£: Ticket prices vary, depending on the event
What is it?
Birmingham’s Flatpack Film Festival will take place from Tuesday 4th to Sunday 9th April. The six-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.
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 Deborah Pearson will combine film and live performance in her poignant comedy documentary History History History.
The short film strand is Flatpack’s crowning glory and this year’s programme promises a selection of shorts from across the globe.
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 8th 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; 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.
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 documentary 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.
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 an immersive screening at The Huan Gate in Birmingham’s Chinatown, complete with Chinese finger food and surprise performances.
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.
To ‘gongoozle’ is ‘to gaze at canals’ and Gongoozling Day on Saturday 8th April will salute Birmingham’s famous waterways. Activities will 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.
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 6th to 9th April, and highlights will include family-friendly shorts and a sampling of archive railway footage from the West Midlands.
More info: flatpackfestival.org.uk