Flatpack Reveals Programme for 11th Edition

Birmingham’s Flatpack Film Festival has announced the programme for the 11th edition of the festival, taking place next month from 4 to 9 April. The 6-day cinematic feast will treat audiences to an inspiring range of new features, shorts, exhibitions, talks, workshops and immersive events. This year’s festival will span 25 venues across the city, with a focus on Birmingham’s Southside.

Ian Francis, Flatpack Director, said:

We thought our tenth birthday jamboree would be a tough act to follow, but we couldn’t be more excited about this year’s line-up. What’s been really striking is how keen people have been to get involved, whether it be visiting artists, new partners or local venues. The festival has taken on a real momentum and with such a wide and varied programme we’re sure there’s something for everyone.


As previously announced Flatpack 11 will begin with a spectacular opener in Birmingham’s iconic hotel The Grand and feature mesmerising shorts from Segundo de Chomón and a live score by Stephen Horne. Other standout events at this year’s festival include AROUND CHINA WITH A MOVIE CAMERA which explores 50 years of Chinese history with a live score by Ruth Chan and a rare screening of Matthew Barney’s epic multimedia project THE CREMASTER CYCLE, a series of five films that explore the processes of creation.

Deborah Pearson will combine film and live performance in her poignant comedy documentary HISTORY HISTORY HISTORY and audiences can marvel at Frank Borzage’s dreamy silent melodrama LUCKY STAR with a live score from Ela Orleans. NATURE’S DANCE: PAINLEVÉ LIVE will celebrate the pioneering filmmaker Jean Painlevé, whose films explore the wonders of the natural world. This special one-off event accompanies the first solo UK exhibition of his work at Birmingham’s Ikon Gallery and will feature live performances by Birmingham Contemporary Music Group and jazz orchestra Sid Peacock & Surge.


Unpacked offers unique insight into the processes of filmmakers and artists. This year the strand will focus on virtual reality and include the UK premiere of THE SHARED INDIVIDUAL, a unique Danish-Swedish live VR performance piece. Birmingham-based VR production company Holosphere will also open their doors for the first time on Saturday 8 April and showcase their recreation of the Round Room at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery.

Other highlights include a day of creative workshops and career surgeries for emerging creatives in partnership with Channel 4’s Random Acts; the inaugural Film Camp – a day of panels, talks and workshops exploring the future of film exhibition; optical exhibition Holorama which utilises small-scale dioramas and holographic imaging to recreate iconic movie scenes and a special screening of THE SAD AND BEAUTIFUL WORLD OF SPARKLEHORSE – a unique portrait of singer-songwriter Mark Linkous from West Midlands-based filmmakers Alex Crowton and Bobby Dass.


Flatpack will celebrate the inimitable filmmaker David Lynch with a series of special events including UK premiere of the new digital 4K restoration of MULHOLLAND DRIVE and a live rescore of ERASERHEAD by French band Cercueil. There will also be an exclusive preview of new documentary DAVID LYNCH: THE ART LIFE and the chance to see Nicolas Cage and Laura Dern in the lurid road-movie WILD AT HEART.


Optical Sound showcases the sonic side of cinema and this year’s line-up offers a fascinating fusion of live performance, audio-visual artistry and music documentaries. Highlights include the UK premieres of audio-visual performances from Zeno van den Broek (SHIFT SYMM) and Kaliber16 and MimiCof (MOON SYNCH); Music doc FONKO will explore the new music blends unleashed in Africa by the digital age and NEW VOICES IN AN OLD FLOWER showcases the diverse contemporary music scene in Ethiopia. Alexandre Volkoff’s epic 10-episode melodrama THE HOUSE OF MYSTERY will also be screened across two days and be accompanied by pianist John Sweeney.


This year Flatpack will present four special screenings with unique culinary accompaniments. Birmingham’s gastronomic tour de force The Wilderness will create a bug-themed menu to accompany Andreas Johnsen’s BUGS, a documentary which explores the cultural barriers keeping insects off our plates. Grant Baldwin’s JUST EAT IT looks at the growing epidemic of food waste and will be screened in association with Birmingham’s Real Junk Food Project who will create a freegan menu for the event.

There will be a canal-side screening at Regency Wharf of the Birmingham-set musical TAKE ME HIGH starring Cliff Richard as a merchant banker who invents a ‘Brumburger’ (which will be recreated by Original Patty Men). And Tarantino’s cult classic KILL BILL VOL. 1 will be celebrated with a special immersive screening at The Huan Gate in Birmingham’s Chinatown, complete with Chinese finger food and surprise performances.


This year’s programme of features present a wide and varied picture of international cinema including Mohamed Diab’s poignant drama CLASH set in Cairo shortly after the removal of President Morsi; a struggling family who become modern American outlaws in Dean Fleischer-Camp’s FRAUD and touching and surrealist comedy THE GIANT from Johannes Nyholm (who will be in attendance for this screening and to present a retrospective of his acclaimed short film work).

Julian Barratt (The Mighty Boosh) stars in a comic romp about a washed-up actor trying to relive his glory days in Sean Foley’s MINDHORN; Aki Kaurismäki’s THE OTHER SIDE OF HOPE charts the struggles of a Syrian asylum seeker in Helsinki and THE RED TURTLE is the much-anticipated and Oscar-nominated animation from Michael Dudok de Wit and Studio Ghibli. Rounding out the features are the ‘coming-of-middle-age’ drama SUNTAN from Argyris Papadimitropoulos; offbeat comedy THE VERY PRIVATE LIFE OF MONSIEUR SIM from Michel Leclerc and based on the novel by Birmingham-born author Jonathan Coe (who will be in attendance) and Ivan Tverdovsky’s social satire ZOOLOGY about a zoo worker who discovers she has grown a tail.


Flatpack’s documentary selection presents an intriguing range of perspectives and includes Christine Franz’s BUNCH OF KUNST which follows Midlands DIY-punk duo Sleaford Mods on their journey from bedroom recording sessions to mainstream success and Shirley Abraham and Amit Madheshiya’s ode to India’s ‘touring talkies’ THE CINEMA TRAVELLERS.

The famous NYC showdown between activist Jane Jacobs and Trumpian urban planner Robert Moses is explored in Matt Tyrnauer’s CITIZEN JANE: BATTLE FOR THE CITY and UNCOMMON SENSE celebrates the life and work of Birmingham-born Indian architect Laurie Baker and is directed by his grandson Vineet Radhakrishnan.


The short film strand is Flatpack’s crowning glory and this year’s programme promises a stunning selection of shorts from across the globe; with 21 of the 46 shorts in competition for the jury prize of £1,000 being UK premieres. The competition programmes include experimental strand UNDER CONSTRUCTION, personal tales in CLOSE TO HOME, otherworldly collection SUPERNATURAL, surreal animation in OFF THE BEATEN TRACK and an exploration of our online existence in HYPERCONNECTED.

Highlights include the return of Douwe Dijkstra, winner of the last year’s Audience Award, with poetic political short GREEN SCREEN GRINGO and David O’Reilly’s ambitious project EVERYTHING will premiere in the UK as a 10-minute film, with the interactive version playable in the Flatpack Hub. In addition to the shorts competition there will be a further four short film compilations to surprise and entertain – ON THE EDGE, ORDINARY HEROES, PICK N MIX and FUNNY SQUARED.


FLATPACK HUB: Birmingham’s Southside district will be home to the Flatpack Hub for the duration of the festival. The pop-up hangout on Smallbrook Queensway will host a wide of range of free talks and screenings throughout the festival.

COLOUR BOX: The popular family event will be based at Birmingham Hippodrome’s Patrick Centre and feature shorts compilations for kids (HAPPY TOGETHER and HULLABOO), a screening of the Disney classic THE JUNGLE BOOK and a host of free drop-in activities including ‘Make Your Own (Fake) News’ and ‘Filmmaking Without Cameras’.

MY FLATPACK: The return of the 2-day workshop which offers young film and media enthusiasts (aged 16-24) the chance to expand their film horizons and pick up practical skills from leading industry professionals. Audiences will also have the chance to catch the Oscar-nominated animated feature MY LIFE AS A COURGETTE.

GONGOOZLING DAY: To ‘gongoozle’ is ‘to gaze at canals’ and Gongoozling Day on Saturday 8 April will salute Birmingham’s famous waterways. Activities include underwater cartoons at the Sealife Centre, archive gems at the Roundhouse, an outdoor cinema at Rum Runner Yard and the launch of Alys Fowler’s new book Hidden Nature.

KINO TRAIN: Commuters at Birmingham New Street will be able to enjoy a bite-sized taster of Flatpack 11. The Kino Train will roll into the main station concourse from 6 to 9 April, highlights include family-friendly shorts from this year’s Colour Box strand and a sampling of archive railway footage from the West Midlands.

ARCHIVES AND REISSUES: Highlights include a double-bill of landmark queer TV shows GIRL + COMING OUT, horror classic PHANTASM: REMASTERED and a celebration of Italian animation legend Bruno Bozzetto in Bozzetto Non Troppo + Allegro Non Troppo.

Full details of the Flatpack 11 programme and ticket information can be found at www.flatpackfestival.org.uk


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