Preview – Flatpack Festival 2016 (April 19-24)


It’s that time of year again. Leaves are starting to appear on the trees, warm weather isn’t just something you can read about on Wikipedia and Flatpack returns.

Into its 10th year now, the Birmingham based festival is firmly established as one of the primo events on the festival calendar, with a reputation for offering something out of the ordinary. As they put it, “a mixture of films, performances, contraptions and surprises” (which also happens to be the components of an ideal date for me).

Running from Tuesday 19th to Sunday 24th at various locations around Birmingham, they have a special focus on the relationship between sound and image this year, opening with a live re-score of the classic 1932 film Vampyr on Tuesday and closing with a re-score of F.W. Murnau’s Faust (1926) on Sunday. In between these two mighty bookends they have ‘Optical Sound’, which is a new element in the festival programme and covers a range of live soundtrack, performance and other audio visual bits.

Among some of the most intriguing events is the Blind Cinema on April 22. Conceived and produced by Belgian artist Britt Hatzius, it will see (or not, I guess) audience members led blindfold into an auditorium where a film will be played that the audience won’t see but will have narrated to them by children using mouth trumpets. Sounds like pure nightmare fuel to me, but very intriguing nonetheless.

Crumbs film by miguel Llansó spaceship over Ethiopia

Crumbs (2015)

As usual, Gorilla will be dropping by to a few events, with the documentary Film Adventurer Karel Zeman, about the Czechoslovakian animator, and the Ethiopian post-apocalyptic sci-fi film Crumbs (the director of which we interviewed last year) both standing out for us amongst the features on offer. We’ll also be dropping into a few short film screenings, with the Birmingham focused Second City First selection promising to be a real treat.

This brief description doesn’t even scratch the surface of the 130+ events they have on, so I strongly urge you to check out the full programme on the Flatpack site. If you can’t find a few things in there that interest you, then you probably don’t like film much in which case what are you doing on this site? Have you still not figured out that this is not a simian conservation forum?

To see a festival as varied and unusual as Flatpack grow so much over the past decade is very heartening. In spite of their size they retain their independence and the spirit that goes with that. Flatpack isn’t a festival that looks to just bring in the names in order to get in the trade press so they can attract ever bigger sponsors while becoming progressively blander. It’s a festival that is staying true to its aims of discovery, inclusivity, experimentation and, most of all, fun.

For full details on the festival check out the Flatpack site.


About Author

David Price is the editor of Gorilla Film Online and co-writer/co-producer of MarsCorp and The Bunker podcasts. He has made a number of short films and has watched more than 12 feature films. Writers/con-artists can contact him at daveprice at

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