Flatpack Festival
Film for all the senses

Flatpack Festival 2024: Staff Picks

Wednesday 20th March, 2024

With the festival less than two months away, members of Team Flatpack share what they're most looking forward to...

Dani Mercier, Front of House Manager
There are three event highlights for me:

Gremlins - Gremlins aren't just for Christmas. More cinemas should put Gizmo on the big screen in May.

Usaginingen - coming all the way from Japan, it would be a shame to miss this amazing audio-visual performance.

Mean Girls - slightly biased... but as I'm putting this event together I can promise this is the perfect way to watch this classic sleepover film.

Abbe Elliston, Head of Operations
Most looking forward to Nan Wang: Hue Shift.

It's no secret that our Optical Sound events are always a festival highlight for me. I'm greedy so I would like to recommend them all, but Nan Wang's Hue Shift stands out as offering the kind of immersive experience I love. Wrap me up in an audiovisual cocoon, mind wandering wherever the sound and visuals take me? Yes please. That's my kind of meditation.

Juwariyyah Wali, Project Administrator
I'd most like to highlight the film R21: aka Restoring Solidarity + Bint Mbareh's audio performance.

The preservation of Palestinian culture and identity is vital now more than ever as we seek to maintain a spirit of hope and resistance in the face of genocide and cultural erasure. Shout out to programmer Maria Paradinas for bringing this to the festival. While this might be tinged with bias (as I programmed it) - I'm also looking forward to South Asian Solarpunk and bringing artist Seema Mattu to the festival. Plus the amazing open call events Chinese Queers; Diasporic Dykes and Praise Train!

Max Harding, Shorts Programmer
Most looking forward to: Best of the Web: Haha, You Clowns + Bigtop Burger

At work when I’m programming shorts, I spend a lot of time watching very prestigious and award winning short films. But at home, I generally just watch hours and hours of YouTube videos, so when a chance arose to show a few of my faves I couldn’t say no. Haha, You Clowns and Bigtop Burger are the kinds of shows that can only come from the minds of animators, and they’re really something to behold.

Hannah Hogben, Festival Producer
Most excited about three events, for different reasons.

People Like Us & The Light Surgeons - feast for the senses

Dots & Loops with Spencer Jones - dose o'funny

Usaginingen - taste of the theatrical

Ian Francis, Director
Also couldn't settle on just one festival highlight.

Movie Mahal – we’ve been working with the Hindu temple in Sparkbrook for a couple of years now, and I can’t wait to share Sima and Joe’s new film about the family who used to run the cinema there.

Speaking Back – the kind of speculative experiment that Flatpack was made for, throwing spoken word and film together to see what might happen.

While The Green Grass Grows – probably my favourite film in this year's lineup, folding together grief, Covid and the natural world in a wonderfully open, thoughtful way. Honourable mentions to The Taste of Mango and Chicken for Linda!

Amy Smart, Head of Partnerships
Most excited about Carrie, The Before Trilogy and Dr Caligari.

Carrie - this classic high school horror easily remains the best adaptation of a Stephen King novel (sorry, Shawshank and Shining groupies) - throw in a prom at Botanical Gardens and I'm there!

The Before Trilogy - chart the progress of romantic destiny with director Richard Linklater’s career‑long exploration of cinematic time over the course of one day. I can't think of a better way to spend a Sunday.

Dr. Caligari - We Amy's concur... “Watching Dr. Caligari feels like finally devouring that perfect forbidden treat — parts of it may be bad for you, but in the end, the thrill is worth it.” – Amy Detrich, Gayly Dreadful

Sam Groves, Head of Programme
The impossible job: picking out three events to highlight. I'm going to have to suggest a couple of things that my colleagues have already mentioned this year. They're just too exciting not to mention:

People Like Us & The Light Surgeons
Opening night - two incredible AV performances, one by a Flatpack regular, People Like Us - we think this is her best work to date! And a group who we've been in touch with for many years, but haven't managed to get to the festival until now - The [superb] Light Surgeons. Throw in DJ Sam Redmore, and a brand new amazing space into the mix, and we've got an opening night party. This is the 'hot ticket' I'd say.

The Japanese duo came and performed at the festival 9 years ago - it was bloody brilliant. Beyond brilliant in fact. So so happy to have them back again this year, but this time, they have a third member of the collective, their 5 year old son! Their unique approach to making sound and visuals is like nothing I've ever seen. Can't wait to have them back in Brum.

Only the River Flows
My final pick is a film. A new Chinese Noir set in the 90s. It's fantastic. A murder mystery of sorts, with a super cool edge. Looks great, has a terrific script, and employs one or two surprises along the way.

You can grab your tickets for all these brilliant events and plenty more besides right now!

Flatpack Festival 2024 takes place in venues across Birmingham 10-19 May 2024.

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