Flatpicks: Ian Francis
In the mad rush to put the festival on, our mooted series of guest choices hasn't really happened. However, I (that's Ian, the festival director) thought I'd give my two-penn'orth on a few of the hidden gems I'm really looking forward to this weekend. (With the proviso that everything is great, of course.) FAME Festival (Thursday, 8:30pm) - It may be a very different kind of event to Flatpack, but all the same FAME shares a similar commitment to creating an inclusive buzz and using places in smart ways. They've also made some terrific films over the years, and it should be fascinating to hear Angelo talk about how they managed to turn the small town of Grottaglie into a street art mecca.
SOUNDwalks (Saturday, 10am-4pm) - Plenty of planning has gone into this one, and we're hoping for decent weather on Saturday. Whatever happens though, it should give you a completely different slant on Digbeth. The Birmingham-on-Sea strand has plenty of other treats in store this weekend too, including the UK premiere of Bill Morrison's The Great Flood.
Rock Vs. Doris: Lover Come Back (Saturday 5-8pm) - Having nursed a soft spot for Doris Day since childhood, this is pure indulgence for me.
Vic + Flo Saw a Bear (Saturday, 8pm) - Denis Côté's film stood out head and shoulders above most of the stuff that I saw at last year's London Film Fest, and I've already made it fairly clear in the programme copy that it's one of my favourites. That's all I'm sayin'.
Night on the Galactic Railroad (Sunday, 2pm) - A 35mm treat for a Sunday afternoon, Sugii's cosmic 1985 anime film hardly ever gets screened in the UK. I'm scheduling a rare bit of downtime for this.