What to expect at the Flatpack Film Festival

On 20th March, for the eighth consecutive year, Greater Birmingham proudly welcomes the Flatpack Film Festival.

On 20th March, for the eighth consecutive year, Greater Birmingham proudly welcomes the Flatpack Film Festival. A unique and urban celebration of everything that is ‘Film,’ Flatpack has developed from a monthly film night in a Digbeth pub to the embodiment of a 2014 scene that will provide the definition of young, contemporary inspiration.

This year features the most provocative programme, with the boundaries of film once again being pushed, and that multidisciplinary approach the core of the film festival means that there is stimulation for every creative.  

Kettle’s opening night selection is the Sellotape Cinema knees-up, taking over the upstairs of the Old Royal complete with DJ’s and sellotape projectors providing multiple visuals. Lessons in sticky films and doodling on mechanical drawing machines provides the best chance for any artist to expand their practice in a way incomparable to those of your contemporaries.

A weekend of highlights

Highly recommended is the Fleapit Cinema—three days of exclusive QR code cinema. Scan the code, open curtain, take control, immerse in film. Also competing for opening night’s highly recommended is It Happened One Night, with Opus Restaurant serving two courses from their season market menu to precede the screening of the first film to win all five major Academy Awards.

See the film that kicked off a 75 per cent decline in vest sales over the multiple award-winning cuisine.

Festival Highlights include a dive straight into the new season with Birmingham-On-Sea, an investigation into the local fascination with water. David Rowan gives privileged access to the River Rae at the MAC, whilst Handsworth poet Roy Fisher converts waterways into words. The Sonic Salon includes a hydrophone demonstration and curator Bryony Dixon takes us back, exploring cinema’s obsession with Rough Seas and Unquiet Waters.

Live cinema takes up home in Birmingham Cathedral, with the exclusive and stunning rescoring of Nosferatu. Continuing film’s love affair with classical instrumentation, an ensemble from the Birmingham Conservatoire will accompany Joris Ivens’ short documentary Rain.

Performance art at the Flatpack Film Festival is more attractive than words can do justice. Shadow puppets blend with modern life in Miwa Matreyek’s digital trickery whilst local collective Sellotape Cinematurn the ordinary into extraordinary and cordially invite you to attend stationary spun into gold.

On the animation side, look into history with a programme of works by Saul Bass and access to selected cartoons from America’s UPA studios. 

Chaplin shines

Take a trip to the Birmingham and Midland Institute to see Adam Elliot’s Mary and Max – the story of two pen pals. One is an eight year old girl in the Melbourne Suburbs voiced by Toni Collette, and the other is an obese New Yorker wish Asperger’s Syndrome voiced by the late Phillip Seymour Hoffman. This 2009 film is the unsung hero of human interest animation, exploring disability in a way which Hollywood couldn’t begin to dream of.

Showings not to be missed include The Strange Colour of Your Body’s Tears, screening on the 22nd at the Electric Cinema. Husband and wife Bruno Forzani and Héléne Cattet stun with a sexuality driven terror ridden story of one man’s search for an explanation of the inexplicable disappearance of his wife from their labryinthe apartment block.

Also showing at the Electric cinema is the Patema Inverted, directed by Yasuhiro Youshiura – a charming tale of the girl living underground because gravity works up, not down, and her ventures into the ‘Danger Zone,’ with Age – living under the opposite forces. This award winning skewed anime is a masterpiece not to be missed.

True film fans would do well to venture to the Old Joint Stock Theatre and participate in the tribute to the legend that his Charlie Chaplin. His first screen debut was in 1914, and 100 years on Flatpack are showing three Mutual Studio shorts, Easy Street, The Adventurer and, of course, The Vagabond.

Take in the surroundings in city’s most beautiful theatre, and follow it on with a trip to the nearby historic Margaret Street School of Art for Companis Presents… A Scintillating Synaesthetic Supper.

The revolution will be creative

Taking Flatpack’s commitment to the multidisciplinary even further, food artists Companis offer a multisensory experience of a meal inspired by the structuralist approach to filmmaking and neural phenomenon of synaesthesia. Companis present a tasting menu that means you can see, taste, and hear colour as its being made. Opportunities like this do not present themselves often, do not miss it.

The Flatpack Film Festival provides the alternative route-map to Birmingham for visitors to the city, with walking tours, installations and pop-up screenings in hidden gems across the city. International artists and special guests feature on the line up from as far afield as LA and Tokyo, and the COLOURBOX strand (family access to film) brings interactivity to younger viewers – however, featuring cult sensation ‘Adventure Time’ is proof that Flatpack Film is for everyone.

Further programme highlights include Re-Animating a Dead Python at the Birmingham City University School of Art and Songs and Dances of Death at the Great Western Arcade. Look out for secret screenings on the 22nd March, and clues on getting the password to exclusive access.

Ticket prices range from Free to around £12, providing affordability and access that no other art scene in the UK can provide. Be a part of the 2014 creative revolution!

Tickets and details of the full programme can be found here. Are you going? What are you looking forward to? Have your say in the comments section below.