As we prepare to bid farewell to 2023 we’re taking a moment to reflect on the joyful moments and incredible people that got us through it.
This year’s Flatpack Festival was a beautiful medley of film, music, tech, dance, science, games… we could go on.
Among our many highlights was unveiling an incredible new live score for Dziga Vertov’s Man with a Movie Camera by Ukrainian composers Roksana Smirnova and Misha Kalinin alongside Brum’s own Sarah Farmer.
"Was amazed at the live score! Beautiful film and amazing musicians. Loved it!" - Man with a Movie Camera audience member
We continue to be delighted by events that guest programmers bring to the festival each year, and this was no exception. 2023's programme included an immersive look at Queer living, a joyous Ghanaian game and a deep dive into British industrial action via archive documentary and discussion.
If you have a film event you'd like to propose for next year, check out our Open Call.
Twenty years of 7 inch
The first seedlings of Flatpack Festival were sown in June 2003, when a new film night launched at the recently-rejuvenated Rainbow pub in Digbeth. This year marked 20 years of screening strange films in unlikely places. We celebrated with a throwback evening of locally made shorts alongside pre-youtube online discoveries, archive oddities, DJs and live scores.
These are just a few or our best bits. Relive the magic via the two minute video below. And make sure next year’s dates are in the diary; we'll be bringing ten whole days of filmgoing fun to Birmingham 10-19 May 2024.
Film and Spoken Word
The meeting of film and spoken word has yielded some powerful results in recent years, and Birmingham is home to no end of talent in both disciplines. We worked with The Gap Arts Project’s Culture Collective on a couple of events this year bringing together poetry, film, free food and creative workshops. Each event was real nourishment for the soul.
"It was amazing, such a valuable sense of community and shared experience" - Cinema of Poetry audience member
We packed in a lot of al fresco cinema this year. Folk and aquatic horror at Dudley Castle, forest sprites and cat buses at Botanical Gardens and free neighbourhood events in parks across Birmingham. The scene setting and wraparound activity made these events extra special, whether that be spoken word and live music or beautiful lighting projections combined with atmospheric soundtracks.
Our cinema heritage work continues, digitising amazing collections and oral histories and adding cinemas and stories to the Wonderland website.
The big news is we've just launched a new, funded, collaborative doctoral award exploring Birmingham’s suburban cinema stories - watch this space, exciting things to come.
Our project exploring sensory film experiences for people with complex disabilities culminated in six days of touching, smelling and feeling our way through short films at TouchBase Pears in Selly Oak. Artist, theatre-maker and touch screen co-designer Sarah Hamilton Baker will continue to deliver sessions at Midlands Arts Centre next year, and we can't wait to see how the project will continue to develop.
We've loved spending our first Sunday of every month with families in the cinema at Midlands Arts Centre. And we've been very impressed by all of your crafty creations. The first few screenings of 2024 are on sale now, see you in the new year!
The Unsung Stars of Gone to Earth
Towards the end of the year we took a trip to Flatpack director Ian's hometown of Much Wenlock. As part of the BFI's season of Powell & Pressburger films, we delved into one of their lesser known works - Gone to Earth, a 1950s film adapted from the work of local author Mary Webb that features Wenlock and many other Shropshire locations in glorious Technicolor.
As well as screening the film to a packed out village hall (with a few of the film's extras in the audience), we commissioned artist and filmmaker Brian Harley to create a new short film delving into this untold cinema story.
A huge thanks to everyone who joined us on our filmgoing adventures this year.