Flatpack is a festival which takes over venues across Birmingham every spring. It draws people from far and wide with a mixture of films, performances, contraptions and surprises, and has been described as “magnificently eclectic” (Time Out), “joyously inventive” (the Guardian) and “the UK’s most creatively curated film festival” (the Independent).
But Flatpack is not just a festival – it’s also a state of mind. Actually, that’s overstating it, but it’s not confined to one time or place. The annual event was spawned from the year-round antics of 7 Inch Cinema, originally a mixed-media filmnight at the Rainbow pub in Digbeth. This grew to embrace inflatable cinema-tents, archive detective-work and DVD compilations, and ten years on we continue to produce our own projects and provide guest programming for others throughout the year. Recent collaborators have included Home of Metal, Green Man Festival, First Light, Birmingham International Dance Festival and the Independent Cinema Office.
The kind of work we put on depends upon the project, but recurring themes include animation, music, artists’ film, archive discoveries, offbeat shorts for kids and live cinema. We are firm believers in creating a sense of occasion, exploring the fertile territory where film bumps up against other artforms, and showing people things they might not otherwise have seen.
Flatpack is a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (no.1162754) and a member of Birmingham Festivals.
Unit 118, The Custard Factory
Birmingham B9 4AA
Tel: 0121 771 1509
Ian Francis (Director)
As a restless Shropshire teenager I was first drawn to Birmingham in the mid-90s by Oscillate’s legendary clubnights, and then moved here to work on the city’s Film and TV Festival. Their fast-fold screen gave me a taste for pop-up screenings, and when I left I took the screen with me. (It’s still here in the office. It’s a bit battered now.) I set up a regular Digbeth event in 2003 called 7 Inch Cinema, and out of this grew Flatpack and much more besides. As well as making things happen I also enjoy baking and writing, and have published pieces with Sight and Sound, Little White Lies and Electric Sheep.
Abbe Elliston (Operations Manager)
After graduating in music and spending a slightly aimless year moving to Scotland and back, I found myself starting a career in Operations. This turned out to be a great fit and I’ve spent the last 7 years managing all aspects of events and attractions in both the private and not-for-profit sectors. I now spend my days making sure everything runs smoothly here at Flatpack by managing the finances, governance and operations, and looking after the team (which includes fulfilling the vital role of snack provider).
Sam Groves (Programmer)
Staying up late one night watching C4’s Shooting Gallery series, I came across the short film Music for Six Drummers and One Apartment
. Unknowingly I became an exhibitor, showing the film to everyone I knew. Fifteen years on and with a little more understanding of curation and exhibition, I’m still showing films to people, as well as putting on all manner of mixed arts events as Flatpack’s programmer. Over the last decade I’ve also curated the moving image strand of what was the UK’s largest free arts festival Artsfest, and set up my own exhibition organisation KINO 10.
Amy Smart (Assemble Project Manager)
After studying film at university (with aspirations to be the next Sofia Coppola) I accidentally ended up managing a small college for several years, developing the arts provision in and around the Black Country, before making the transition to film when I joined mac Birmingham in 2010. As part of the producing team I managed mac’s independent cinema programme until spring 2016 after which I joined Flatpack Projects to head up Assemble
, a BFI-funded project working with the Film Audience Network to help build a more thriving film community in the West Midlands region.