie. Probably the shortest distance travelled in any road movie, anywhere”.

Midlands Movies' readers can watch Neville Rumble’s trailer on the YouTube video above and find more about Price’s second film Frettin’ over on Facebook here https://www.facebook.com/FrettintheFilm

Midlands Movies Mike

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