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By midlandsmovies, Oct 8 2019 11:05AM



Midlands Spotlight – STAY INSIDE 2: VINCENT’S REVENGE


A new action drama film is due for release in 2019 from local filmmaker Joshua Griffiths. We find out about this exciting new flick from the West Midlands.


Joshua Griffiths is an actor and teacher and began his film production company JJR Films around 5 years ago in the Midlands region.


Ever since, the company have created films of different lengths and genres and was set up to give him and his cast and crew friends a chance to showcase their talents including acting, writing and producing their own films.


Wolverhampton-based Joshua is taking on the roles of actor, writer and director himself for the film and the young movie-maker has already starred in the Midlands-made World War 1 short The Long Way Home. (Click here for Midlands Movies link)


Influenced by horror and action, Joshua’s latest film is a sequel which picks up the story of best friends Jason and Dean whose friendship was tested when someone from their past, Vincent, once paid them a visit.


After an incident saw Vincent disappear from their lives the two tried to hide from their past but this new film asks whether Vincent could be back for revenge. The film also stars Jordan Shaw and Ryan Corry.



Previous JJR Films have also included horror/thrillers “Tetanus” and “Escape” whilst the original “Stay Inside” was an action feature from a few years back.


And as well as appearing in The Long Way Home, Joshua has acted as an extra in music videos and Yesterday – the recent Danny Boyle/Richard Curtis Beatles-inspired film.


With the film due for completion soon and a host of festivals ready to be submitted to via Film Freeway, check out Stay Inside 2 Vincents Revenge when it is released soon.


Follow Josh and the future of this project on his social media links below


Twitter: https://twitter.com/JoshJoshieg98

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/joshuagriffiths21




By midlandsmovies, Feb 13 2018 10:00AM

Jay Bird (2018) dir. A-Jay Hackett


From Raven Pictures comes Jay Bird, a short film about a brash teenager who in the midst of an emotional crisis finds an unlikely ally in the form of a mischievous young girl. Together they seek to help each other overcome their problems that have been weighing them down.


Written and Directed by A-Jay Hackett, Jay Bird opens with beautiful images from Wolverhampton’s West Park where the film is shot on-location. Draped in gorgeous black and white colour, the opening scenes are notably accompanied by a stirring score by young composer Joseph Purdue.


Hackett introduces the audience to Jay (Braidley Wilson) a teenager clearly angry at himself and his surroundings. We see him struggling to compose himself as he walks through the park, aimlessly walking around, throwing stones in the pond out of frustration. The audience is informed Jay has been accused of burning down the family business, a result of another one of his violent outbursts.


Through flashbacks and a non-linear narrative, we get a glimpse inside Jays mind, we see he has a verbally abusive Father (Dan Sheppard) who constantly berates him for acting out and causing trouble.


Hackett does a masterful job as a filmmaker here as she manages in only a few short minutes to create a complex relationship between Father and Son. Even though neither share any scenes together we can see via flashbacks how they’re relationship has developed. Jay asks his Father to stop drinking, “I drink because of you” he retorts. What could have easily been a simple exchange turns into something more meaningful, we get a sight of a Father who wants the best for his son but gets his approach woefully wrong, resulting in a drinking problem to numb the pain.


The film then introduces Alice (Amelie Bate) a confident young girl who claims she isn’t lost but is by herself in the park. She clings onto Jay for company and concerned for her welfare he accompanies her around the park. Her story is like a lightning bolt to Jay which gives him the power to assess his situation, and take his own advice.


Jay Bird is a simple story with complex characters and that’s where the films talent lies. Hackett writes and creates his characters with care, showing each character’s flaws alongside their strengths. With a great score, rich characters and a unique look, Jay Bird is worth checking out.



Guy Russell


https://twitter.com/BudGuyer


By midlandsmovies, Aug 6 2017 06:50PM



Bantock House Outdoor Cinema: La La Land


Open air cinemas are all the rage right now. Aside from those with the “pick a carpark and pack it out” approach, they provide the opportunity to ditch the multiplexes and experience something unique. La La Land at Wolverhampton’s Bantock House perfectly epitomised such an experience.


July the 29th saw over 200 film fans fill the Rose Garden, making for an intimate setting which even the rain couldn’t, ahem, dampen the spirits of. Those eager to see the musical were first serenaded all the way back to Hollywood’s golden era by the retro harmony stylings of The Miss Fortunes, it goes without saying that already, this was infinitely more immersive than 30 minutes of Audi and Apple adverts.


Black Country Touring and Films in a Flash made sure the logistics and technical aspects ran without a hitch (be sure to check out their page for what they’ve got lined up next). Regardless of the inclement weather and early evening lighting difficulties that the British Summertime offers, the film looked and sounded every bit like an Oscar winner.


The good news is that this is just the beginning for Bantock House’s Outdoor Cinema. Event organisers Jeremy Brown and Andrew Atkinson had this to say about how it went and what the West Midlands can expect next:


Midlands Movies: “So, how did you feel the inaugural event went?”

Andrew Atkinson: “I personally feel it was a great success, if you take out the weather factor. But we held an exit poll as people left, and it proved that everyone enjoyed themselves.”

Jeremy Brown: “We had a very, very good turnout…if you put the right product in front of people, they will come out, despite it being an experiment (the first time) and despite of the weather. I think we had a good mix in the audience: it was nice to some families, some diversity. The other thing was, the venue does work very well for these types of events: it’s got a friendly sort of intimacy and it does feels a bit special, especially for a film like La La Land. To be able to stage it in a landscaped garden space in a country house adds value to the whole event experience.”


MM: “There’s some exclusivity there isn’t there. Like you’re part of a club. Who else was involved in the staging?”

“Black Country Touring were very helpful and identified Films in a Flash as potential providers who were relatively local and felt a good match. They did a great job with the ancillary lighting and the PA system for the band. They seemed keen to add value and work in partnership rather than treat it as a commercial event.”


MM: “Speaking of the band, Miss Fortunes was really a nice warm-up act.”

JB: “We felt if people were going to come out, bring a picnic and make an evening of it, it would be fun to have something extra which would feel sympathetic to the film. A bit of harmony singing and period music felt right and added to the celebratory feel.”


MM: “Where do you think the enthusiasm for open air cinema as an alternative to the multiplexes comes from?”

Andrew Atkinson: “Well, you were there. It started to rain as soon as the titles came up and stopped as soon as the end came up and it hasn’t rained since! (Laughs). But had it been a good evening I think people would have been dancing in the aisles.”

JB: “The multiplex issue is a tricky one and we’re fortunate to have the Lighthouse in Wolverhampton. It’s interesting to see the clientele that regularly attend and they’re the kind of people we’re trying to attract. Multiplexes haven’t done themselves any favours. The prices have increased…the levels of hygiene, cleanliness, noise. Just the cinema going experience can be a bit chequered. To have an alternative to that is a really positive one. Thinking about the kind of films that would work in the future, we’d be exploring that slightly more upmarket experience. There are some very commercial organisations that are doing Top Gun, Dirty Dancing and Grease singalongs. I think a lot of that is about how many people you can cram into a space and how many beers you can sell. We’d rather have a more exclusive feel but still have people come along and enjoy them.”


MM: “With going more upmarket then, what ideas have you got for future screenings?”

AA: “To be quite honest, the dust hasn’t settled from the first one and we’re still in the post-mortem stages. All we can say with confidence is yes, there will be another one, perhaps in the late summer. Perhaps two dates pencilled in for 2018, if not more.”

JB: “In terms of the films and grown up cinema, perhaps more feel good than Dunkirk, perhaps (with La La Land) it would have been appropriate after the awards ceremony if we put Moonlight on by accident (laughs). That would be the right sort of film again. I think a film like Baby Driver could attract a real interest, again, it’s got a fantastic score and a real sense of fun…maybe a film like Pride, which has got a feel good resonance and would work in that context. We’re keeping an eye out for some of those really high quality, thought provoking films…rather than the shoot ‘em up, popcorn material. One of the nice things about working with the community…is that we can run a straw poll: put a list together, pick the ones you’d like to see and get buy in as well”.

AA: “It’s always been my mantra that if we’re going to do anything, then we’re going to do it well. We’re providing a quality product…and we’ll bring the arts to the area and to a wider Wolverhampton audience.”



MM: “You mentioned introducing people to silent cinema too.”

JB: “We’re trying that with Funny Things, a pilot comedy festival in Wolverhampton in October. We’re toying with the idea of a live piano accompaniment to a Harold Lloyd movie which we could stage in the tractor shed which holds 70 people and could be an intimate and fun experience. We certainly enjoyed Buster Keaton’s The General when Flatpack put that on at the Brownhills Community Centre last summer.”


MM: “So finally, how can people get involved and support you?”

JB: “Finchfield and Castlecroft Community Association has its own website (Link - http://www.finchfieldandcastlecroft.com/ ) and we’re lucky to work with the council’s events team at the Wolverhampton Art Gallery so we’re keen to hear from people through those networks. Our funding comes from Creative Black Country; they’re very keen to work with any voluntary sector organisation who may wish to engage in quality art activity.”


MM: “Thanks for your time, both.”


You can keep up with the Bantock House Outdoor Cinema events through the sites above and of course, through Midlands Movies.


Robb Sheppard

https://twitter.com/RedBezzle



By midlandsmovies, Aug 6 2017 07:58AM


CONSENT (2017) Dir. Alex Hackett


Raven Pictures


A seemingly happy couple on a couch drinking tea and chatting away opens this new 11-minute short from Raven Pictures. Directed by Alex Hackett, the film tackles the difficult subject of sexual consent but is done in a way that is powerful yet sensitive to the subject matter.


From the jumping off point, the audience is thrown straight into the aftermath of a liaison as the woman from the intro states to the man she feels she has been raped. His response to try to understand may throw the viewer off guard but the director juxtaposes different shots and dialogue to portray the complexities of the issues.


Actors Catherine Chalk and Matthew Harrison-James bring a humanity to their roles, showing realistic performances as the two people involved in a sensitive discussion.


The focus on a lack of communication is at the forefront and the filmmaker mixes timelines to intercut the lead-up to the situation. These earlier scenes are filmed in a soft blue hue which further distances the short from a stereotypical aggressive standpoint. “Did I scare you?” he asks as she explains that it wasn’t a physical threat but an emotional one.


The expectation of raised voices is disposed in favour of a more mature conversation and it’s to the film’s credit that it takes a responsible tone that uses sensible discourse that can educate as well as be dramatic.


A few technical issues (one of a colour grading jump, a muffled sound edit and the general low quality of the image) didn’t distract from the topics revealed but a few tweaks here and there would have helped the film have a more professional appearance.


That said, Consent could have easily become a preachy short yet its subtlety, along with two strong lead performances, help it become a vivid reflection of the decision-making process. A great final shot into the camera summaries the film’s message and although the director mostly avoids veering towards a sermon, that doesn’t make its moral position any less right. In the end, Consent is a straight-to-the-point local drama that covers weighty themes and is as informative as it is insightful.


Midlands Movies Mike

By midlandsmovies, May 4 2017 11:20AM



Tony Gibbons is an established actor hailing from our very own region with a string of prominent roles in Midlands films and beyond. With award-winning Checking In and the forthcoming House of Screaming Death already in the bag, Tony is now developing his career in America. In this new interview, Midlands Movies Mike speaks to the actor about his influences, method and forthcoming projects.


Midlands Movies: Hi Tony. How are things in the Midlands for you right now?

Tony Gibbons: Great thanks Mike!


MM: I know you’ve been out in Los Angeles recently so are you from the region at all?

TG: Yes...I'm born and bred in Wolverhampton! But now spend a lot of my time in Los Angeles working on projects there.


MM: That must have been quite the change from Wolverhampton?! Which do you prefer, Hollywood or The Midlands?

TG: You could say that! I actually love both. Obviously Wolves is my home but I lived and worked in Manchester and London, too, before making the move to LA...and I've started to make a home out in the sunshine, too.


MM: And what about the work? How does working in Hollywood compare to working in the Midlands?

TG: Right now most of my work is in the US, and I feel really lucky to be working on bigger and bigger projects and getting to work alongside amazing acting talent and film makers, but I love working back home to work when I can, too. We have so much talent in the Midlands! I think some of the best film makers in Europe are from the Midlands. I've been fortunate to work with Dave Hastings on 'Checking In' and 'The House of Screaming Death', and that whole team is a credit to our area and the industry, and I think Liam Banks is one of the most exciting young film makers out there today – and I got to work with him, too, on 'The Copy-Writer'! I'm hoping to work with them both again soon.


MM: Do you (or the projects you choose) specialise in any genres?

TG: I love working on all types of projects and never planned to work in just one genre, but if you look at my recent credits it certainly looks like I specialise in horror and sci-fi! I did the US TV show 'My Haunted House', then 'House of Screaming Death' with the wonderful Dave Hastings back here in the Midlands, and 'Rogue Warrior: Robot Fighter', a sci-fi action epic that's about to be released in the US, and another US feature I just booked the lead in is very sci-fi, too!


MM: Any particular faves though?

TG: I have to say I have been enjoying the action/horror/sci-fi stuff – it’s a lot of fun to shoot! - but I also enjoy working in other genres, and love anything with true to life characters and emotion, like 'Checking In', which was very much a character driven drama.


MM: Spreading yourself across a wide range of projects – and geographical locations – you must have come up against different challenges. What has been the most difficult one you have overcome?

TG: Actually, for me it was probably “coming out” as an actor. I was a sports kid, and wanted to be a footballer most of my life, and then went to University to do a Law degree. So when I told my parents – half way through my degree – that “I think I want to take acting classes”, it was definitely a shock! I had never shown any interest in drama at school, but I felt this pull towards acting that I couldn't really explain. Once I started training, and working, I never looked back, so I'd say to young actors to follow their hearts and put the work in. Oh, and be patient!



MM: How do you like to work with directors? Any good (or bad) experiences?

TG: I must have been very lucky because most of my experiences have been overwhelmingly positive. I've heard some horror stories from other sets, but I've never had a problem with a director. When I was starting out I used to always want more direction. Like, they wouldn't give me any so I didn't know if what I was doing was good or not, but now I love working with those types of directors. If they've cast you, it’s because they like what you do, so it becomes much more collaborative, letting you do your thing as an actor and bring your own contributions to the table. That's what I've experienced on all my most successful projects, like 'Checking In', 'The Cup of Wrath', and 'Rogue Warrior'. There's probably good reason why these directors are award winning!


MM: Out of your many, many, film and stage projects, what has been your greatest success?

TG: Playing Macbeth on stage, early in my career is something I don't think will ever stop being a highlight for me. It was a wonderful experience and something that has stayed with me throughout my career. Over the past couple of years I have been so lucky have worked on projects that have had massive success. Winning Best British Film at the London Film Awards with (the Midlands made) 'Checking In' was incredible, and being invited to attend the Cannes Film Festival with 'The Cup of Wrath' is the sort of thing every actor dreams about. I feel extremely fortunate to be able to do something I love as a career, and honestly, every project I work on feels like the next achievement.


MM: And besides acting, what else have you been up to?

TG: I'm actually really excited because I was recently asked by a couple of industry publications to write 'expert advice' columns. My first article was just published on Backstage, and I'm going to be writing some more, both for Backstage and a couple of other trade outlets. I'm also really excited to be part of the Birmingham Film Festival. I'm working with them as a judge, and get to watch lots of great movies in doing so!


MM: And looking over the horizon, what’s in Tony’s future plans?

TG: Work, work, work! I just recently booked an amazing role in a movie that I'll be shooting this Summer in the US, which I can't wait to start work on. I have a few other US projects lined up after that, too, but also hope to pop back home some time to work on something else in the Midlands!


MM: That sounds perfect to me and the region and its talent would more than welcome you back with open arms. All the best for the future.

TG: Thanks, it’s been great.


Check out further information on Tony and his latest projects by clicking and following on the links below:


http://www.imdb.com/name/nm2971362


http://www.allstarsactors.tv/listing/tony-gibbons/


https://twitter.com/tonygibbons5?lang=en

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