23-28 March 2010
2010 was the first and only time we produced a glossy brochure, perhaps in an attempt to look more grown-up, and proceedings kicked off in St Martin’s Church with a beautiful new live score to Murnau’s Sunrise by Conservatoire-trained jazz pianist Alcyona Mick. Our hub was at Vivid on Heath Mill Lane, a little cosier than Floodgate Kino the previous year and most memorably the venue for the masked lederhosen shenanigans of the Uncle Hans-Peter Party.
What really stands out from this year was a couple of brilliant guests. Phlegmatic magician Julien Maire spent two days sat in the corner of the old Central Library, making printed text appear from his finger, and then slayed us with his mind-blowing slideshow-with-a-difference Demi Pas. Dublin collective Synth Eastwood stepped off the plane and hit the ground running, making hundreds of new friends on their travels around the city while also gathering visuals for a Friday night blow-out that featured Clark, Health and Efficiency and cartoon pranksters Gangpol & Mit.
Ben Wheatley came to introduce his first feature Down Terrace, and was very patient while we fannied around with the projection. Morgan Quaintance assembled a night of high camp bad taste including Pink Flamingos and Birmingham legend Twiggy (not the model). Ghost Box’s evening of music and film was a big draw, as were – somewhat surprisingly – the disorientating visions of Takashi Ito. On an archive tip, we doffed our cap to Oscar Deutsch with an Odeon bus tour led by historian Chris Upton. (Chris, a regular Flatpack contributor, died in 2015. It’s still very hard to believe we won’t be able to rope him in for any walking tours or talks in the future.)
Family strand Colour Box made its first appearance, among other attractions offering an Ooglies workshop in vegetable animation. At the opposite end of the spectrum, Dogtooth and Trash Humpers left us with various indelible images. Alum Rock troubadour Stephen Duffy received an overdue tribute from Memory and Desire, while other music docs covered Devendra Banhart, Gruff Rhys, Norwegian metal and the Iranian underground.
PS: this rather downbeat 2010 Guardian piece on Flatpack and Digbeth, in which the festival director admits “I’m not very good at Birmingham PR”, is worth a read.