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The Flatpack Film Festival returns bigger and better than ever

Written by
Chris Parkin

The Flatpack Film Festival will be setting up shop in Birmingham once again from March 19-29, bringing with it the usual selection of eclectic and eccentric film events.

This year – the festival's ninth – there are 100-plus events taking place in 30 different venues across the UK's second city. Not bad for a festival that started out as a monthly night in Digbeth a decade ago.

Sex and Broadcasting

There's a huge choice of films, including the premiere of Sex and Broadcasting (March 28-29), a film about volunteer-run New Jersey radio station WFMU, which will be broadcasting live from Birmingham during the festival. Also on the bill is Europe in 8Bits (March 20), a film about Europe's chiptune scene, and Rainer Werner Fassbinder's The Bitter Tears of Petra Von Kant.

Internet Cat Video Festival

The Internet Cat Video Festival (March 21) doesn't need much explanation. The only thing you need to know is that it's been 'carefully' programmed by a team of under-5s. Expect much cooing.

Paper Cinema's live animation of The Odyssey (March 20) is a must-see, while Celluloid City (March 22) explores the history of cinema in Birmingham with live scores to silent comedy and a look at how the first Bollywood films were brought to Birmingham in the 1950s.

The Stewarts in The Colony

Flatpack will be paying tribute to Birmingham film-maker Philip Donnellan. His gritty documentaries, made during his time with BBC Birmingham in the 50s and 60s, gave disenfranchised communities a voice. Among the highlights are a talk by folk icon Peggy Seeger (March 22), whose BBC Radio Ballads with husband Ewan MacColl were a big influence, plus a screening of The Colony (March 24), Donnellan's film about the experiences of first-generation immigrants in the city.

Elsewhere on the bill is Ross Sutherland's journey of self-discovery via 80s TV (March 25), a Fast Eddie-hosted air band competition (March 27), a live show from freewheeling alt-folk man Richard Dawson (March 28), a yakuza hip-hop musical (March 28), a cut-and-paste collage party (March 28), a bill of public information films (March 28)… we could go on.

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