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All you need to know about Flatpack Film Festival 2015

The city's annual festival of quirky film, workshops and installations takes place from March 19-29 at various venues across the city

Flatpack Film Festival 2015 offers a packed programme of film, installations, parties, workshops, pop-up screenings and even more films over 11 days.

Running from March 19-29 it will pack in 120 events at 30 venues.

This year’s main highlights include:

  • Celluloid City – the launch of a project mapping and exploring the history of the silver screen in the second city.
  • Live Cinema – the festival rethinks the cinema experience yet again: shows include Paper Cinema’s live animation take on the Odyssey.
  • Tribute to Philip Donnellan who made a series of raw-edged documentaries about people rarely given a voice on television when he was based at the BBC in Birmingham during the 60s and 70s.

Founder Ian Francis says: “Film is always a good entry point to other things.

“If anybody wants a different audience for their venue or project, that’s part of our business.

“As ever, the variety of this year’s programme is also reflected in the venues, from cafes and art spaces to a century-old cinema and a 300-year-old cathedral.

“We kick off in the Jewellery Quarter, occupy the city centre over the first weekend, amble eastwards for the mid-week Swipeside focus and come to a rest at the Flatpack hub in Digbeth.

“Everyone who visits the festival will pick their own path through the cultural undergrowth.”

One thing’s for sure: there’s so much on that nobody will be able to see it all.

What's on at Flatpack Festival

Walk Cheerfully, St Paul’s Church.

Thursday, March 19 7pm-9pm (£10-£7).

A 1930 Japanese spin on a classic gangster tale, following small-time hood Kenji (aka Ken the Knife) and his doomed attempts at going straight.

Between Us: Birmingham Portraits, Unit 13, Great Western Arcade.

Friday, March 20 (also March 21) 11am-6pm. Free.

Inspired by the street photography tradition, moving image artist Geoff Broadway has created a spellbinding portrait of the people of Birmingham with this 25-minute film shot entirely in slow motion. Geoff will discuss his work in the space at 4pm on Saturday, March 21.

Man With A Movie Camera, Birmingham Cathedral.

Saturday, March 21 7.30pm-9.15pm.

Dziga Vertov’s 1929 Russian film is a hymn to the cinema. Seats magically lower themselves into an empty auditorium for the audience, light bursts through the lens and then we’re off... racing behind a daredevil cameraman as he attempts to capture all of humanity. Recently voted the best documentary of all time by Sight and Sound, it will be accompanied by Paul Shallcross on piano.

Flatpack Film Festival Man With A Movie Camera, Birmingham Cathedral, Saturday, March 21
Man With A Movie Camera, Birmingham Cathedral, Saturday, March 21

Celluloid City

The Barber Institute of Fine Arts. Sunday, March 22. Noon-4pm Free.

Flatpack is preparing to develop a history of Birmingham and its cinemas – during the 1940s there were more than 100 in a city which gave the world celluloid and what remains Europe’s largest cinema chain, the Odeon group. The Barber plays host to an afternoon of free screenings, including The Last Projectionist documentary by Tom Lawes, owner of The Electric Cinema.

Ink and Pixels

Birmingham City University at Parkside.

Monday, March 23. 6.30pm-8pm. Free.

This taster for Made You Look, a forthcoming documentary about the UK graphic arts scene, this session will ask whether it’s possible to have a creative career in the internet age without the trappings of the internet.

Communicating with Puppets, Birmingham City University at Parkside.

Tuesday, March 24 and Wednesday, March 25 10am-5.30pm. Free (deposit required).

Cartoon d’Or winners Emma de Swaef and Marc Roels lead a two-day workshop in which participants explore the intricacy of micro-acting with puppets. Limited places. Advance booking only.

Standby For Tape Backup, mac Birmingham.

Wednesday, March 25. 8pm-9.30pm (£12 / £10).

Ross Sutherland found a videotape in his loft two years ago which contained one and a half films, one quiz show and two sitcoms. Find out how it became the story of his life.

Interactive Filmmaking Workshop.

The Bond, Digbeth. March 26. 10am-4pm (£25 + VAT).

A day long session exploring Interlude’s Treehouse, an authoring app with the tools to create your own projects. Limited places – for more information and to sign up, visit sheffdocfest.com/workshops

I’m A Filmmaker, But I Want To Eat.

The Mockingbird at the Custard Factory, March 27 6pm-8pm. Free.

A lighthearted, informative way at the realities of the way those with a passion to make films have to try to sustain themselves at the same time. Details: producersforum.org.uk

Uncle Tony, the Three Fools and the Secret Service.

The Electric Cinema – Screen 2. March 28. 8pm-10pm, £8 / £6.

The story of an unsung filmmaker Antony Trayanov behind the worldwide success of 1970s’ Bulgarian animation. A fascinating tale of authorship and survival, complete with the film’s directors Mina Mileva and Vesela Kazakova talking about their experiences making the film.

A Pigeon on a Branch Reflecting on Existence, MAC Birmingham.

March 29. 5.30pm-7.20pm. £8/£6.

Winner of the Golden Lion at Venice, this is the concluding film in a trilogy by Swedish filmmaker Roy Andersson.

Following on from Songs From The Second Floor (Fri 27, 6pm-7.45pm, Electric Cinema, £8 / £6) – with a score by ABBA’s Benny Andersson) – and You The Living (Sat 28, 1pm-2.40pm, Electric Cinema, £8/6), this is one of the first opportunities to see all three films in one place.

  • On Wed 25, there is also Roy Andersson: Shorts and Commercials showing from 6pm-7.20pm at the Electric Cinema, £8 / £6.

An Andersson pass costs £25: details from www.flatpackfestival.org.uk/shop

Flatpack Film Festival The Amusement Park, daily exhibition at BCU Parkside, March 16-28
The Amusement Park, daily exhibition at BCU Parkside, March 16-28

ONGOING EVENTS

The Amusement Park

BCU Parkside & Millennium Point, March 16-28. Daily 9am-6pm. Free.

An exhibition exploring the relationship between animation and interactivity.

AVA Exhibition: Seeing Sound

Ort Cafe, March 21-22, 11am-5pm. Free.

An exhibition of audio visual arts, with a focus on the history of Visual Music and Live Cinema.

The Cloud Is More Air Than Water

Conservatoire, March 23-27, 10am-10pm. Free.

Video piece investigating the mechanical nature and acoustic ecology of Data Centres and internet storage systems.

Beethoven’s 5th

Conservatoire, March 23-27, 10am-10pm. Free.

Emily Wright plays all of the parts on unusual instruments in a work that’s reminiscent of Buster Keaton’s The Playhouse.

The Doghouse

Stryx @ MW (Minverva Works, Fazeley St), March 26-29, times vary. £4. Cross City Walks, Upstairs@Centralla, March 27-29, 3pm-8pm. Free.

Sit at a table, put some goggles on and you’ll see some virtual food in a set-up created by Danish artists Mads Damsbo and Knattrup Jensen to explore a fraught family situation, Dogme style.

Sellotape Cinema: Flicker Skitter Stumble

Flatpack Kavarna @ MW, Minerva Works, Fazeley St. Noon-4pm. Free.

A hands-on workshop creating collisions of image, light and movement.

DIY Sci-Fi

Custard Factory, March 28-29, 11am-4pm. Free.

Digbeth-based model-makers Trevor Boddington and Steven Woodhouse (aka ‘2 Art Toy Guys) have been using recycled materials to create amazing miniature worlds for years, now they’ve branched out into filmmaking. Throughout the weekend, they will be taking over a shop at the Custard Factory to show some of their recent work, including sci-fi short The Mist From Planet X, alongside a selection of DIY props and models.

Flatpack Film Festival will run from March 19-29, 2015.

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