Regular viewers may know that we’ve always had a soft spot for the Black Country. Much as we love Birmingham its flat sprawl can get a bit much at times, so the higgledy-piggledy nature of Tipton, Cradley, Dudley and the like makes for a nice contrast. A good mix of urban and rural; canal rides; cheap beer; friendly people. When we were asked to pull together a summer season of pop-up film events in the area, it took about two seconds to say yes.
So, for all you folks who aren’t gallivanting in Marbella this August, do consider one of these events – many of them are free. Stand-out moments include an exclusive chance to see the new BBC4 doc from Smethwick-forged auteur Billy Dosanjh, and a full day of screenings at West Brom Town Hall which culminates in Buster Keaton’s The General. As part of the latter, Dawinder Bansal is planning to create an authentic South Asian living room experience — you might remember her reminiscing about her video-shop upbringing at Flatpack this year:
There’s also no shortage of family screenings, including wildlife-themed shorts at RSPB Sandwell Valley, and having been knocked out by the talent and commitment of Dudley College’s media students at their recent awards show we thought a wider audience should see their work. Capping the whole thing off, it’s a particular joy to get after-hours access to Dudley Zoo and Castle. Make your way through the trees, past the flamingos, owls and meerkats, up the hill to the castle keep which becomes an al fresco cinema for the night. Our feature presentation: camp horror classic Bride of Frankenstein, directed by pioneering filmmaker (and son of a Dudley blast-furnaceman) James Whale.