Flatpack Projects
Film, and then some

What?!

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.

Where

Flatpack Projects
Unit 304, The Custard Factory
Gibb St
Digbeth
Birmingham B9 4AA

Email: info@flatpackfestival.org.uk
Telephone: 0121 771 1509

Who

Ian Francis

Director

Ian Francis

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

Abbe Elliston

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

Sam Groves

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

Partnerships & Interventions Manager

Amy Smart

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 Flatpack's year round activity under the banner of Film Hub Midlands, a BFI-funded project working with the Film Audience Network to help build a more thriving film community in the region.

Grace Chapman

Marketing Coordinator

Grace Chapman

Whilst studying for my degrees at the universities of Leicester and Birmingham, I spent most of my spare moments volunteering at local arts organisations and festivals, meeting fabulous people, having amazing experiences and introducing me to the wacky, creative world of Flatpack! At the end of my master's, I was lucky enough to earn a place onto the University of Birmingham's Cultural Internship Scheme at Flatpack and spent the next 7 months with them as their Marketing Assistant. The whole experience was an absolute treat and taught me a lot and hey, I must have done something right because this lovely lot decided to keep me around as Flatpack's year-round Marketing Coordinator!

Lucy Hill

Project Assistant

Lucy Hill

A weird and wonderful path led me to life at Flatpack in December 2017. After graduating from the University of Bristol with a degree in Spanish in 2013, I moved to Iceland, where I worked for various festivals and musicians and did a lot of growing up. After a few years of loads of snow and cold summers, I decided to make my return to the Midlands, and the rest is history. I'm a massive fan of foreign-language films, the Queer Eye cast and my cat, Sasha Velour.

Keenia Dyer-Williams

Marketing Assistant

Keenia Dyer-Williams

During my time at The University of Birmingham, any moment I could grab away from assignments was spent either creating art or writing about it. After graduating in English & Creative Writing and temporarily wondering what in the world I was going to do with my degree, I found myself in a marketing internship during the summer. This was my 'AHA!' moment when I realised marketing was right up my street, ultimately leading me to the Cultural Intern scheme and to being the new addition to the Flatpack family!