Please find enclosed another jam-packed roundup of moving image activity in the middle of the country, from new releases and special events to job ads and submission deadlines. Fresh from our Black Country adventures Flatpack are gearing up for a month-long season of Birmingham on Film, while hoping we can make it to other people’s stuff too. As ever September is full of cult cinema across the UK thanks to Scalarama, and live one-offs to look out for include Mogwai, Nino Rota and Asha Bhosle. On a smaller scale, this backyard screening of Critters merits a trip to the Malverns.
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FILM OF THE MONTH: HUNT FOR THE WILDERPEOPLE
(dir: Taika Waititi)
Troubled, haiku-writing teenager Ricky (Julian Dennison) runs off into the woods, teaming up with grizzled survivalist foster-dad Hec (Sam Neill) against the forces of authority. Waititi’s odd-couple comedy is a joyous follow-up to vampire spoof What We Do in the Shadows, and as is obligatory for Kiwi movies it features an excellent cameo from Conchords manager Rhys Darby.
General release from 16th September. 30 Sept - 6 Oct at mac Birmingham, Lighthouse and Electric.
The conclusion to Noel Clarke’s crime trilogy finds him in middle-class comfort, but not for long.
General release from 29 August.
NOTES ON BLINDNESS
A poetic story of loss, rebirth and transformation, documenting theologian John Hull’s journey into "a world beyond sight".
17 & 19 September at Artrix
THE GIRL WITH ALL THE GIFTS
For some reason Birmingham is a magnet for dystopian film-shoots at the moment. This Glenn Close / Gemma Arterton zombie thriller was a year ahead of Spielberg, and now the results are in.
General release from 23rd September. There’s also a screenwriter Q&A on 8 October at The Mockingbird, Digbeth.
Friday 2 September, 8:15-10pm at The Woodman in Digbeth
Digbeth First Friday: Pecha Kucha
Pecha Kucha presenters choose 20 slides and have just 20 seconds per slide to get their point across. This edition includes talks on experiences of refugee camps, confessions of a banker, Chinese DIY quick fixes and Afrofuturism.
See also: Short Circuit at Stryx, an exhibition of Virtual Reality and digital artwork.
Friday 2 September, 9pm in West Malvern
CRITTERS (dir: Stephen Herek)
Couple with a quarry in their back garden decide to host outdoor screening of 80s sci-fi comedy.
2 & 3 September in Foundry Woods, Leamington Spa
THEY LIVE & PREDATOR
To complement the town's Camouflage Festival (yep), Leamington Underground return to the woods for two fittingly covert films.
Saturday 3 September, 5:30pm at the Bordesley Centre, Sparkbrook
Yemen Peace Project
Free evening of documentaries, hosted by journalist Iona Craig.
9-11 September in Coventry
Group exhibition and mini-festival exploring interactive and generative art.
Saturday 10 September at Worcester Golf Range
One more al fresco Swayze experience before autumn closes in.
Wednesday 14 September, 7:30pm at Coventry Cathedral
Mogwai play ATOMIC
Scottish post-rockers perform their score to Mark Cousins’ nuclear film essay.
Wednesday 14 September, 7:30pm at The Hive, Shrewsbury
I WISH (dir: Hirokazu Koreeda)
Two young brothers live at opposite ends of the bullet train line as a result of their parents' separation.
15-18 September at mac, BCU, the Electric and the Mockingbird
Screening Rights Film Festival 2016
Birmingham’s international festival of social justice cinema. A packed four days of critically acclaimed films from award winning and new British, Chinese, Nicaraguan, North American, Belgian, Chinese and Palestinian directors.
16 & 17 September at Birmingham Rep
Cold Calling: The Arctic Project
World premiere of a new collaboration between the Rep and CBSO, combining music, performance and visuals.
16 September - 15 October at various venues in Birmingham
Birmingham on Film
Flatpack: Assemble present a month-long season of archive screenings and events exploring the changing face of the city of Birmingham. Expect everything from outdoor screenings, vampire motorcycles and Brumburgers to live music and rare archive TV.
Saturday 24 September, 8pm at Centrala, Digbeth
SPEED SISTERS (dir: Amber Fares)
Centrala is getting into the Scalarama spirit with this high-octane film about an all-woman racing team in the Middle East. The screening is followed by a cinema party.
27-30 September at Ludlow Assembly Rooms
SWEET BEAN (dir: Naomi Kawase)
Unassuming but affecting Japanese drama about cooking and sharing life stories.
Wednesday 28 September, 7:30pm at ORT Cafe, Balsall Heath
Grrrls on Film
Local and international shorts on a feminist tip, put together by Balsall Heath WI for Scalarama.
Wednesday 28 September, 8pm at Birmingham Town Hall
PRIVILEGE (dir: Peter Watkins)
One of the highlights of the Birmingham on Film season, a chance to see this oddball vision of music-as-mind-control in the venue where it was filmed fifty years ago.
Every month Feckenham Village Hall in north Worcs is transformed into the Feckenodeon, a community cinema that outdoes many boutique venues in opulence. They’ve recently unveiled the programme for their 16th season, with attractions ranging from Jimmy Stewart in Harvey to Bollywood comedy Finding Fanny. We chatted to Feckenham’s Oscar Deutsch, Mr Ian Bellion.
- What sparked the idea in the first place, and how has it changed over the years?
The nearest cinema to Feckenham closed in the late 1990s and the closest alternative was 20 miles away. We borrowed a couple of 16mm projectors and put on a "one off" showing of Some Like it Hot for a packed house... and we've never looked back. In the early days the type of film available to film societies was limited - mainly to battered copies of old warhorses. Now, with fantastic advances in digital projection technology, we're able to show anything from the latest releases through arthouse to beautifully restored classics.
- When you say village hall cinema people might assume rickety screen and plastic chairs, but it's fair to say that Feckenodeon is a proper audience experience. Can you tell us a bit about the process you go through to transform the hall?
The idea of the wobbly screen and a projector propped up on beer crates is an image we constantly battle against. Our 20ft CinemaScope screen descends from the roof, we rig stage drapes and masking, and the motorised waterfall curtain is lit by colour changing spotlights. The village hall notice-boards and Women's Institute paraphernalia disappear under red plush drapes, we roll out more red plush in the form of comfortable tip-up seats and set up our well stocked bar. We add our ticket desk in the foyer, poster boards and banners are hung outside... before the crew change into their "uniforms" in time for the show.
- The programme has a real mixture of new releases and classics, Hollywood and world cinema. What goes down particularly well with your members? And have you got any particular recommendations in this year's lineup?
Fifteen years ago the members' choice would have been conservative and unchallenging. Things have moved on and now, although we still get good houses for older films, they're up for almost anything. Horror and sci-fi don't go down well but practically every other genre brings them in. This summer we've had full houses for films ranging from an Australian pot-boiler (The Dressmaker) to Icelandic tragi-comedy (Rams). My tip for this season would be the marvellously restored High Noon, which has to be seen in a cinema setting where the concentration of the audience double-concentrates the tension.
- Does the name ever cause offence with the hard of hearing?
Pardon? Some folk seem intent on reading it as "Feckenham Odeon" which would, of course, be an infringement of copyright. FeckenOdeon is quite a different thing...
- The last few years have seen a real boom in community cinemas. Why do you think this is? And have you got any tips for someone thinking of setting up their own?
There is a demand for local things for local people where you can enjoy and celebrate your local community - which is the positive view... The slightly more negative one is that people hate the impersonal, soulless experience of the modern multiplex. Community cinema is about a "night out at the pictures" rather than just going to watch a larger version of the telly. If you're thinking of starting up, the key is to offer something special. Anybody can have a giant screen and stentorian sound in their own home - what you need to create is something that's really worth going out for...
Feckenodeon resumes on 24th September with Hail Caesar! plus shorts. See www.feckenodeon.co.uk for details.
SHORT OF THE MONTH
KENZO WORLD (DIR: SPIKE JONZE)
Ok, admittedly, it is an advert, but as adverts go, it’s pretty darn good. Reminiscent of Sia’s Chandelier promo (unsurprising to discover it’s the same choreographer Ryan Heffington), Margaret Qualley flexes her dance moves in gravity- and expectation-defying fashion.
DIRECTOR OF FILM PROGRAMMING at Sheffield Doc Fest (closing 2 September)
RELATIONSHIP MANAGER at Arts Council England, Birmingham (closing 4 September)
PROGRAMME SUPPORT OFFICER at Into Film, Birmingham (closing 6 September)
HEAD OF BRAND AND PARTNERSHIPS at The Space, Birmingham (closing 7 September)
FESTIVAL VOLUNTEER at Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival (closing 8 September)
HOSPITALITY STAFF & KITCHEN TEAM at Everyman Cinema, Birmingham (closing 9 September)
OPERATIONS & FRONT OF HOUSE MANAGER at Ludlow Assembly Rooms (closing 9 September)
VOLUNTEER & DEVELOPMENT MANAGER at Ludlow Assembly Rooms (closing 9 September)
ASSISTANT ADMINISTRATOR at Warwick Arts Centre (closing 9 September)
CURATOR (SOCIAL HISTORY) at Warwick District Council - Leamington Spa Art Gallery & Museum (closing 11 Sept)
COMMUNICATIONS PRODUCER at Hereford College of Arts (closing 14 September)
DIGITAL MEDIA APPRENTICE at Beatfreeks, Birmingham (closing 19 September)
FREELANCE FILM/MEDIA PRACTITIONER at NCS The Challenge, West Midlands (closing 26 September)
PRODUCER’S PERSONAL ASSISTANT (INTERNSHIP) at Vicarious Productions, Birmingham (closing asap)
BFI FILM ACADEMY at MediaActive, North Shropshire (closing asap)
Short film course for 16-19 year olds which covers film history, idea and script development, practical animation and filmmaking techniques, editing, sound design, music and special effects. More info here or apply here.
Bucharest Short Film Festival, Romania
Short film categories include Narrative, Animation, Student, Experimental, Documentary, Fashion, Music Video, Stop Motion, Human Rights, Trailer and Webisode.
7th (last call), 18th September (final)
TMC London Film Festival
Online film festival championing films which raise awareness of global issues.
Horror-on-Sea Film Festival, Essex
Horror film festival in Southend-on-Sea, opening night coincides with the annual Essex Zombie Walk.
MONO NO AWARE, Brooklyn, New York, USA
International exhibition of contemporary art/film accepting only analogue media (Super 8mm, 16mm, 35mm or altered light projections).
Hellfire International Film Festival, Folkestone, Kent
Inaugural short film festival accepting comedy films under 25 mins.
Film Marketplace Birmingham
Applications open for filmmakers with a completed feature length film, documentary, animation or a fully developed script/documentary treatment who are looking for financial/distribution/development support for their project. Fill in an application form for a chance to attend the industry event on Thurs 27 October.
30th September (late)
Leamington Underground Film Festival
Prizes of up to £1000 available for non-mainstream short films.
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Flatpack Projects are working across the West Midlands as part of Flatpack: Assemble, a new partnership with the BFI Film Audience Network to help build a more thriving, connected film community in the region.