Flatpack Festival 2024 Key Dates 10-19 May

Flatpack announces its 2024 festival programme including award-winning Japanese performance duo Usaginingen, Carrie screened outdoors at Birmingham Botanical Gardens, a BAFTA-qualifying short film competition and an artist-led spa promising access to a higher consciousness

Birmingham’s annual filmic feast for all the senses is back. The 2024 festival has 80 shows and events at venues throughout the city for 10 days in May. Far from your average film festival, the boundary-pushing programme spans art, tech, music and spoken word, with transformative films and performances from all over the world.

What not to miss at Flatpack Festival 2024

  • Usaginingen – bringing their new work Black Kite – Pulsation of Souls to the festival, the artists are known for their handmade machines and instruments and uniquely enchanting performance style.
  • Carrie – Birmingham’s Botanical Gardens transform into an outdoor cinema for a screening of cult horror classic Carrie, complete with a high school prom-style reception (black tie optional).
  • Short Film Competition – the BAFTA-qualifying short film competition returns, pushing the boundaries of short-form filmmaking with a programme of animation, documentary, experimental and comedy from around the world.
  • The Open Loop – an experience that stimulates the brain by projecting patterns and colours directly into your eyeballs. Takes place at a ‘spa’ created by visual artist Marco Broeders and sound artist Julian Edwardes.
  • The world premiere of Birmingham-produced Booty and UK premieres of Peter Mettler’s While the Green Grass Grows, Alison O’Daniel’s The Tuba Thieves and a new 4K restoration of Bridgett M Davis’s Naked Acts.

More to seek out at the ten day festival

Opening Night

Opening this year’s festival is a special double bill of new performances that turn traditional filmgoing on its head.

The Library of Babel by People Like Us invites audiences on an adventure through cinema and sound, using audiovisual collage to reimagine familiar stories. Audiovisual pioneers The Light Surgeons follow with new work The Consensual Hallucination – an improvised experiment crafted in real-time using an archive of 16mm film loops – meaning no two performances are ever the same.

Spotlight on local

A new film by Birmingham filmmakers Sima Gonsai and Joseph Potts explores the story of local cinema the Waldorf – now a Hindu temple – and its previous owners the Randhawas. Following the screening audiences will be treated to a performance from fresh-faced veterans The Te3nagers with a selection of Hindi, Punjabi and Gujarati music.

Documentary This is Birmingham explores the city’s ambivalent relationship with its post-war heritage, following a decision by Birmingham City Council in February 2024 to demolish Smallbrook Ringway.

Special guests

Richard Linklater composer and sonic adventurer Graham Reynolds performs his first solo EP at Kings Heath pub and gig venue Hare & Hounds.

Comedian, writer, actor, stand-up and artist Spencer Jones shares shorts and clips from his own body of work alongside films that inspire him at film social event Dots & Loops.

Ukrainian experimental band Potreba Group bring musical stylings of improvisational nu-jazz and electronics to four short Ukrainian animations spanning the 1960s to the early 2000s. The new scores have been commissioned by Flatpack and are supported by The British Council.

Experiments in cinema

Trailblazing filmmaker Jan Kulka brings his opto-mechanical projecting apparatus the Archeoscope to Birmingham from Prague.

Swedish artist Viking Eggeling’s landmark film Symphonie Diagonale is celebrated with brand new live scores by Royal Birmingham Conservatoire for a selection of Swedish experimental films.

Guest curation

Flatpack’s guest curators always add a range of perspectives and untold stories. This year they take us around the globe.

Yifan He hosts a screening exploring Chinese diasporic lesbian identity through film and shared resources. The screening will include Alice Wu’s 2004 Asian-American lesbian rom-com Saving Face.

Ahfiwe Cinema presents an evening exploring Black radical aesthetics and spirituality through two extraordinary films: Julie Dash’s acclaimed Diary of An African Nun and 1930s silent Hellbound Train by Eloyice Gist, with live accompaniment from swaampcat (Ebunoluwa Adepoju).

Maria Paradinas screens the powerful experimental documentary R21: aka Restoring Solidarity, a film that reflects on an overlooked movement of anti-imperialism between Japan and Palestine. Sound artist Bint Mbareh gives an audio performance following the screening.

Radical Exhibition Collective explore the audiovisual work of Birmingham-born artist Seema Mattu as part of South Asian Solarpunk.

Film historian and professor Valentina Vitali presents a selection of award-winning short films from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Myanmar.


Amongst the UK premieres are The Tuba Thieves, a poetic piece of docufiction from d/Deaf filmmaker Alison O’Daniel, and Peter Mettler’s newest and most intimate film Where the Green Grass Grows. Other highlights include hand-crafted animation (Chicken For Linda!, Art College 1994), powerful documentary (The Taste of Mango, The Hearing) and heavy metal kung fu (The Invisible Fight). 

Flatpack Festival will take place in venues across Birmingham from 10 to 19 May this year. Tickets are on sale now.

Book here: https://flatpackfestival.org.uk/