Birmingham’s world renowned Flatpack Film Festival returns from 4-9 April 2017. Famed for its diverse and eclectic programme, the city’s largest and most adventurous film festival prides itself on creating unique and memorable experiences for audiences of all ages.
Now in its 11th year, Flatpack attracts over 14,000 attendees annually and will screen over 200 films across the 6 days. The festival’s boundary-defying cinematic fun and games will span Birmingham’s city centre, with a focus on the Southside district this year.
The festival will open in spectacular style with a launch in famous Birmingham hotel, The Grand. Closed to the public for many years, The Grand’s historic ballroom (which is about to undergo an extensive refurbishment) will return to life for one night only and showcase mesmerising short films from the pioneering filmmaker Segundo de Chomón with a live score by Stephen Horne. The event will also pay homage to some of The Grand’s most illustrious guests including Charlie Chaplin and Winston Churchill.
A celebration of the inimitable filmmaker David Lynch with a series of special events including the UK premiere of the new digital 4K restoration of MULHOLLAND DRIVE, a live rescore of ERASERHEAD by French band Cercueil and an exclusive preview of acclaimed new documentary DAVID LYNCH: THE ART LIFE.
Film industry strand Unpacked will shine a spotlight on the virtual reality (VR) boom and include the UK premiere of THE SHARED INDIVIDUAL, a unique Danish-Swedish live performance piece in which the audience are tele-transported into the perspective of the person on stage. Flatpack will also be partnering with Channel 4’s Random Acts to host a day of Unpacked workshops for emerging artists and filmmakers in the region.
To ‘gongoozle’ is ‘to gaze at canals’ and Gongoozling Day on Saturday 8 April will salute Birmingham’s famous waterways – with everything from underwater family films and boat screenings to the launch of Birmingham-based journalist and broadcaster Alys Fowler’s new book Hidden Nature, charting her kayak voyages around the canal network.
Food and film will play a central role in the festival and Birmingham’s culinary tour de force The Wilderness will create a unique dining experience to accompany BUGS, a documentary which sets out to address the cultural barriers keeping insects off our plates.
AROUND CHINA WITH A MOVIE CAMERA: A JOURNEY FROM BEIJING TO SHANGHAI will explore 50 years of Chinese history with a breathtaking range of historical footage and features a live score by celebrated composer Ruth Chan.
Deborah Pearson will present her poignant comedy documentary HISTORY, HISTORY, HISTORY which uses film and live performance to explore the connect and disconnect between the personal and political.
Optical exhibition Holorama will utilise small-scale dioramas and holographic imaging to recreate iconic scenes from the likes of Twin Peaks, E.T. and The Big Lebowski, all in perfect miniature.
Popular family strand Colour Box will feature a wide range of interactive screenings and activities for younger viewers (aged 4-11), including the Oscar-nominated animated feature MY LIFE AS A COURGETTE.
Matthew Barney’s epic multimedia project THE CREMASTER CYCLE, a series of five feature-length films that explore processes of creation will also receive a rare public screening at Flatpack.
Other programme highlights include:
Music documentary BUNCH OF KUNST which follows Midlands DIY-punk duo Sleaford Mods on their two-year journey from Nottingham bedroom recording sessions to mainstream success.
Indie animation collective Late Night Work Club will showcase their latest short film anthology, STRANGERS showcasing some of the most exciting and innovative animation work from around the globe.
Acclaimed Swedish filmmaker Johannes Nyholm’s debut feature THE GIANT will screen alongside a retrospective of his most memorable shorts.
The Optical Sound strand will showcase the sonic side of cinema and welcome musicians and composers from all over the world to Birmingham. Live AV sets include the UK premiere of Zeno van den Broek’s SHIFT SYMM production and a performance from international artists Kaliber 16 and Mimicof. Music doc FONKO explores 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’s acclaimed Short Film Competition will celebrate short film in all its weird and wonderful permutations and highlight some of the best emerging talent in international filmmaking. The film selected by the jury for the Short Film Award will receive a prize of £1,000.
In early 2016 Flatpack established Flatpack: Assemble, a year-round partnership with the BFI to help build a more thriving, connected film community and pilot new activity across the West Midlands. At this year’s festival the Flatpack: Assemble team will launch Film Camp, a day of panels, talks and workshops exploring the future of film.
Also returning to the festival is MyFlatpack, a 2-day workshop which offers young film and media enthusiasts (aged 16-24) the chance to expand their film horizons and pick up practical skills from leading industry professionals.
Tickets are on sale at www.flatpackfestival.org.uk