After a slightly bruising week, we hope that the contents of this email offer some balm for your soul, food for thought, or perhaps even a job. For recent arrivals, this is a new roundup of film happenings and opportunities in the middle of the country. Among other things, July includes reflections on blindness, Doris Day in chaps, an offbeat stroll through 90s London and a return to the Overlook Hotel.
FILM OF THE MONTH: NOTES ON BLINDNESS
(dir: Peter Middleton & James Spinney)
This touching new film is built around the reflections of Australian-born, Birmingham-based theologian John Hull, who used a tape-recorder as a sounding board when he began to lose his sight. “I knew that if I didn’t understand blindness, it would destroy me.”
Notes on Blindness started life as an Emmy Award-winning short film. Now arriving on the back of acclaim at Sundance and Sheffield Doc/Fest, the feature version takes a creative approach to the documentary form. Actors lip-sync to the voices of the family, embedding John’s original audio recordings within compelling cinematography and textured sound design. The result is a poetic and intimate story of loss, rebirth and transformation, documenting John’s extraordinary journey into “a world beyond sight”.
Birmingham Mail interview with Marilyn Hull
ADULT LIFE SKILLS
Rachel Tunnard’s quirky debut feature concerns Lily, approaching 30 and living in her mum’s shed.
20 – 21 July at Warwick Arts
EMBRACE OF THE SERPENT
A beautiful, eye-opening odyssey through the Columbian jungle.
19-20 July at the Courtyard
THE NEON DEMON
Nicolas Winding Refn attempts to redress his reputation for bloke-centred filmmaking (Drive, Pusher) with this surreal L.A. horror starring Elle Fanning.
General release from 8 July
8 – 14 July at The Electric
THE HARD STOP
Five years on from the riots in London and Birmingham, this new documentary focusses on two friends of Mark Duggan who take different paths after his death.
22 – 28 July at mac
Five Turkish sisters find their home becomes a ‘wife factory’ in Deniz Gamze Ergüven’s Oscar-nominated tale.
22 July at Cafe Ort, Moseley
28 July at Number 8, Pershore
ONE-OFFS AND SPECIAL EVENTS
Wednesday 6 July, 7:30pm at Kinokulture in Oswestry
HEART OF A DOG (dir: Laurie Anderson)
Thursday 7 July, 6:30 – 8:30pm at Grand Union, Digbeth
Laura Oldfield Ford in Conversation + ‘Reclaim the Streets’ screening
Friday 8 July, 6pm and 11:30pm at Highbury Hall, King’s Heath
Shock & Gore Launch Night: THE SHINING at Highbury Hall
Friday 8 July, 8pm at Feckenodeon in Feckenham
RAMS (dir: Grímur Hákonarson)
Saturday 9 July & Monday 11 July at Number 8, Pershore
Calamity Jane Sing-a-Long
Tuesday 12 July, 6:20pm, Red Carpet Cinema, Barton
Spanish Conversation Night: GLORIA
12 – 21 July at Brindleyplace, Birmingham
Brindleyplace Film Festival
Screenings themed around ‘Best of British’ including David Bowie’s spandex-clad masterpiece Labyrinth, Mary Poppins and Spectre.
Weds 13 July, 7pm at the Merchants Inn, Rugby
Short Film Night
Flatpack team up with Leamington Underground for free shorts-based fun.
Thursday 14 July, 6pm at Ikon Gallery, Birmingham
Tony Garnett: The Day The Music Died
Legendary TV producer and Villa fan discusses his new memoir, including stories of his early years in Erdington.
15 – 24 July at mac Birmingham
London Indian Film Festival
The best of Indian independent cinema from Europe’s largest South Asian film festival.
Sunday 17 July, 7:30pm at Highbury Little Theatre,
DO THE RIGHT THING (dir: Spike Lee)
Tuesday 19 July, 7pm at LGBT Centre, Birmingham
TURNING: A FILM BY CHARLES ATLAS & ANTONY
20 – 22 July at The Box and Ellen Terry Building, Coventry
Besides the Screen
Three-day screen studies conference focusing on projection, including a performance by Leafcutter John.
22 – 24 July at Bromyard, Herefordshire
Nozstock: The Hidden Valley Festival
Various film, music and arts events throughout a 3-day festival.
23 – 24 July at Moseley School of Art, Birmingham
Brum Spirit 2016: We Are in this Together
A weekend of music, film, visual arts and feasting, exploring the thrills and challenges of sharing space in a changing world.
Saturday 23 July, 12 – 7pm at Minerva Works, Digbeth
Warwick Bar Summer Fete
Art, film, food and culture with open studios and family workshops.
Sunday 24 July, 7pm at Warwick Arts Centre
SOLARIS (dir: Andrei Tarkovsky)
26 – 28 July, 9am – 1pm at Welcome Centre, Coventry
Summer Film School
3 day film workshop for 9-13 year olds.
Thursday 28 July, 8pm at Artrix, Bromsgrove
THE SNARLING (dir: Pablo Raybould)
Friday 29 July, 10am – 4pm at Artrix, Bromsgrove
Club Creative Day: Film Friday
Movie themed drama, arts and crafts day for 7-11 year olds.
Friday 29 July at Baddesley Clinton in Warks
Outdoor Cinema: THE LADY IN THE VAN
Friday 29 July, 7pm at Brownhills Activity Centre
THE GENERAL (dir: Buster Keaton) with live accompaniment
Silent comedy classic with Paul Shallcross bringing the music. Kicks off a season of pop-up film events across the Black Country – more info coming soon to the Flatpack site, and in next month’s Filmwire. May even – if you’re lucky – include an outdoor screening of BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN at Dudley Castle…
Saturday 30 July, 6pm at RSPB Visitor Centre, Sandwell Valley
Big Wild Pyjama Party
Night-time nature shenanigans for all the family, including bat walks, moth trapping and Flatpack shorts.
INTERVIEW: SHOCK & GORE FESTIVAL
Shock and Gore is a festival of horror and fantasy cinema which celebrates its 6th year in 2016. We got in touch with festival director David Baldwin to find out more about what delights this year’s festival programme has in store.
– How did the Shock and Gore festival begin?
David Baldwin: It started six years ago when we were looking at the summer schedules of what we could potentially screen at The Electric Cinema, and realised just how uninspiring summer films can be. So, with myself and the Electric owner Tom Lawes being big horror fans, we decided to launch a horror and fantasy festival during July to offer up a more inspiring programme to our customers.
– What are your personal favourites in this year’s programme?
DB: I am, if nothing else, a massive 90s horror nerd. My teenage years coincided with the huge boom in teen horror that came from the US in the late 90s, meaning my DVD collection is full of both brilliant and dreadful 90s horror films – Urban Legend, Idle Hands, The Faculty, I Know What You Did Last Summer and so on. So to be able to arrange a 90s horror party featuring Scream and also programme The Craft is very exciting to me and my teenage self. To be able to screen the longer cut of Dario Argento’s Deep Red is also rather exhilarating.
– What do you think of the current state of Horror cinema?
DB: The horror genre fluctuates in quality like every other genre, but every year brings a succession of excellent horror films. Just in the last few years we’ve had It Follows, The Babadook, Maniac, Martyrs, You’re Next, The Conjuring etc. The problem is that the horror genre has always been the quickest to adapt to cheaper technology, which means there are now more and more badly made knock-off exploitation flicks flooding the market to make a quick buck, giving the genre a bad name. You just have to be able to sift through the rubbish to find the gold.
– Is there anything in the programme suitable for the more squeamish viewer, or for a family visit?
DB: We like to offer a broad church. This year there’s Alan Clarke’s very amusing snooker vampire musical Billy The Kid & The Green Baize Vampire and the classic British chiller Night Of The Demon, both of which are suitable for the more squeamish viewer, whilst our Conjurer’s Kitchen presentation of Harold & Maude is more morbid than horrifying. I have long held a wish to do a family season spin-off of the festival called Scrapes & Plasters, but I haven’t quite got round to it yet…
SHORT OF THE MONTH
LATIFAH AND HIMLI’S NOMADIC UNCLE (DIR: ALNOOR DEWSHI)
From the BFI player’s extensive online catalogue, this short made by artist filmmaker Alnoor Dewshi features two cousins Latifah and Himli who ponder place, identity, and culture whilst wandering through London. A charming, funny and offbeat short from the early 90s.
FILMMAKER / PHOTOGRAPHER at City Exchange Productions, Birmingham (closing 4 July)
HEAD OF PRODUCTION at The Space, Birmingham (closing 4 July)
PROGRAMME COORDINATOR at Into Film, Birmingham (closing 6 July)
CREATIVE ENGLAND PRODUCTION FUND (closing 8 July)
Creative England offers production funding for feature length films.
HEAD OF PRODUCTION AND TRAINING at Beatfreeks, Birmingham (closing 8 July)
VOLUNTEER EVENTS ASSISTANT / STEWARD at Black Country Touring, Sandwell (closes 12 July)
EXECUTIVE PRODUCER at Capsule, Birmingham (closing 15 July)
ARTS AWARD DISCOVER/EXPLORE ADVISOR TRAINING at mac Birmingham (closing 11 Aug)
CUSTOMER ASSISTANT at Vue Cinemas, Leamington Spa (closes asap)
Call for artists film & video for online exhibition project.
13 July (late), 13 September (extended)
Coventry Film Festival
15 July (regular), 15 August (extended)
Leicester City Film Festival
The Short Cinema, Leicester
29 July (earlybird)
Southampton Film Week
Manchester Animation Festival
Filmwire is produced by Flatpack Projects as part of the Flatpack: Assemble project.
Flatpack are working across the West Midlands as part of a new partnership with the BFI Film Audience Network to help build a more thriving, connected film community in the region. For more information visit the Filmwire website.