Lights, Camera, Flatpack!

Lights, Camera, Flatpack!

The city-wide film festival is incoming

Forget your tape measure and Swedish meatballs, Flatpack is a Birmingham-wide festival of films, live performance and some pretty leftfield happenings, with no need for an Allen key. And like with any decent festival, you’re in serious danger of spending longer looking at the programme (running April 30 to May 5) to figure out what to do, than actually doing. If only there was a handy digital guide telling you about the best things to book...

PICK 'N’ MIX, PIGS AND PERFORMANCE

If you’ve dreamt of Hollywood but never quite made it, Let’s Make A Movie, a theatre-performance-slash-standup-show-slash-film-shoot is a total cockle warmer. Watch Richard Soames delve into his DIY director’s back catalogue and dissect films such as his remake of The Matrix with poignancy and proper chortles. All this while he makes a movie of the experience. Meta. Tickets (£6) 

Underneath Digbeth's Arch 21, The Flatpack Hub plays host to Pick 'n’ Mix, a selection of some of the best shorts to be submitted to the festival over the last year. Films include a look at the JQ’s Coffin Works, some hardcore OAP zip-wiring action in The 106-Year-Old-Daredevil and winner of the Indy Shorts International Film Festival: Opening Night (pictured). A lazier writer might suggest Pick n’ Mix has something for everyone. Oh, and it's free.

With Best Film nomos from a fistful of festivals, Iranian Mani Haghighi’s Pig sneers at the notions of industry accolades and posthumous admiration. When talented film directors start turning up murdered, our blacklisted, down-on-his-luck director of a hero asks, ‘why can’t it be me’? With humour that’s as dark as David Lynch's cellar, this crime drama is well worth the walk to The Mockingbird. Tickets (£10)

BENTO, BEARS AND BEATS

If you feel that your packed lunch needs a Studio Ghibli Glow Up, then Beautiful Bento is pour vous. Join artist Mari Miyazawa at Digbeth's Kanteen as she demos how to craft quirky Bento characters out of rice (pictured). For fans of anime and, of course, food, we can’t wait to see what we can do with a Princes Beef Paste sanger, some Space Raiders and a Freddo. Tickets (£10) 

Should you miss the A1, tip-top, clubbing of 90s raves, then Beats will be right up your strasse. Following lads (lads, lads, lads) Spanner and Johnno on the last illegal rave before everybody grows up and the Public Order Act comes in, Brian Welsh’s drama channels Trainspotting as it stakes its claim as a Scottish classic. Tickets (£10) 

On the fun-for-all-the-fam front, Outside the Box ceases being loathsome management speak and instead packs in short movies aplenty. With the slapstick silliness of Hors Piste, the intriguingly named My Best Friend Explodes and the hula-hooping bear of Saturday's Apartment, this collection of films is perfect for those who used to dig the cereal variety packs or those with short attention spans. At Mac, tickets are £6.

DOCS, DIAMANTINO AND DEM LIGHTS

Narcissister Organ Player is an avant-garde documentary which delves into issues of femininity, race and identity. Punctuated with up-close-and-personal input from masked mixed media artist, Narcissister, this visual scrapbook examines the effect of her mother’s life, death and illness on her art. Adults only.Tickets (£10) 

The Electric Cinema opens its doors to Diamantino: part-fairy tale, part-social commentary and full-on mind-flip. Winner of the Critics' Week Grand Prize at Cannes 2018, Diamantino is the world-famous footballer who loses his goal-scoring mojo amidst Europe’s refugee crisis, which results in his money-grabbing sisters attempting to clone him. You know what? It’s easier if you just see it. Tickets (£10) 

Klankvorm A-V Double Bill is a duo of audiovisual performance pieces boasting the kind of output that normally comes from licking an A4 sheet of LSD-coated blotting paper. Matthijs Munnik’s Hyperplanar features an inventive new laser system with precision controlled lights that scan around at high speeds creating holograms. Yes please. Rotor’s Terraforming-M, meanwhilefollows the journey of humanity bidding farewell to Earth to become an intergalactic species. Expect to be engulfed in a sea of smoke and light. Tickets (£6)

Words: Robb Sheppard

Flatpack Festival runs from April 30 to May 5 in cinemas, venues and arches across the city.

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