Flatpack Festival 2011

The Lost Thing (Andrew Ruhemann and Shaun Tan)

Flatpack Festival

23-27 March 2010, Birmingham, UK

Flatpack website

One of our favourite festivals, Flatpack celebrates its fifth birthday with parties, live scores, AV performances, a restored 60s mobile cinema, plus feature film previews including Self Made, Marwencol and Meek’s Cutoff, an archive renaissance and adolescent metalheads from Loughborough…

Expect the usual quirky and eccentric discoveries alongside forgotten gems and new talent + a vintage mobile cinema, live scores, experimental film and late night parties.

Flatpack Festival 2011 Feature Films include:

Self Made – Birmingham born Turner prize-winner Gillian Wearing’s hugely-anticipated first feature has been rapturously received by critics and audiences alike. This film needs no highbrow qualifications to connect to its highly charged emotional journey, which started with the placement of a local advert ‘Do you want to be in a film? Would you play yourself or a fictional character?’

Read a short review of Self made in our coverage of the London Film Festival 2010.

Marwencol – already assuming cult status, director Jeff Malmberg’s unmissable feature documentary follows the ‘stranger-than-fiction’ story of Mark Hogancamp. After a vicious attack left him brain-damaged, Hogancamp retreated into ‘Marwencol’, a meticulously self-created world of dolls populating miniature sets which bring to life a WWII Belgian village in his backyard. Touching and mind-bending.

Read a short review of Marwencol that was part of our SXSW 2010 coverage.

Rubber – the new feature from the multitalented Quentin Dupieux (aka Mr Oizo) is a one-of-a-kind B-movie about a psychotic car tyre who goes on the rampage.

Read a short review of Rubber that was part of our coverage of L’Etrange Festival 2010.

Piercing, I – the critically acclaimed animated feature by Liu Jian was generated over three years on a WACOM graphic tablet and heralds China’s arrival at the forefront of animation.

Gravity Was Everywhere Back Then – debut feature by director and animator Brent Green. Shot entirely on the full-scale town he built in his backyard, Green combines animation, stop-motion and live-action to create an ethereal opus to lovers and tinkerers everywhere.

A Useful Life – Uruguay’s submission to the Oscars and shot in black and white at Montevideo Cinematheque, it offers a compelling insight into the struggles of running an art house cinema venue.

Music and Film

We Don’t Care About Music Anyway – documentary of Japan’s experimental music scene, accompanied by a live set by Sakamoto Hiromichi

Kinshasa Symphony, the moving story of the Kimbanguist Symphony Orchestra and their efforts to master Beethoven’s Ninth

Strange Powers: Stephin Merrit and the Magnetic Fields – this portrait of the inscrutable, hugely influential songwriter and his merry band was a decade in the filming

Read a short review of Strange Powers in our coverage of the London Film Festival 2010.

Other highlights:

Pram – Shadow Shows – first full UK performance of a deliciously creepy ‘experiment in surreal horror’ using projections and silhouettes to summon up nightmarish fairy tales

Every Minute, Always – immersive headphone performance in a cinema for two people, using sound, projections and a faint trace of Brief Encounter.

In Bed With Chris Needham – the trials and tribulations of an adolescent metal fan are laid out in painful detail by this legendary Video Diary, presented as a taster for this year’s Home of Metal celebrations

Paper Party – Saturday night antics include a live performance by audio-visual duo Sculpture who use video zoetrope record decks, tape loops, cassettes, samples, computer programming and lo-fi electronics

Patron Saint of Flatpack – this year’s celebration of film pioneers past focuses on Birmingham resident Iris Barry, founder of the Museum of Modern Art’s film archive – featuring a special event exploring her life & legacy, plus screenings of work she preserved – including Buster Keaton’s Sherlock Junior, to be screened at Birmingham Town Hall with live organ by Nigel Ogden.

Keystone Cut Ups – an amazing kaleidoscopic voyage through early cinema by cut-up connoiseurs People Like Us and Ergo Phizmiz, taking in everything from mannequins to hats

Vintage Mobile Cinema – the magical 22-seater cine bus, perfectly restored from its 1960s hey day, will be touring across the city throughout Flatpack with a range of shorts, home-movies and archive clips

The Invisible Cinema – following the success of 2010 tour of the original 1930s Art Deco Odeon cinemas, this year’s heritage offer will bring back to life some of the city’s ex-picturehouses and forgotten celluloid landmarks

Loft in Translation – screenings in partnership with MACE’s Full Circle project, which encourages people to retrieve home-movies from their attics

Archive Revival – Artists and filmmakers who appropriate and repurpose archive material including work by Thom Andersen, Duncan Campbell and Peter Tscherkassky

Mind Bombs – pulsing, psychedelic eye candy in the form of shorts and music videos by a host of upcoming filmmakers including ‘cell animator’ Mirai Mizue.

More details at Flatpack Festival.