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By midlandsmovies, Oct 18 2019 11:53AM



The Devils Familiar


Directed by Kieran 'Ran' Edwards


2019


From Severed Head Entertainment comes The Devil Familiar, a new horror film within the found footage sub genre. Shot on location around Worcestershire, West Midlands, the film follows two filmmakers who want to explore a conspiracy theory that a wild beast has been mauling people in the woods and not the woman who has been convicted of the crimes.


The film starts in a Police C.I.D. meeting room, with a senior officer briefing others about a camcorder that has been found locally in a bad condition. However the tape inside has miraculously been salvaged which he is about to play them. And he warns them that in his 30 years of active duty he hasn't seen anything this brutal and shocking.


Whilst it is evidently clear from the first minute that this film has been made on practically no budget it doesn't deter the director from chilling his audience early doors.


As the discovered tape starts rolling we are quickly introduced to two university students, Elliott (Uriel Davies) and Jake (Kieran Edwards) who are in their final year of studying film and video production. They have been tasked with a final film for their degree which they have chosen to be a documentary about the 2006 Ribbesford Woods Murders, a case in which a man was brutally killed and others mysteriously vanish.


A woman, Sally Edwards, was charged and later convicted of murder - a conviction she denies whilst serving her sentence in a psychiatric hospital for the criminally insane. Elliott and Jake believe this account to not be true and embark on trying to find fresh evidence for their film. What happened in 2006? Is the local legend of a wild beast to blame or was Sally Edwards a stone cold killer?


In similar fashion to probably the most famous found footage horror film The Blair Witch Project, the film follows the formula of having our protagonists interviewing experts of the case, people who knew the victim and suspect and listening to the rantings of the locals. I have seen some efforts of the found-footage sub genre to be stodgy and uninteresting however to keep these interviews and the first half of the film fresh and alert, Edwards employs the use of switching between colour and black & white in shots, a subtle but necessary element in keeping the audience engaged.


After a secure visit with the convicted Sally Edwards goes haywire, this spurs the two students to double their efforts. They persuade Logan (David Clarke) a zoologist, and Rex (Ross Mooney) the brother of one of the victims to join them in travelling through Ribbesford Woods, to finally see if there is a mythical creature once and for all.


Shot on location throughout Worcestershire, the film enjoys being able to shoot at length in places like Kidderminster Hospital and West Midlands Safari Park. A welcome sight for such a low budget feature as it gives the viewer a real belief in the world that director Kieran Edwards has created.


The Devils Familiar will draw obvious comparisons to the previously mentioned The Blair Witch Project, one being the similarities between plot and characters and the second the way sound is used to evoke terror. Whilst at times the film does appear to be a little too familiar, it definitely feels like more of a love letter than a lazy remake.


Ultimately I think this would of worked better as a short, at a run time of 56 minutes the film becomes a victim of its own aspirations as there was not enough original content embedded in the film to justify its length. However for a zero budget feature this will certainly entertain avid fans of the found footage sub-genre, as you can clearly see the passion from the filmmakers spread across every shot.


Guy Russell

Twitter @BudGUyer


By midlandsmovies, Sep 13 2019 10:21AM



Midlands Spotlight - All That You Love Will Be Carried Away


The premiere of “All That You Love Will Be Carried Away”, which is produced by Harms Way Studios, will be on Sunday 22nd September at the Odeon Worcester.


The film stars Jack Frank, Gabriella Leonardi, Christian Vaccaro, Leona Clarke, Christian Dapp, Carys Jones, Zoe Doughty and James Kay in the lead roles. Writer/Director Hendrik Harms adapted the popular Stephen King story in a unique way with pumping synth, neon hues and noir tones. And the film has a blistering score by Elliot Hardman and visuals from cinematographer Elliot Wallis.




Based on the short story by Stephen King. All That You Love Will Be Carried Away tells the story of Alfie Zimmer, a travelling salesman, who collects interesting graffiti. Every time he finds a new piece he writes it in his book. These scribblings are his “friends”. However, there are darker truths hidden in these words, and it will take all of Alfie’s strength to face what he’s been running from and keep his head above water as his life collapses around him.


Shot predominantly in Worcester at the Whitehouse Hotel and in Birmingham at the bar Subside, this is a film that is all about keeping it local.




Witer-director Hendrik Harms explains, “When making this film we were overwhelmed with the support from the community. We had catering provided by Ma Bakers, Boston Tea Party, Waitrose and Tesco, as well as some delicious home cooked meals. The Whitehouse Hotel could not have been more accommodating too. It really showed us how much Worcester has to offer for filmmakers and why it was so important to screen our premiere here in the city centre".


"This project is the culmination of so much generosity and passion from so many people that I can’t wait for them to see it on the big screen", adds Hendrik.



Director Hendrik Harms
Director Hendrik Harms

The film is part of Stephen King’s Dollar Baby scheme, which gives filmmakers the rights to adapt one of his short stories for just a single dollar. When it’s completed a DVD of the film will be sent to him, prior to its international tour of film festivals.


“We actually shot the film in 5 days, which is a massive undertaking for the script that we had, but thanks to every single person in the cast and crew being on top form, everything was incredibly smooth. It was an electric experience.”


For more information please check out the film's official pages below:


www.facebook.com/harmswaystudios

www.instagram.com/harmswaystudios

www.harmswaystudios.com



By midlandsmovies, Sep 12 2019 12:35PM




Midlands Spotlight - Day of the Stranger


Whilst his other movie The Pocket Film of Superstitions is in full swing, local filmmaker Tom Lee Rutter is closing the book on another film that has had a more complicated journey.


And after a near-6 year battle, this highly unique and ambitious Midlands movie is finally all set to attract a cult crowd...


Billed as the only British Guerilla Acid Western ever made, new film Day of the Stranger was full of filming obstacles and hardships. With a traumatic behind the scenes story as dramatic as the movie itself, the film finally looks set to be unleashed upon the world.


In true guerilla fashion, filmmaker Tom Lee Rutter and his crew took to the sand-stoned countryside of Worcestershire to achieve the unthinkable - a West Midlands psychedelic, horror Western.


True to form, what started as a group of enthusiastic individuals making a film turned into an ordeal which spanned nearly 6 years of obstacles to get the film finished.


''Several times it nearly never happened, I was ready to bury it", says Tom.


"Everything you can imagine that went wrong went wrong - from erratic behaviour of certain individuals, constant re-shoots and re-casting to hard-drives dying on me. We had it all. Your classic underground film-making horror story.'' explains the director.


With the help of the enthusiasm of individuals and the recent involvement of new talent, new life has been breathed into the film and seen it to the finish line. 'It's a miracle we have a film at all, but such is the journey on the front-line of underground film.''


Now a trailer has been released along with an official poster. The film is a throwback homage to the sparse run of the acid-western sub-genre which included films such as Monte Hellman's The Shooting (1966), Alejandro Jodorowsky's El Topo (1970) and Robert Downey's Greaser's Palace (1972).


Aiming for an early 2020 world premiere and starring a wealth of talent including Gary Baxter (Beyond Fury), Richard Rowbotham (White Goods) and a special appearance by Gary Shail (Quadrophenia, Metal Mickey) Day of the Stranger looks set to offer something different to the world of cult and horror indie cinema.





By midlandsmovies, Sep 11 2019 09:41AM



Midlands Spotlight - Beginners Youth Film Academy


The Beginners Youth Film Academy (BYFA) is a new after-school Academy that focuses on both acting and filmmaking that has been recently launched by Midlands-based Country Star Productions.


Run by Sharni Tapako-Brown and Gary Rogers, the BYFA is moving to a weekly academy running initially from Haybridge High School in Hagley, Worcestershire with a view of expanding to other areas.


Company founder Gary Roger’s early working career started in electronic engineering and software design where he helped develop a technical background which would prove very useful in later years.



After this, Gary became a qualified teacher of PGCE status spending around 10 years teaching ICT, DT and Media whilst developing his filmmaking career. And as he got more involved in indie filmmaking the demand also grew to a point that it became his full-time career, starting his own company Pixel Perfection Media.


Since then, a new production company was started with Sharni Tapako-Brown called Country Star Productions with the aim of producing high quality films, some of which have gone on to be multi award winning films and include a wide variety of projects such as music videos and corporate and commercial work.


From working in the industry professionally and drawing on her teaching experience in schools and drama Academies, Sharni Tapako-Brown wanted to expand and share her knowledge too. "Drama and film helped me to express myself, giving me the confidence to succeed, and so I want to implement that to all students I teach".



Sharni has now expanded her profile by becoming a producer and writer for Country Star Productions alongside Gary Rogers. As a woman in film, she believes that there is no limit of what you can learn from others, and thus no limit of what you can achieve for yourself.


Their school focuses on not only acting and live performance, but also acting for camera, film and TV as well as how to use top end camera, lighting and sound equipment. The BYFA also have ties with known actors such as Michael McKell who is their official patron, stunt coordinators, casting agencies all of which gets you closer to the industry you are striving to be part of.


So the end outcome of the year will be the students’ involvement in film development which will contribute towards receiving a professional looking portfolio, consisting of showreels, films to keep, IMDB credits, film festivals and much more.


Finally, the academy offers Trinity Arts awards as part of the course, which are industry-recognised qualifications; giving students UCAS points towards further education. BYFA is not only qualified to deliver the award but are also a registered Arts Award Centre.


To join and find out more information head to their official website: www.byfacademy.co.uk


By midlandsmovies, Jan 1 2019 11:44AM



ROSE


Directed by Edwin Miles


This new documentary comes from Edwin Miles, a local filmmaker from Bewdley in Worcestershire. Having recently completed his MA Dissertation project at the University of Bristol, Rose is a slice-of-life film that focuses on an important family member and her recently passed birthday.


The lady in question is the filmmaker’s own Grandma, Rose, who has just celebrated her 93rd birthday and we are introduced to various aspects of her regular life.


The film explores issues of age and ageing and in its 15-minute runtime the director uses an unobtrusive style which hovers around Rose as she goes about her daily business as another annual milestone is reached.


From speaking to the postman to changing the sheets on a bed, Rose is photographed with a fly-on-the-wall camera aesthetic. Stoic and yet vulnerable owing to her advancing years, Rose’s quiet dignity comes across in every frame and general everyday conversations are interspersed with some polaroid still photographs as well as home-movie footage.


An interesting observation of one person’s personal life, the film would have benefited from some interviews, intertitles or voiceover to give some context. Who is Rose? Who are these relationships and family members? These questions are not answered, which may be intentional, but has the unfortunate result of feeling like watching someone’s un-edited home movie footage - which subsequently came across a little flat.


More of a mood piece than a full-on documentary, the film feels unfinished at times and could do with more editing and structure. However, having said that, “Rose” gives a unique glimpse into a suburban life well-lived, shows Rose being supported by family members and ends up being both a respectful and realistic portrait of a loving lady.


Michael Sales


Find out more information about ROSE at IMDB here.



By midlandsmovies, Dec 3 2018 10:22AM



Midlands Spotlight - Off Grid release new trailer to coincide with crowdfunding campaign


Off Grid is the upcoming production from Dark Matter Films and Bewdley-based Director Carl Timms who shot the short film on location in Worcestershire earlier this summer with a completion date pencilled in for early 2019.


The crowdfunding campaign will raise money for the film’s special effects and final post-production for this post-apocalyptic, supernatural thriller which boasts a stellar cast including James Cosmo, MBE (Game of Thrones, Braveheart, The Outlaw King) as force of nature John Tanner; Alison Steadman (Pride and Prejudice, Gavin & Stacey) as his frail wife, Grace and Marc Baylis (Redcon-1, Coronation Street) as the enigmatic Stranger


Rising British horror actress Kate Davies-Speak (Horizon, Dead Air) as Cailtin Rourke is also involved and the trailer, which can be viewed above, offers a glimpse of the other-worldly threat, ‘The Shining Ones’, who are plaguing humanity.



Off Grid is directed by Carl Timms (click here to read our review of his earlier Midlands film STILL) and written by Mark Brendan through their production company Dark Matter Films and was shot over the summer of 2018. It tells the story of elderly couple, John and Grace Tanner, who have fled deep into the forest following an apocalyptic event. There John fights to protect his frail wife, and his own sanity, from a supernatural threat. The arrival of another survivor forces John to assess if he is an ally or a threat, leading to revelations that could shatter the sanctuary he has built for them.


Bewdley-based director Carl Timms says, "We are delighted with how the filming turned out. We feel honoured to have worked with such a talented cast who brought these characters to life exactly as we hoped. Off Grid is a hard-hitting, intense drama that tells an ambitious, character-driven story in just 20min. To make it work we needed actors with real gravitas and they delivered beyond our hopes. But credit must also go to our amazing crew who all worked so hard to make this the best it could be".




The Indiegogo campaign with a target of £5,000 for Off Grid launched 25th November and can be found by clicking here. All funds raised are being put into post-production of the film, including CGI effects work, grading, sound design and final mastering.


The ‘perks’ on offer include an Associate / Executive Producer credit including tickets to a premiere screening, sponsorship opportunities for local businesses, digital and DVD copies of the finished film, limited edition artwork and behind the scenes photography, and a thank you in the credits for making the film happen. If the campaign is a success, Dark Matter Films are planning an early 2019 completion date and high-end festival run.


Keep up to date at https://www.darkmatterfilms.co.uk


Photos courtesy of Gary Moore, strongarmphotography


By midlandsmovies, Sep 26 2017 03:47PM



Midlands Spotlight - New drama short from Chilli Rose Productions


Midlands Movies finds out about the latest short film from Chilli Rose Production who are soon to launch their new drama “Who’s There”.


Shot entirely in Kidderminster and directed by local talent Fernando Antonio Maffei, Chilli Rose Productions are launching their film with an official screening event night in just a few months time.


The official screening will take place at Kidderminster Town Hall on 7th December at 7.30pm with a £2 entry fee and with DVDs of the film itself available after the show.


Who’s There stars Antonio Magro (Blood Orange, The Alienist), Amy Shepherd (WPC 56)

Greg Hobbs (The Truth), Grace Valloriani (Harry Brown), and Sophie Canare (ARTICHOKE)


Chilli Rose Productions are a local film production company based in Worcestershire UK and, on Facebook, Fernando had plenty to say about the support he’s received about the film so far on.


“I'm so proud of what we have achieved with ‘Who's There’. My cast and crew all worked very hard to achieve something so stylish and we shot the film using the RED EPIC camera”.


Fernando adds, “There is so much talent around here, I believe there are some great filmmakers around Kidderminster and the Worcestershire surrounding areas, the more we work together the stronger the local industry will become”.


For more information follow the film on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/chilliroseproductions


Watch the trailer for Who’s There below:




By midlandsmovies, Feb 19 2017 09:35PM



After covering 2015 film The Taxi Midlands Movies hitches another ride to talk to Worcestershire based filmmakers TestaRossa Productions about their latest project.


The Taxi’s writer-director Fernando Maffei is now deep in production on Artichoke, a brand new English/Italian crime film shot in Worcester. The story concerns a Mafia hitman who is sent to England to do a job for an old boss but who ends up having his loyalties violently tested.


Fernando and his Midlands-based crew have now wrapped on their first feature and are currently in post-production where the Kidderminster-based filmmaker has again worked with producer Lawrence Donello from Worcester. Aside from The Taxi, the duo have worked on several short films including Who’s There and Homeland all of which were shot in the region.


A thoroughly Midlands cast is led by Jetinder Summan (Holby City, Doctors) as well as emerging talent Greg Hobbs (Doctors, Who's There) Sophie Canare (Who's There, Homeland) Francesco Tribuzio (Age of Kill, The Taxi) and Worcester's own Hollywood connection Vincenzo Nicoli (Alien 3, The Dark Knight) .


Using a micro-budget and a mostly local crew, the team did not limit themselves to the region alone and went as far to enlist the help of notable Director of Photography Lisa Muzzulini who spends her time between UK, NY and Berlin.


And finally, make-up artist Charlotte Pingriff (PrettyScary Youtube channel) has created a host of aesthetic designs including bleeding statues, bruised faces and also assisting with the special effects for the film whilst Lawrence and Fernando hope the feature will generate further opportunities for local film technicians.


“We would like artists to get to work in the industry by making high end features locally which will pave the way for them to work on bigger budgeted features such as those shot recently in Midlands including Spielberg's Ready Player One and Michael Keaton's American Assassin currently filming in Birmingham”.


And with talk of a film studio being built by Steven Knight (Peaky Blinders, Taboo) the opportunities can only increase, with the producers of Artichoke also believing strongly in promoting the region as a film friendly destination.


“We had an amazing crew who were pushed to their limits on such a tight schedule but they delivered”.


Once fully completed, Artichoke hopes to be selected into film festivals worldwide as well as ultimately securing distribution. And following that, Lawrence and Fernando even have their next film lined up (LUCIO) AND their next feature (BARGAIN) which has been the culmination of several years work.


To find out more about Artichoke please follow on their official Facebook page here:

https://www.facebook.com/artichokefilm

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