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By midlandsmovies, Oct 17 2019 01:42PM



BAME female filmmaker sells out screening of debut short film Lost Identity


West Midlands filmmaker Ruth Holder is an ambitious, driven 19 year old who has written, directed and self financed her debut short and has now sold out the Mockingbird Cinema for the premiere. The screening, on Wednesday 23rd October, sold out in a week.


‘Lost Identity’ is a short, experimental dance film that explores how we change ourselves, altering our appearance and behaviour in order to please other people and the emotional and mental impact that has on us.


The film is deeply personal to Ruth who shares, “Lost Identity is a love letter to myself and was influenced by my experiences in secondary school. I was hardly ever paid any attention to, no one even batted an eye at me and I hated it, I hated feeling like I was invisible. So I changed who I was in order to get my classmates attention and yes I got the attention I hoped for, but not in the way that I expected".


She goes on to add, “I was called names, punched and hit repeatedly like it was okay to do so and used by people who I thought were my friends. Despite knowing that what was happening to me was wrong, I deluded myself into thinking that it was okay because I finally got the attention I wanted, despite it being negative".


“So I decided to make a film about what happened to me, not only to share my experience and inspire others to stand up for themselves but also to heal. Working on this film made me realise that I'm still hurting from my past experiences and to grow and move on, I knew I had to tell my story", says Ruth.



Credit: Jade Jones-Blackwood
Credit: Jade Jones-Blackwood

Ruth sourced a professional crew and choreographer and shot the film in the Old Print Works, Balsall Heath and is keen for the work to be seen by as many people as possible, hoping to be able to tour the film in schools and youth groups to discuss the issues in her film with others who may be experiencing similar issues.


This premiere event will be the first delivered by Birmingham Young FIlmmakers Network in partnership with the Mockingbird Cinema, which is working to create a collaborative community for underrepresented creatives.


BYFN founder Cassie Smyth says, “Ruth’s film is incredibly impressive and confident, much like Ruth herself, and really confirms our suspicion that there is a lot of amazing potential in Birmingham that just needs the space and support to shine and we’re thrilled to be able to facilitate that.".


Watch the trailer here:






By midlandsmovies, Aug 3 2019 04:48PM



Midlands Spotlight - Film Press Kits and Festival Planning


In August 2019 we spent an amazing day with filmmaker Daniel Alexander who invited us to Birmingham to talk local film, press, marketing and short film festivals to a group of future movie-makers participating in the 'Back In' film development programme.


The programme is aimed to support support BAME filmmakers in Birmingham who will be given the opportunity to develop industry knowledge and professional connections as part of a six-month artist development programme.


The programme is run by creative agency Punch as well as Daniel who will empower the new wave of filmmakers with project support, one-on-one mentoring, masterclasses and peer-to-peer sessions.


Midlands Movies was there to share our experience and knowledge of press kits and press releases. Receiving over a huge amount each year from local filmmakers, we put together a document to help filmmakers avoid the common pitfalls that can see their press releases being ignored.


In addition, from the Midlands Movies Awards to being on festival panels, we also created a handout around the planning and preparation short filmmakers should undertake as they get ready to showcase their work at movie events after their production has finished.


And we're sharing both of them here! (click on the links to open as printable WORD documents):


*** Midlands Movies Press Kit Handout ***


*** Midlands Movies Film Festival Handout ***



The programme has been running a number of years and culminates with a screening of the participants’ shorts which will be premiered later in 2019.


Supporting the next generation of young filmmakers will help them getting better connected amongst learning many other industry skills. Currently, the film industry workforce does not reflect the diversity of the UK. In production, only 3% of employees are from a minority ethnic background, compared to 12.5% nationally.


Check out more info about Daniel at https://www.danielalexanderfilms.com/


For more info about Punch Records, visit punch-records.co.uk


Michael Sales

Midlands Movies Editor




By midlandsmovies, Jul 8 2019 12:00PM



Young filmmaker shorts screened at Leicester drama academy event


On Sunday July 7th Midlands Movies descended upon the King Richard III Centre in Leicester city centre where a unique film festival was underway featuring some of the most talented young filmmakers in the region.


The Pauline Quirke Academy (PQA) is a weekend performing arts Academy providing tuition for children and young people in comedy and drama, musical theatre and film and television.


Set up and endorsed by English actress Pauline Quirke (Birds of a Feather) in 2007, they are located in 105 towns and cities around the UK and focus on the arts. The youngsters attend outside of their normal school hours at weekends which shows the amazing commitment by these up and coming creatives and their families.


The King Richard III Centre opened in 2014 on the site of Greyfriars, the medieval friary in whose church the King was buried. A regal location then for the young people of PQA Leicester to attend a royal-esque red carpet event for them and their families to watch the short films that have been months in the making.



From drama to comedy and sci-fi and horror, the students haven’t just starred in the films but created the stories, had input into the scripts and took control of their productions behind the scenes. Some were directors, cinematographers, sound recordists as well as many more roles which enabled the children to experience a whole variety of skills to help them in their learning.


And so, with 6 planned screenings over the afternoon we spoke to as many of the students as possible to get their unique perspectives on their projects, the filmmaking process and their hopes for the future.


Josh Brambini-Meadows was first up and has been at PQA for 7 years – not bad for someone at just 13 years old! “In my film I play a visually impaired person with a guide dog but the boy is bullied at school. It was hard because you don’t know what it’s like but we used the subject “heroes” to develop our story about guide dogs who do all these good things. I’m a big fan of action films and I’d really like to develop my acting in future at PQA”.


Carmen Lee-Bennet echoed Josh and was in the film ‘Perfect’. “I play the lead’s best friend Emily and my friend at PQA Molly wrote it. I prefer to act and am looking forward to doing the PQA pantomime at Christmas. I can’t wait to see the film tonight”.



Amira Chawla-Sampey stars in ‘Freeze’ and as one of the newer members says, “I haven’t been on the big screen so am excited. I started in January and I really enjoy PQA”. Similarly Jasmine Lee-Bennett (9) adds “This is my first film and PQA has made me more confident” and friend Charlene Baariu (10) continued, “I’m looking forward to seeing my film tonight and it’s the first one I’ve ever made!”


Sophie Swaby describes how she got involved with the technical elements: “I play a student in Freeze and also did sound recording behind the camera. They’re both really fun things to do”. Isabella King said, “I’m in Legends which is about a sleepover party and then there are creepy dolls and explore a scary house. When I first joined I thought I would quit but I really like it because I met lots of new friends”.




Alex Gupta told us, “I am in Glitch which is about a boy who goes into a video game so it’s an action story with zombies. We filmed in the woods so there was a lot of scraping on brambles! We get lots of opportunities at PQA - this time I was director – and that’s what I want to do in future”.


Student Fran Mee explained how PQA supports her goals: “PQA is really fun and lots of opportunities to star in films. I’m in Safe with Me and did some sound recording. I want to be a singer and actor and the PQA staff are very supportive and they believe in you. It’s really amazing”.


And young Patrick Lambert-Connolly has his sights set on shepherding a crew again in the future: “I’m the director of Safe With Me and I enjoyed using the camera. The hardest thing about being a director is patience. I like all the opportunities you get with PQA – to perform in West End, be in films and lots more!”


“I was the director of photography which I like more than acting. I love making a film from scratch with my good friends” said Leo Denton (11) whilst Alexa Skidmore enjoyed the zombie make-up “with lots of fake blood and white face paint. I like these projects as we can create whatever we want”.


Senior student James King (17) came at his project with a lot experience which he was more than happy to pass on: “My 6 years at PQA has been great. I act in Detention and helped with a bit of scriptwriting. I enjoy seeing myself on the big screen and as an older student I try to help the younger people”.



His sister Courtney King (15) “I’ve been at PQA 8 years and it’s a really friendly working environment and like a second family to be honest” and their sibling Olivia King added that she too enjoys working with others “I have all my best friends at PQA and it’s a really nice atmosphere. Although one time my face was stained yellow from make-up and it got all over my food later”, she adds, already experienced in the world of production problems.


Friends Madison Brace, Elodie Dakin, Daya Chahal love the freedom they get at the academy: “We helped behind-the-scenes and in front of the camera. We enjoy comedy and drama and you get to use your imagination at PQA and you make great memories”.


Siblings Oliver (13) & Sienna Ross (7) said, “We like getting together with like-mind people and have a really good time on projects”. And it’s not only the students enjoying the PQA experience. Parent Melanie King can’t sing the praises of the academy enough. “When we first looked at what PQA could offer my daughter, I thought it looked an amazing place. She has always been very creative and the classes have helped focus her skills. I was so proud to see her on the West End stage last year and PQA brings out confidence in children and helps them progress”.






Zoe, Andrea, Shanice Nyandoro “We’re in Freeze and A Part of Me. We love dancing and singing and it’s great PQA include everyone when they make the films”.


Taiven Allen “I directed The Intruder about a boy who wakes up to find a clone in his bedroom. This is my first film and I like expressing feelings as different characters but also enjoy the technical side. I’m influenced by Bradley Cooper who moved from acting to directing and we did a little improvising on set which was fun”.


Megan & Amelia Jackson “It was very physical on set, we did a few takes of a slapping scene! But also people don’t see how many people are working behind the projects and during the filming you get to know people more”.




Caitlin Spencer (13) said, “I’m the lead in short film Perfect which is about being anxious at school and not fitting in. I prefer acting and found the project a great place to discuss our ideas and PQA allows you to experience things you wouldn’t normally be able to”.


Finally James Bremner (14) shares his positive experiences with fellow students: “I play a scientist who sorts out a glitching robot clone. It was nice to find out how the process takes place on a film set and gives you an insight into how bigger movies are created. My dream is to be an actor and I love my friends there as we’re all so passionate about the same things”.


And so we moved on to the screening and each film was fantastically received by full-capacity audiences. With support from PQA associates Emmeline Hartley, Alex Stroud, Tommy Draper and event management (and occasional acting) by PQA Principal Karen Stevens, it was a hugely successful and entertaining day. I cannot wait to see further projects from these talents as it is them who will be the next generation of filmmakers from the region – and I highly recommend you check out the films when they hit the festival circuit from Summer.


Michael Sales






By midlandsmovies, Jul 4 2019 05:20PM



Red carpet to be rolled out for young Leicester filmmakers


Students from The Pauline Quirke Academy of Performing Arts in Leicester will be attending a premiere of their own films at the King Richard III Visitor Centre on Sunday 7th July 2019.


The young filmmakers will walk the red carpet and see their work on the big screen in the iconic tourist attraction. The PQA students put in many hours devising, performing and producing every element of their film.


Karen Stevens, Principal at PQA Leicester said “For the past three months, we have worked intensively with 125 of our students to produce twelve short films which will enjoy their premiere this weekend. The students have taken responsibility for every aspect of the films, from the directing to acting to make up to operating the camera and boom".


"I’m delighted that their hard work will be rewarded with a screening in such an atmospheric and exciting venue", she added.


PQA, which was started by actress Pauline Quirke and her producer husband Steve Sheen in 2007, is a weekend performing arts Academy providing tuition for children and young people from 4-18 years.


Students spend three hours rotating through hour-long sessions in Comedy & Drama, Musical Theatre and Film & TV. There are more than 170 Academies nationwide.


Website: http://pqatv.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/pqatv

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


By midlandsmovies, Apr 14 2019 08:47AM



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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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





By midlandsmovies, Nov 14 2018 02:49PM



Young filmmakers across the West Midlands team up and create their own opportunities


Young filmmakers in the West Midlands are creating their own opportunities as they work together under the name Gen.2 Creatives.


The group was founded in August 2017 by Luke Furmage, a young creative who graduated from BOA and the BFI Academy in Birmingham, after realising a want and need to create content among the young filmmakers and creatives in the West Midlands.


From workshops and masterclasses to festivals and competitions, Gen.2 Creatives main reason of existing is to be a safe environment for budding filmmakers from diverse backgrounds to practice and create film projects, while learning off each other and support one another by listing work opportunities.


With around 40 members of young creatives, they have worked on several projects, which have been uploaded online and played at the Flat Pack Festival 2018.


The group was also used as a part of the pitch for the Channel 4 bid, although it was not successful, they are working with other creatives in Birmingham, including established professionals, to create opportunities for young people. Three of the members were invited to a secret meeting, which took place on the 8th November, with names such as the Mayor of Birmingham Andy Street, Peaky Blinder screenwriter Steve Knight and many well-known media companies based in Birmingham.



Luke Furmage Founder and Director of Gen 2 adds, “Development and funding is only available for creatives that are already established in the industry, and Media courses, although teach students the tools of the trade, can often stifle creativity under the need to fulfil the criteria and complete exams".


"We want to develop a culture of creativity for a new generation of young creatives in the creative industry here in Birmingham. This new Online Generation has the unlimited potential for exciting new content that will shape the years to come", he goes on to say.


During one of their projects known as ‘12 Hours Till Wrap’ in which they create and edit a film in 12 hours, a few of the members explained why they joined Gen.2 Creatives.


William Terry-Wright, 18-years-old who was the Director of the most recent project, said, “It’s sounded like a great opportunity to network with young filmmakers and people with similar ambitions to mine, and it also sounded like a good opportunity to develop skills and knowledge in terms of filmmaking.”


Jordon Wolf, an 18-years-old aspiring actress who starred as the lead in the short films, said, “It’s very helpful to me because it’s something I want to go into in the future and it’s a great opportunity to get more experience.”


The self-sustaining group is starting to expand with talk of a partnership with The Producers’ Forum and possible connections with the BFI but are always looking to expand their network.


They have their first public 12 Hours Till Wrap event taking place 1st of December.


To find out more about the team, how to join, you can find them online on their website and Facebook page.


Fahima Khatun


By midlandsmovies, May 28 2018 07:59AM



Midlands Spotlight - Birmingham Creatives Ready for Hire


Midlands Movies finds out about Talent Connect which is a new initiative bringing twelve fresh faces to Birmingham’s creative industry. It is the first time a scheme like this has been piloted, with a drive to help enable new talent to enter into the film sector as freelancers.


A group of 18 to 25-year-olds with an array of talents are to become available for projects that need immediate hiring with each participant having an online profile.


Once registered on their website, employers can access these profiles where they can choose a participant which fits their requirements and contact them directly. The skills of this talent pool are camera operation, camera assisting, editing, hair and make-up, lighting assistant, graphic design, scriptwriting, locations, administration, social media, web development and more.


Contracts are set up between the company and the participant, who have all set up as self-employed and Talent Connect contacted Michael Ford of Infinite Wisdom for his thoughts. “I would definitely look at this platform if I needed new freelancers, having already recruited similar talent through the Producers’ Forum in recent months".


Much like the Creative England Crew Database, the difference between them is that this forum screens its members which is a huge selling point for Michael.


Talent Connect has been created by The Producers’ Forum and Creative Alliance with the support of Creative Skillset’s Film Skills Fund, with BFI’s Film Forever National Lottery funds. Creative Skillset is the industry skills body for the Creative Industries.


The Producers’ Forum is an independent organisation serving the vibrant community of filmmakers and content producers region. Membership includes producers, writers, and directors and many others involved in other aspects of film & TV.


The Forum provides training, networking, and lobbying. In an industry currently undergoing profound changes, it provides a unified lobbying voice through developing strategic relationships with key partners such as Creative Skillset, Film Birmingham, Creative Alliance, and West Midlands Screen Bureau.


Creative Alliance, founded in 2005, was one of the first training providers in the UK to offer apprenticeships in the Creative and Cultural Industry, an industry with no previous history of apprenticeships.


For more information check out https://talentconnect.creativealliance.org.uk



Talent Connect member Fahima Khatun
Talent Connect member Fahima Khatun

By midlandsmovies, Apr 27 2018 09:40PM



Midlands Spotlight - Finham Park Film Festival


Midlands Movies comes across new regional film festival based in Coventry that has big aspirations with a whole host of up and coming filmmakers.


The Finham Park Film Festival 2018 may be a small film festival but had its beginnings when Mike Gunn Head of Media Arts first started teaching Film Studies at Finham Park in Warwickshire. He encouraged students to have the highest expectations and with many of them entering their projects to local film competitions, it was of no surprise when the students soon started winning.


Later, talented students began entering national competitions and within just the last four years, Finham Park students have had five student films nominated for national prizes, including their first winner last year, Jack Brazil, now in Year 12.


Based in Coventry, thus originated their own film festival. Known for its outstanding film work, their media department have been hosting, serving and demonstrating the work produced. A fully catered, 3 meal, sit-down event is the icing on the movie cake where Andrew Hartshorn, the Head of Food Technology got students cooking Michelin-starred food to 72 guests at the festival.


The school use the festival to showcase fantastic films as well as show the wider community just how much potential they have. They want to inspire the next generation of students to even higher goals and make the school a centre of film-making excellence.


At last year’s festival, the festival helped ignite the Coventry 2021 bid for City of Culture and only eight months later, Coventry won, bringing even greater attention to the city’s young filmmakers.


This year’s festival prizes will be judged by a panel of judges from the film industry including ITV producer Anna Andrews and Ali Bannister, who worked on Steven Spielberg’s War Horse. Sean Hartofilis, an independent New York film-maker will be less known but Josic Cadoret’s work funding new talent at BFI Film London will become more prominent now he has been announced as one of the six regional talent executives by the BFI.


Students nominated for awards are looking forward to hearing from their heroes and getting tips on how to be at the forefront of Coventry’s 2021 City of Culture festivities.


If you’d like to know more about the school or the festival check out https://twitter.com/FinhamFilm



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