Published on 05/04/18

Flatpack Festival Reveals Full Programme

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 in over 100 events, taking place at 20 different venues. With everything from animated sushi to Paper Cinema, from Swedish witchcraft to the Solihull underground, this year’s Flatpack will draw together a jam-packed week of screenings, performances, exhibitions, parties, special guests and more.

Running from 13-22 April, this year’s festival is bigger than ever. Headline events include:

  • A rare screening of 1922’s Swedish silent oddity HÄXAN with live narration by Reece Shearsmith and musical accompaniment by Stephen Horne. (Birmingham Town Hall, 17 April).
  • A series of ‘live animation’ performances from Paper Cinema, who after an acclaimed run in Edinburgh will be using their unique blend of cardboard cut-outs and live music to present a vivid take on MACBETH (Birmingham Hippodrome, 19-21 April).
  • The 1925 circus drama and box office smash VARIETY will screen accompanied by a live performance of trapeze, acrobatics and physical theatre by RoguePlay Theatre Company; with a live soundtrack by Stephen Horne and Martin Pyne (RoguePlay Theatre, 20 April).
  • Alfred Hitchcock’s silent classic THE LODGER will screen with a brand new live jazz score by the Meg Morley Trio (Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, 21 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 among a number of special guests Academy Award-winning cinematographer CHRIS MENGES will reflect on one of his first jobs in cinema – shooting Lindsay Anderson’s seminal If… and Jim Henson’s YOUTH ‘68 and THE CUBE get a rare outing too. Plus, on Friday 13 April there will be an evening with Graham Williams, captain of the 1968 FA Cup winning West Bromwich Albion side.

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.

The ever-popular family strand COLOUR BOX will return this year with an eclectic bundle of film screenings, experiences and hands-on activities. Expect the very best selection of international animated short films, large-scale zoetropes, flipbook workshops, synthesiser zones, VR for kids, Moomin puppet-making, smartphone projector building, and much more.

Children’s television guru, ANNE WOOD will appear at the Midlands Arts Centre to discuss her incredible career producing and creating such iconic shows as Teletubbies, In the Night Garden, and Rosie and Jim. As the founder of Ragdoll Productions she has brought numerous well-loved characters to younger viewers since the 1980s, receiving multiple awards along the way.

UNPACKED, Flatpack’s successful creative industries strand, focused on the art of making, fettling and creating, is this year all about the art of fabrication. A day-long programme of demonstrations, workshops, and talks will feature Oscar-nominee and BAFTA-winner Daisy Jacobs whose latest short film screens in competition and Austrian architect and media artist Anna Vasof presenting her playful animated video experiments along with installation piece Self-Portrait.

Flatpack events may 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 include;

  • Pin Cushion (dir: Deborah Haywood) one of the first UK screenings of this feted new British comedy, followed by a Q&A with director
  • A Man of Integrity (dir: Mohammad Rasoulof) UK premiere of an acclaimed Iranian drama
  • The Wound (dir: John Trengove) South African drama presented in partnership with nascent queer film organisation CineQ
  • The Eyeslicer (dir: Various) the first UK festival to show this selection of shorts in its entirety (10 hours) all made by young independent American filmmakers and animators.

The full Flatpack programme includes feature previews, prize-winning documentaries, experimental film, late night parties, exhibitions, installations and walking tours exploring the city’s hidden treasures. Impartial observers have described it as “the best week of the year to be in Birmingham”.

To find out more and book your place visit Twitter: @flatpack