Since its first instalment all the way in the deep, dark distant past of 2006, the Birmingham based Flatpack Festival has gone from strength to strength to reach the position we find it in today, established as one of the UK’s most exciting, intelligent and creative film festival. No small feat given the proliferance of festivals with a twist in recent years.
Unlike a lot of other festivals of a similar size, Flatpack remains devoted the more leftfield side of arts. This means you’ll be able to catch the kind of performances that just won’t find anywhere else, including interactive technological storytelling, live shadow paper theatre, retrospectives, workshops in animation and other things and plenty of feature and short film programmes to intrigue, provoke and entertain.
Their 2015 festival kicks off on March 19th and runs to the 29th. Over the course of the ten days they’re packing in a hell of a lot so we highly recommend you head to their site (after you’ve finished reading ours, ahem) and check out the full programme. Below are a few shows that particularly caught our attention:
Edwardian Horror Show
“A rare chance to wander the halls of Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery after hours, where distant noises and shapes in the darkness can take on a supernatural tinge. To further fuel your imaginations, the Edwardian Tea Rooms will play host to some of early cinema’s spookiest short films: from the Edison Company’s 1910 take on the Frankenstein story, featuring a creation scene to chill the blood, to Segundo de Chomon’s demonic Red Spectre.”
A Tribute To Philip Donaldson
20th to 22nd March
“Made over the course of two tumultuous decades at the BBC in Birmingham, the films of Philip Donnellan are a raw, poetic document of people who were rarely given a voice on television at the time. This weekend of screenings is a rare chance to revisit Donnellan’s work, and to hear from some of his contemporaries and collaborators. – “One of the greatest of all documentarists.” The Guardian”
Feature 1: A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night
“A black-clad figure is haunting the streets of Bad City late at night. Look a bit closer. She appears to be wearing a hijab, and riding a skateboard.
With her debut feature Ana Lily Amirpour delights in confounding expectations at every turn, spinning her own Middle Eastern heritage and Californian upbringing into a languid Vampire Western with a surprising emotional kick. Shot in black and white to die for, with a soundtrack that combines Iranian indie with English post-punk and a series of tie-in comics to follow, Amirpour has created a world to get lost in.”
Feature 2: The Tribe
“A stand-out entry in Cannes last year, this startling debut has provoked strong reactions at every screening since. The story of Sergey, a young man working his way up the ranks of a brutal teenage gang, The Tribe is given added potency by being played out in a deaf boarding school, with all the characters communicating in sign language. There are no subtitles and so gradually we become much more attuned to faces and gestures.” – Read the Gorilla review here.
The Films Of Roy Anderson
25th to 29th March
“As his new feature lands in the UK toting a Golden Lion from Venice, we finally have a chance to stand back and appreciate one of the most singular achievements in European cinema over the last twenty years; Roy Andersson’s ‘living’ trilogy. This is among the first opportunities to view all three films in the same place, alongside a selection of the director’s formative short work.”
Short Films: Family Portraits
A programme of short films in competition at Flatpack, all of them concerned with family. You will get to see Duncan Cowles documentary about him and his grandfather, which also looks at the process and nature of documentary filmmaking in Directed By Tweedie. Coming off the back of a Bafta win, an Oscar nomination and a successful Kickstarter campaign, The Bigger Picture looks at two siblings coping with a dying parent. There’s also Electric Indigo, a fictional work that looks at what ‘modern family’ means.
26th to 29th March
“A dinner with a difference. You are seated at the table with four other diners. You don the Oculus rift goggles, and find yourself plunged into the kind of fraught family situation that Dogme movies used to
specialise in. The food is virtual, but the sense of mounting tension is all too real.
With this immersive new work, presented in the UK for the first time, Danish artists Mads Damsbo and Johan Knattrup Jensen demonstrate the medium’s potential as an entirely new form of cinema. The Doghouse runs every half an hour throughout the weekend.”
I’m A Filmmaker, But I Want To Eat
“A lighthearted but informative look at the realities of the diverse ways we all have to sustain ourselves, as we pursue the passion to make films. Come along and find some inspiration from our guests, and then join us for drinks in the bar.”
This is really only a tiny fragment of what’s on offer over the course of the 10 day festival and we highly recommend you check out the full programme on the Flatpack Festival website.
Gorilla will be at a number of the events, so keep your eyes peeled for coverage of Flatpack 2015 in the near future.