Fancy discovering a whole host of new films, from animation to documentaries? Well, you’re in luck as this year’s Flatpack Film Festival is about to kick off.
Flatpack 2021 will see a four-month season of events, beginning on Friday 21st May. There’ll be a full-to-bursting programme with some of the best filmmaking from around the globe.
Some of the highlights will include a BAFTA-award qualifying short film competition, with more than 30 UK premieres, and a feature and documentary film programme. The festival will feature artist portrait documentary Tomorrow is Saturday about the life of Seán Hillen. And the incredible animated feature Kill it and Leave This Town. Oh, and there’s the long-awaited Birmingham Central library documentary Paradise Lost.
Some of the quirkier special events will include guest comedian commentators, beer and film pairings and a life modelling class.
In 2020, Flatpack adapted their physical festival programme in order to give us Flatpack Festival: the Home Entertainment Edition. And this year they’re continuing to roll with the punches. So, 2021 will see a long season of events, both online and outdoors. All being well, some events will also take place in Birmingham cinemas and auditoriums.
This new film season will return with a playful, thought-provoking assortment of screenings and special events, tailored for a virtual environment. You’re invited to explore new ways of experiencing the festival. From short films over breakfast, to film and drink pairings — you’ll be joining a worldwide community connected through film.
What’s going on at this year’s Flatpack?
Academy Award Nominee Sam Green is known for his innovative live documentaries, having collaborated with bands such as Yo La Tengo, Fugazi, and Kronos Quartet. He’s currently working on a new project with JD Samson (Le Tigre) called 32 Sounds. But in the process they have created something like a cross between a radio documentary, a sound walk and ASMR. And you’re encouraged to listen to 7 Sounds in bed, whilst Sam and JD take you on a sonic journey exploring some of the most fascinating sounds your ears will ever hear.
Together with Birmingham International Dance Festival and independent curator and filmmaker Sima Gonsai, Flatpack are presenting two programmes of short films. And the winner of the brand new Screendance Award will be announced at Flatpack’s awards ceremony on the closing weekend.
Colour Box is the festival’s family strand. And it features the best short films from around the world. This year it’ll feature the UK premiere of the Mexican animated feature A Costume for Nicholas. It’s about a young boy with Down’s Syndrome, who helps his cousin overcome his frequent nightmares through a series of otherworldly Studio Ghibli-esque adventures.
And Flatpack more events
Voices from Isolation
Sonita Gale’s feature documentary Voices from Isolation reveals the vast social and economic inequalities in our system that have been further exposed by the pandemic. Focusing in particular on how it has revealed the need for reform in the way our Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities are valued. A work-in-progress screening will be followed by a discussion featuring the director, social commentator Patrick Vernon, and Windrush campaigner Paulette Wilson’s daughter Natalie Barnes.
Over the last year, American technologist and co-founder of XOXO Festival Andy Baio, has been working tirelessly on a brand new project. It’s a playful virtual space for online events called Skittish. Flatpack will be the first UK festival to make use of the technology, making sure the online experience of the festival still has a strong social element.
Trash Film Night
Birmingham’s irregular Trash Film Night features hosts David and Luke. And you can enjoy a special guest comedian, talking you through the very best bits of one of the very worst films ever made.
Short Film Beer Pairing
Teaming up with independent brewery DigBrew, Flatpack have curated a selection of classic short films paired with some fine beverages. Enjoy a pint of the very special Waka / Jawak (named after Frank Zappa’s fourth album) whilst feasting your eyes on the mind-melting work of Zappa’s collaborator Bruce Bickford.
Produced during the first lockdown in 2020, Nude Triumphant is a short film that combines painting from life with experimental digital animation. Produced by a community of Queer and intersectional life models and artists, the film encourages us to pause and reflect, discovering our unique identities in stillness and building a healthier relationship with time and with ourselves. After the screening, there will be a life modelling class hosted by Professor Jo Calderwood.
When: 21st – 31st May 2021
Where: Online and outdoors, and at cinemas across Birmingham (COVID-19 restrictions permitting, of course)
£: Festival passes cost from £5 to £20. Individual tickets are also available for events
More info: flatpackfestival.org.uk/flatpack-2021