1) Everything

In between screenings I can’t think of anything better to do than pop into the hub and play Everything, the new PS4 game by David O’Reilly, the artist whose got Adventure Time to his credits as well as the videogame interface in Spike Jones’ Her. In this game you can be a polar bear, a blade of grass, a streak of light, even a galaxy. In short, everything. It’s ambient and visually stunning, so take advantage of its availability throughout the festival.


2) Fonko

There are some fantastic music documentaries at this year’s festival, and Fonko‘s up there with the best. If you’ve seen the Black Power Mixtape, this will be in a similar style: frenetic, compelling and tied together with raw archive footage that pays attention to the historical, social and political contexts of the music. An altogether heady trip around the sounds and subcultures of almost the entire African continent – and it’s narrated by Neneh Cherry, whose Buffalo Stance never gets old.


3) Ways of Seeing

John Berger was a radical, brilliant thinker whose writings on art remain fresh. More essay-film than documentary, each episode of Ways of Seeing looks at the tradition of Western art in a style both rigorous and accessible. John’s perspective is always refreshing; he gives something new and interesting to take away from each episode, and the way he stares intently at the camera clearly demands the same level of attention from his viewers. You can’t find this calibre of documentary broadcast on the BBC these days – they just don’t make them like that anymore.  Follow up with Ways of Something and you’ll never look at visual art the same way again.


4) Aural Aesthetics

This event brings together two of the best things about Flatpack: weird, experimental short films and the music and sounds that always add a surreal, mood-altering dimension to whatever’s in front of your eyes. I’m mostly excited to catch cult Japanese animator Sawako Kabuki’s latest short film, guaranteed to be off-the-wall, and the original soundtrack by Mica Levi to a sci-fi film about an anti-capitalist resistance group. It might even make up for the loss of Vangelis in the new Blade Runner.


5) The Red Turtle

When has a studio Ghibli film ever disappointed? The breathtaking animation and music alone is sure to be emotionally devastating (in a really good, purifying way).



"An incredible mix of film and music for all ages." - The Times
"A treasure trove of a festival" – Sight and Sound
"Magnificently eclectic" – Time Out
"This festival is really like no other, with an incredible line-up of amazing screenings and events for grown-ups and kids alike." - Anorak
"Joyously inventive" - Guardian
"Britain’s most exciting and innovative film festival" – Lonely Planet
"Like the perfect mixtape…you’re not quite sure how or why the selection works, but that is what makes it so magical" – Electric Sheep
"It's like being shown really cool stuff by a good friend who thinks you might like to see it." - Audience member
"Flatpack has gained a well deserved reputation as an innovative film festival with an imaginative output" – Film Four
"I came away totally inspired, both by Birmingham and by Flatpack. One of the best festivals I’ve ever been to." - Ken Freedman, WFMU
"The festival feels like an essential component in Birmingham’s cultural life, bringing new talent and the city itself to light." - The Quietus
"The best programming on the planet." - Canadian curator Kier-la Janisse
"Independent, quirky, intelligent, innovative, amusing and relaxed - nothing else like it." - Audience member