Monthly Archives

November 2019

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Submit Your Short Film to Film Birmingham’s ShortFuse Film Night

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Film Birmingham is open year-round for submissions to its ShortFuse film nights in 2020! West Midlands filmmakers have the chance to screen their short films at the Mockingbird Cinema and Kitchen to an audience of their peers and film enthusiasts.

ShortFuse is a bi-monthly event, aiming to engage with regional audiences and provide a platform for the work of emerging filmmakers. We are also proud to have premiered a number of regional films at our film night, and opened the floor to a number of award-winning filmmakers. We are accepting films of any genre from emerging or established filmmakers for our regional events in March, May, July, September and November.

Past ShortFuse Events

Past events at the Mockingbird Cinema showcased regional films, including the BAFTA-winning short 73 Cows, directed by Alex Lockwood, Sylvia, winner of the American Pavilion Emerging Filmmaker award at Cannes and award-winning Faith, by renowned stuntman Nick McKinless. Audience members are invited to participate in a Q&A with filmmakers following the screening and to network at a post-event mingle.

Filmmaker Adam Palmer, whose short film Answer was featured on ShortFuse’s opening night, said: “It’s great that ShortFuse offers a platform to showcase the work of filmmakers who sometimes get overlooked in the Midlands; it’s often London and elsewhere. There are some really great films screened as well. “If you have a short film, submit it. You get to watch it with an audience so you can gauge how your film is. A lot of the time you sit there one-on-one with your film. You don’t know how it’s going to be received so it’s good to be part of a community of filmmakers and film lovers.”

Attendee Lee Davis said: “When I saw the regional films, it made me feel like filmmaking is something I could do. I thought the range of the films was very varied, and it was good to hear from BAFTA-winners.”

To Submit

Please email with the following info:

All films must be under 30 minutes. If selected, you will then be asked to provide a hi-res version of your film.

Please email or call us at 0121 303 6089 for any further information.


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POSTPONED – An Introduction to Working In The Locations Department – Film Birmingham Course

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UPDATE: Please note this course has been postponed until further notice.


This film locations course is delivered by Film Birmingham and will run over 2 weekends. It is designed to inform, educate and give hands on skills to the next generation of aspiring film and TV Location Managers.

Dates:  March 21st-22nd and March 28th-29th, 2020

Location: Library of Birmingham

Time: 9:30am – 5:30pm

Course Leader: Harriet Lawrence

Course Fee: £100

An Introduction to Working in the Locations Department (WILD) will be led by top UK film and TV drama Location Manager Harriet Lawrence. Harriet has worked in location management for over 20 years and her impressive CV includes prime time TV shows Downton Abbey, Parks and Recreation and Dancing on the Edge and Hollywood movies The Personal History of David Copperfield, My Cousin RachelSuffragette and Burton and Taylor.

Outline of the WILD Film Locations course:

The locations department has a wide and varied remit within a production. It extends from the creative beginnings of a script breakdown, working alongside Directors and Designers and scouting locations, to the logistical and detailed planning of a shoot. It enables all other departments to go about their jobs as smoothly and safely as possible. This film locations course will cover what to expect in this challenging, yet rewarding work environment. It will also advise on potential routes into film and TV location management.

It will briefly look at an overview of the industry, the different types of productions and then move on to the exciting challenges of scouting, planning a shoot and managing all aspects of the shoot day. The sessions will also outline some of the essential principles of health and safety, touch on some of the many things included in the locations budget and give tips on how to take great location recce pictures. The first weekend will be classroom-based and the second will be putting into practice all that was learnt during the first weekend.

About Your Teachers

The WILD course will be led by award-winning locations manager Harriet Lawrence, who has worked in commercials, film and TV during her 30 years in the industry. She was also the 2016 recipient of the Production Guild Inspiration Award. Supporting the course will be BIFA- and BAFTA- winning production designer Cristina Casali, who gained a Best Production Design 2019 BIFA award for her work in The Personal History of David Copperfield. Supervising location manager Michael Grisewood has worked extensively throughout the West Midlands with award-winning series and films such as Doctors, Ray and Liz and Boy with the Topknot, and will offer a practical session to course participants.

How to apply to the WILD Film Locations Course

Film Birmingham welcomes applications from a broad range of participants; from new entrants with some production experience to those more established in the media industry. The course fee is £100 and there will be 3 subsidised places available for qualifying participants. We welcome applications from diverse backgrounds.

If you are interested in being considered for the course, please complete this form. Applications close Monday February, 24th.

For additional information, please email, with WILD Course in the subject.


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Re-released Coventry Film celebrates Sir Frank Whittle

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Filmmaker Nicholas Jones is passionate about Sir Frank Whittle, the Coventry inventor of the jet engine. And to mark the 90th anniversary of the invention of the jet engine, his commemorative film is being re-released, as well as being made available online for the first time.

In Nicholas’ film about Sir Frank – ‘Whittle – The Jet Pioneer’ – he filmed Sir Frank, who died in 1996, at length and his testimony forms the core of the film. The filmmaker has called for the Coventry inventor to be given the recognition he deserves as one of the greatest British engineers ever. He also believes Sir Frank is second only to Winston Churchill when it comes to the most influential Britons of the 20th century.

The film, which was made for the History Channel, sees Sir Frank tell his amazing life story in his own words, with some scenes filmed in Earlsdon.

In November 1929 a young Frank Whittle was a pilot officer in the RAF, training to be a flying instructor. He loved flying – but despaired of the noisy propeller/piston aircraft he flew. Because he felt there had to be a better way to fly, that drove him to think of a solution. He came up with the jet engine – an engine with a gas turbine to produce a propelling jet. Following this revelation he quickly applied for a patent to make it a reality.

Frank Whittle was very much a product of Coventry and its manufacturing DNA. He was born in the city in 1907 but his family were originally Lancastrians, who moved to Coventry in the late 19th century. His father Moses worked at Alfred Herbert Ltd – the giant tool factory in the city – and from a young age an inquisitive Frank was interested in materials and metallurgy.

“It is amazing how much his name strikes a chord in Coventry,” said Mr Jones, “ Frank Whittle not only patented and designed the first jet engine but also conceived supersonic flight and invented the turbo fan. The turbo fan is what really enabled us all to fly today. It was the first engine that was economical – to enable us to fly long distance.”

Nicholas’ interest in Frank Whittle and aircraft in general started as a boy.

“I was dragged around airfields by my father to look at aircraft,” he said. “I helped my father write a book and that is how we got to know Frank Whittle and got the chance to film him. My father said he was the last of the great British engineers. He said no one could film Brunel and George Stephenson but we could film Frank Whittle.”

‘Whittle – The Jet Pioneer’ is available to download or to order on DVD from Quanta Films here or by calling Quanta on 07435 973397.




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Birmingham Sci-Fi Film ‘Invasion Planet Earth’ in cinemas December 5th

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Crowds flee through the heart of Birmingham as alien spaceships hover overhead. And things take a turn for the worse as Independence Day hits the ICC, where crowds run screaming from the invaders. Colmore Row becomes a morbid field, the Balti Triangle a vicious scene. The Town Hall and Council House are the scene of a terrible pitched battle.

These astonishing scenes, involving no fewer than 900 extras, are part of a sci-fi epic filmed in Birmingham.

Set to hit the big screen on December 5, Birmingham is pretty much blitzed in ‘Invasion Planet Earth’, a movie 17 years in the making and starring city punk pop star Toyah Wilcox. The film was featured at popular city gathering MCM Comic Con and will be screened in cinemas next month. The film is, say its makers, “the ultimate war for Planet Earth”. After being plagued by Armageddon images, Brummies and buildings are picked off by a prowling alien craft.

For Nuneaton director and co-writer Simon Cox, the cinema release is the culmination of a very long struggle. He spent years pitching the concept to movie moguls before ditching the traditional methods of turning his script in to a reality. Seven years ago, he took the bold step of crowdfunding the film through social media. Originally titled Kaleidoscope Man, the delays didn’t end there. Once the action scenes were shot in Birmingham, the stunning special effects took another two-and-a-half years to complete. In all, the epic was in the development stage for a decade, and took another seven years to produce.

Birmingham is not the only local link. Based at Nuneaton’s Centenary Business Centre, Simon transformed his studio into an international space station. The outer space invaders also give Kenilworth a kicking in the movie.


Before ‘Invasion Planet Earth’

With 25 years experience under his belt, Simon has been involved in a number of award-winning documentaries and has directed supernatural thriller Written in Blood.

“I’ve wanted to make an epic sci-fi movie since I first saw the original Star Wars when I was 13,” he says. “I came up with the initial idea for Kaleidoscope Man back in 1999 after I’d finished my first feature Written in Blood in 1998. I had no idea it would take me nearly 20 years to make.

“Having worked in TV and film over the years, a lot of the people I’ve brought in were people I’d met along the way. I also found a few local people who have since joined the team. Our cameraman, Gordon Hickie, shot my first feature film and he now shoots Holby City, Casualty and The Inspector Lyndley Mysteries. I found the cast via acting agencies apart from Toyah, who I met at a film meeting a few years ago.”

He adds: “The main challenges have been financing the film. There isn’t really any real financial support for making independent movies in the UK at the moment, despite what you might hear about UK film industry, and especially now as the US film industry is spending multi-millions making their films here in the UK.”

Invasion Planet Earth opens in UK Cinemas from December 5. It is available on digital download from December 16 and DVD from December 30.


About ‘Invasion Planet Earth’

Here’s what the official movie blurb says: “After the death of his young daughter, Tom Dunn is a broken man. When his wife falls pregnant again, he cannot believe their luck. However, his joy is short lived, as on the very same day, the people of Earth become plagued with terrifying visions of the end of the world.

“When a gigantic, all-consuming alien mothership appears in the sky and launches a ruthless attack on Earth’s cities, chaos and destruction follow. Tom must find the strength and wisdom to save his wife and unborn child. However, first he must confront a shocking truth. A truth which threatens the key to the survival of the human race. The ultimate war for Planet Earth is about to begin…”


Birmingham – the film set

Birmingham has been a popular, if unlikely, recent setting for the film industry.

  • Steven Spielberg’s Ready Player One, released in 2016, featured scenes shot in Digbeth’s Jewellery Quarter and Spaghetti Junction. The Hollywood great turned the areas into a dystopian future world.
  • In 2015, car chase scenes were filmed for Kingsman: The Golden Circle, with much of Cornwall Street blocked off for more than a week.
  • That same year, zombie film The Girl With All The Gifts was shot in the city centre with office workers and shoppers getting a glimpse of Bond girl Gemma Arterton and Hollywood superstar Glenn Close.



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Birmingham City University graduate lands role on new James Bond film

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As a supermarket shelf-stacker, Tayyib Mahmood used to have a licence to fill. Now the 23-year-old has a licence to kill after landing a dream role on the latest James Bond blockbuster, No Time To Die.

Tayyib, an employee at Asda in Perry Barr, has spent four months working as a studio unit trainee on the Daniel Craig blockbuster, due to be released next April. Not surprisingly, staff were more shaken than stirred by news that their workmate had landed the 007 job. His parents simply didn’t believe him. Tayyib, until this summer, a film production technology student at Birmingham City University, admits: “It was the best experience I ever had.

“Everyone on set was friendly and lovely. The first day on set was just insane – I kept on thinking ‘I’m working on the James Bond film!’ The days were long … 10 hours, 12 hours minimum. But every day something new happened, you never got bored, nothing ever stayed the same. But underneath that, it was like clockwork – everyone had their own mechanism and pulled their own weight.”

Tayyib, from Sparkhill, gained the placement through the British Film Institute’s Future Skills initiative, a scheme that helps the next generation of moviemakers ease into the industry.

No Time To Die features scenes shot in Jamaica and Italy, but Tayyib didn’t get to savour the exotic locations. He was based at Pinewood Studios.

“Initially, I didn’t tell Asda,” confesses Tayyib, “I just said I was working on a film. I just said it was a placement and took a leave of absence. My family didn’t believe me at first.”

Journey to James Bond

Tayyib was bitten by the film bug while watching 1991 Schwarzenegger classic Terminator 2: Judgement Day. He has also been heavily influenced by cult British horror comedy classic Shaun of the Dead.

Since the age of 17, he has made a number of short films, all funded by his Asda wages. The most recent, confusingly titled Untitled, is a cop comedy. He has worked with influential Birmingham filmakers Sheikh Shahnawaz, Nisaro Karim and Gurjant Singh, and dreams of making his own big screen blockbuster.

“My favourite genre has to be horror,” says Tayyib, “I’m a massive horror fan. I’ve always been fascinated by people’s stories and everyone has a story to tell. Telling a story through a moving image is the best way to do it. Asian film-makers are not well known in the industry, but they are up and coming. Ethnic minorities have a lot of stories to tell.

“We have so many films about romance and meeting someone, but our films are hard-hitting – youngsters deprived of the opportunity to get far in life, crime…”

Tayyib’s studies at Birmingham City University held him in good stead for the James Bond test.

“Studies were very challenging when I began my degree,” he admits, “although I soon realised it was a natural thing to experience when starting a course. I overcame my apprehension by just getting my head down and cracking on. The skills I learned on my course were critical to me landing the job on Bond.

“I have accomplished what a lot of people would kill for, working on a Hollywood blockbuster film straight out of university. But I know that others can earn similar accomplishments through their hard work and commitment. Birmingham is such a close nit community – everyone in the industry knows everyone else in the industry, so it is not hard to find an actor.”

Tayyib has a message to those who yearn to get behind the camera: “No matter what idea you have, if you have a story to tell, then tell it. There is always a story to be told.”




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Discover! Creative Careers – Starts November 18th

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Join the #DiscoverCreativeCareers campaign, from 18th – 22nd November, as part of the Creative Careers Programme. Here is a message from them about their upcoming opportunity:

Careers opportunities in the creative industries are increasing daily with employment in the sector growing three times faster than the rest of the UK economy. This growth shows no signs of slowing down, yet many young people aren’t aware of the variety of roles and vast areas of work available. We want to change that.

Taking place across England from 18th – 22nd November, Discover! Creative Careers Week will see over 500 employers from across the creative industries opening their doors to thousands of young people to inspire and inform the next generation of workers. During the week, young people will get to learn about animation with the creators of Peppa Pig, go back stage at the National Theatre, use interactive 3D computer modelling with XSite Architecture in Newcastle, explore individual career paths by interviewing the team at Tate Liverpool, get a taste of the world of publishing with Hachette, and understand how a film is promoted and distributed with Sony, plus much more.

The Discover! Creative Careers Week campaign aims to not only celebrate the activities taking place during the week, but also to highlight the sheer number of roles available within the creative industries and the pathways into them, by putting real names and faces behind the job titles with Discover! My Creative Career and supporting the campaign on social media. So even if you’re not hosting an event, you can still get involved.

The Discover! Creative Careers Week Campaign Pack contains various key messages, templates and tools that will support your involvement in the campaign so we can reach a much wider audience and demonstrate the commitment of the sector. Click here to download the pack.

Be sure to tag us in your Discover! Creative Careers Week posts using @CreativeCareer5 and #DiscoverCreativeCareers.
Take part in Discover! My Creative Career
Download your campaign pack here
We want to hear from you! To get in touch about any aspect of the Creative Careers Programme, please email


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‘The Great Staycation’ showcases Stourport on BBC1 – November 11th

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‘The Great Staycation’ is a brand new BBC documentary film narrated by Adrian Chiles. It follows three family businesses in Stourport and explores how the town has evolved into a thriving holiday destination.

The documentary is the brainchild of Kidderminster’s Paul Barnett, of GOSH! TV, who has produced and directed several well-known shows for the BBC, ITV and Channel 4. These include Come Dine With Me, Coast and Embarrassing Bodies.

Paul told The Shuttle: “I’ve visited Stourport for many, many years as both a child and a parent. So it was the first place I thought of when I pitched the idea to the BBC. What amazed me most was the history of the resort – there’s been a fairground in the town for over 100 years. And the families that run many of the attractions in Stourport go back for generations.”

Filming Locations

Paul and his team have spent most of the summer filming with Stourport’s tourist attractions, including riverboat steamer The River King. The steamer was recently taken over and refurbished by cousins Tom Moore and Jamie Dyde.

“Years ago, people used to flock to Stourport from miles around to take a trip on one of the many steamers that were based here,” said Paul. “Today the only one left is Tom and Jamie’s boat, which they’ve done a brilliant job of renovating.”

‘The Great Staycation’ also spends time at the Treasure Island fairground, which was taken over in 2007 by Henry Danter. Away from the main town, the film also spends time at Lickhill Manor Caravan Park, including a unique interview with the park owner Dennis Lloyd-Jones, whose father started the business in 1956. The film concludes on August Bank Holiday weekend, when the town was flooded with holidaymakers.

Aerial Filming

Specialist drone filming was used to show off the Stourport landscape. Producer Paul says he is keen to show Stourport from a new perspective.

“I was really surprised how different Stourport looks from the air,” said Paul. “The picturesque canal basins are surrounded by beautiful green countryside. I think people will be amazed how beautiful the town looks. It’s a warm, charming and beautiful film, full of amazing local characters. I hope this shows Stourport at its best – It’s certainly a summer I will never forget.”

Watch ‘The Great Staycation’

The Great Staycation: Stourport-On-Severn airs Monday, November 11 on BBC1 West Midlands at 7.30pm.




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Project Manager Wanted: Coventry Film Pilot

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Film Hub Midlands are looking for a dynamic project manager for the Coventry Film Pilot. They will plan and deliver a series of screenings and events in the run-up to Coventry’s year as City of Culture in 2021. The successful applicant will help with developing local partnerships, deliver pilot activity and with laying the groundwork for a film strategy for 2021 and beyond.

Coventry Film Pilot – Role Brief

Role: Project Manager – Coventry Film Pilot
Freelance – approximately 80 Days
Salary: £200 per day (based in Coventry)
Project timescale: November 2019 – September 2020
Application deadline: Friday 29 November (interviews to be held Wednesday 11 December)

See the full Job Description here.


About Coventry Film Pilot

In the run-up to Coventry’s year as UK City of Culture in 2021, Film Hub Midlands are working with partners across the city to produce an exciting calendar of screenings and events designed to roadtest a range of spaces and develop new audiences for film. The main objectives of the project will be:
– to give people across Coventry the opportunity to enjoy a rich variety of film;
– to lay the foundations for an eye-catching and unique programme of film as part of the
City of Culture celebrations;
– to ensure that the ingredients are in p


To Apply

To apply send a CV containing relevant information and a covering letter that addresses the key deliverables of the role and shows how you fit the candidate profile to




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Drama Production Masterclass with Mal Young

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Join RTS Midlands for this unique opportunity to learn from TV Producer, Writer and Show Runner, Mal Young.

About Mal Young

Mal’s credits include Channel 4’s Brookside,  where he was responsible for the first Lesbian kiss on British Television and the infamous ‘Body under the Patio’ storylines, leading to the show to record ratings and critical acclaim. Mal also saw the re-launch of ITV’s The Bill to an hour long format.

He joined BBC as Controller of Drama Series where he was responsible for numerous successful series including the launch of Holby City and Doctors and the hugely successful re-launch of Dr. Who.   He also oversaw a diverse slate of productions including EastEnders, Casualty, Judge John Deed, Waking the Dead, Being April, Murder in Mind.

Now based in the U.S. Mal has been Show Runner/ Executive Producer/Head Writer on the #1-rated daytime drama The Young and the Restless for CBS/Sony winning several EMMYs for his work.   He is now once again creating a number of new scripted projects with traditional broadcasters as well as streaming platforms.

Mal will share his experience and knowledge of working both in Britain and the US as well as giving insights into what makes a successful television drama.

This event is for professionals and those studying drama production or script writing.   It is free to attend but places are limited and booking is required. Book your spot here.

Event Details

Friday, 29 November, 2019
2pm – 4pm
IET Birmingham
Austin Court, 80 Cambridge Street
Birmingham, B1 2NP

Book your spot here.


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