When: 13th – 22nd April 2018
Where: At Venues across Birmingham
£: Ticket prices vary, depending on the event. A festival pass costs £85. Some events are free
What is it?
A one-of-a-kind film fiesta, the critically acclaimed Flatpack Festival returns to Birmingham this spring for its twelfth annual edition.
A ten-day event that has carved out a unique place in the UK’s film and arts scene, Flatpack 2018 brings together a magnificently eclectic line-up spanning the city with more than 100 events, taking place at 20 different venues. With everything from animated sushi and a paper cinema, to Swedish witchcraft and the Solihull underground, this year’s Flatpack will draw together a packed week of screenings, performances, exhibitions, parties and special guests.
Highlights will include a rare screening of 1922 Swedish silent oddity HÄXAN, with live narration by Reece Shearsmith and musical accompaniment by Stephen Horne at Birmingham Town Hall on 17th April; and a series of ‘live animation’ performances from Paper Cinema, who will be using their unique blend of cardboard cut-outs and live music to present a vivid take on Macbeth at Birmingham Hippodrome, from 19th to 21st April.
Further highlights will include the 1925 circus drama and box office smash Variety, which will screen accompanied by a live performance of trapeze, acrobatics and physical theatre; and a live soundtrack by Stephen Horne and Martin Pyne. Alfred Hitchcock’s silent classic The Lodger will screen with a brand new live jazz score by the Meg Morley Trio at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire on 21st April.
To mark fifty years since 1968, Flatpack will be devoting its first weekend to an eye-opening, city-straddling series of exhibitions and events, delving into a turbulent but culturally fertile time for the city. Whilst the world turned its gaze to the triumphs and tragedies of the burgeoning anti-Vietnam war and civil rights movements, unrest in Europe and famine in Africa; Birmingham played host to Enoch Powell’s ‘Rivers of Blood’ speech, the birth of Black Sabbath and student occupations across the city.
The Birmingham ‘68 anniversary programme will take a stroll through the Solihull school days of Genesis P-Orridge, reconstruct lost streets of Balsall Heath using the photography of Janet Mendelsohn, and revisit the psychedelic music hub, Mothers. It will also present an event focusing on The Double Zero Motorbike Club, formed in a dilapidated Digbeth church by maverick vicar David Collyer; and special guest Academy Award-winning cinematographer Chris Menges, will reflect on one of his first jobs in cinema, shooting Lindsay Anderson’s seminal If…
Elsewhere in the festival, Optical Sound will highlight the very best in audio-visual experimentation in a packed weekend of live events and screenings, including a fertile crop of music documentaries and the launch of new artist development programme Waveform.
The festival will also bring together a host of special guests from the world of AV; US-based visual and sound artist Rose Kallal, Japanese installation and performance artist Rie Nakajima, and French live cinema and visual effects extraordinaires Nominoë.
For families, Colour Box will return this year with an eclectic bundle of film screenings, experiences and hands-on activities. Expect international animated short films, large-scale zoetropes, flipbook workshops, synthesiser zones, VR for kids, Moomin puppet-making and smartphone projector building.
Flatpack events take many forms, but some things are still best enjoyed on a big screen in the dark. The bulk of this year’s Screening Programme will be at the century-old Electric Cinema and more recent film venue arrival, the Mockingbird. Treats in store range from animation to documentary, experimental work to late-night schlock; and include the UK premiere of Serge Bozon’s Madame Hyde followed by a Q&A with the director, the world premiere of Moments of Darkness by Andrew Walker and Manjeet S. Gill, and the charming documentary Spettacolo by Jeff Malmberg and Chris Shellen.
Further screenings will include the UK premiere of acclaimed Iranian drama A Man of Integrity (dir: Mohammad Rasoulof); The Wound (dir: John Trengove), a South African drama presented in partnership with nascent queer film organisation CineQ; and The Eyeslicer, the first UK festival to show this selection of shorts in its entirety (ten hours) all made by young independent American filmmakers and animators.
This year’s festival programme also includes feature previews, prize-winning documentaries, experimental film, late night parties, installations and walking tours exploring the city’s hidden treasures.
More info: 2018.flatpackfestival.org.uk