Film Birmingham

Submissions open for Heritage Films

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Film Birmingham is proudly hosting a culturally significant programme of films as part of This is My City – Sports & Culture Festival.

From August 29th to August 31st, our ShortFuse film programme will move online, showcasing a selection of local films of all genres. We invite you to submit yours! These films will form the official ShortFuse selection for the festival.


 About This Is My City

This annual project will showcase the heritage, history and successes of Asian, African, Caribbean and European migrant communities within the city. It features a weekend online festival combining the universal elements of food, film, music and sport, under the hashtag #TIMCBHAM. Participants in the festival will have a platform to showcase their creative projects and innovative activities, all aimed at supporting the health and well-being of communities during COVID-19.


About ShortFuse

ShortFuse is Film Birmingham’s short film event, providing a platform for the work of emerging regional filmmakers and engaging with audiences. We have been proud to premier a number of regional films at our film nights, and opened the floor to a number of award-winning filmmakers. 

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.


What We Are Looking For

We want to celebrate authentic voices from migrant communities in our ShortFuse programme. 

Our themes centre around identity, heritage, migration and cultural linkages to the United Kingdom.

We are accepting short films under 30 minutes long, including narrative films, art films, documentaries and music videos. Emerging as well as experienced filmmakers are welcome to submit. 

For this event, submissions are open to film-makers from the diasporas of Asia, the Caribbean, Africa or Europe. Films are also accepted by non-residents if they speak to the above themes.


To Submit Your Film

Submissions close on July 31st at midnight. 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


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WOFFF – Short Script Contest for woman over 50 now open

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The WOFFF20 short script competition is now open. The competition is open to as-yet unproduced, complete short drama scripts, under five minutes, centring on a woman over 50 or written by a woman over 50. Shedunnit Productions returns as the key partner sponsoring this competition.

WOFFF Awards and Prizes

The Shedunnit Productions Prize awarded for the winning script is a script consultation with Helen Jacey, founder of Shedunnit Productions and Author of The Woman in the Story: Writing Memorable Female Characters. This consultation can be for a feature screenplay, TV pilot or short film. She says: “It’s a privilege to be judging the WOFFF Best Short Script Prize for the second year. I’m excited to discover some fantastic older female characters on the page – or scripts penned by fabulous older women filmmakers! Short scripts are not necessarily easy to write, but done well, they are utterly impactful.“

Other 1st place prizes include a signed copy The Woman in the Story: Writing Memorable Female Characters by Helen Jacey, a winner’s certificate and a bottle of Mother’s Ruin gin. This prize is sponsored by Mother’s Ruin Gin. Runner-up short drama scripts prizes include a signed copy of a Helen Jacey book and a winner’s certificate

Submit Your Short

This is a competition for completed short drama film scripts up to five minutes in length with a woman over 50 at its centre or written by a woman over 50. Submissions are open from 22 June 2020. The deadline for this competition is 25 July 2020 or the date when 50 scripts are received by WOFFF, whichever is sooner.
Click on the Filmfreeway below to read the full details of the competition and how to apply.




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Coronavirus COVID-19 Updated Guidance

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On July 7th, the UK Government announced an exemption to the quarantine requirements for film and high-end TV cast and crew. The exemption relates to those working on productions which qualify as British under one of the Government’s cultural tests or official co-production treaties.

This result is partly testament to the hard work of colleagues in the Screen Sector Task Force, who have campaigned for the change. The British Film Commission have issued further guidance via the Covid-19 section of their website. It is as follows:

British Film Commission – Working Safely During COVID-19 in Film and High-end TV Drama Production

This document is intended to provide high-level guidance to manage COVID-19 specific risk in producing film and high-end TV drama in the UK. It has been prepared in consultation with the Department for Digital, Culture Media and Sport (DCMS) with input from crew and crew representatives, industry bodies, unions and the devolved administrations in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, and in consultation with Public Health England (PHE) and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

This guidance should be read in conjunction with the latest UK Government guidance. Productions based in Northern IrelandScotland and Wales should additionally check for the relevant devolved Government guidance as it may differ.


  • Download British Film Commission – Working Safely During COVID-19 in Film and High-end TV Drama Production guidance here.

Current version: V.2.0 Published 6th July 2020

For optimised viewing, please open the PDF through Adobe Acrobat Reader or Google Chrome. If you read the PDF using Safari or Apple Preview, links to certain sections of government guidance may not work but Apple Mac users can access an adapted version of the guidance here.


  • Download Travelling to the UK for work in Film or High-end Television Drama Production During COVID-19: Self-isolation (“Quarantine”) Exemptions guidance here.

Current version: V.1.0 Published 6th July 2020

For optimised viewing, please open the PDF through Adobe Acrobat Reader or Google Chrome. If you read the PDF using Safari or Apple Preview, links to certain sections of government guidance may not work but Apple Mac users can access an adapted version of the guidance here.

Always make sure you are working from the current version.


  • The UK TV industry has produced guidance for managing the risk of COVID-19 in programme making which applies to all TV production and can be found here. In the case of high-end TV drama productions, this guidance should be considered alongside the UK TV industry guidance.


  • Guidance for Safe Working in Post-Production and VFX, produced in consultation with, and endorsed by, the British Film Commission Recovery Group, is available here.


  • ScreenSkills, are adapting and developing training initiatives to support the film and HETV industries’ recovery efforts.


  • Read law firm Wiggin’s Returning to Production Employment and Data Protection FAQs here.


  • For additional industry advice and guidance on Coronavirus COVID-19, see BFI info here.


Source: Production Guild, British Film Commission


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S.O.U.L. (Screening Our Unseen Lives) – Britain’s Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic film talent

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The British Blacklist is working with S.O.U.L., We Are Parable and The New Black Film Collective to present S.O.U.L.Fest.

In the current climate it has proven a challenge to work out how best to deliver a socially-distanced film festival. The answer has been to team up with the BFI and present S.O.U.L.Fest 2020 via the BFI Player. Look out for more information soon about how you can take part in the festival, In the meantime S.O.U.L.Fest 2020 have opened up free submissions. The deadline is this Friday, 3rd July.

About S.O.U.L. 2020

S.O.U.L. (Screening Our Unseen Lives) celebrates and supports Britain’s Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic film talent. S.O.U.L. programmes two types of event each year, our quarterly film industry screening and networking events known as S.O.U.L. Celebrate Connect and our annual public film festival S.O.U.L.Fest. SOUL Fest 2020 is set to be a month long celebration of Black British talent in film, showcasing new features and shorts and allowing audiences the opportunity to see a diverse representation of Black Britain. Due to the Covid-19 global pandemic S.O.U.L. Fest 2020 will take place online primarily on the prestigious BFI Player.

The festival is realised as a collaboration between four organisations who serve Black audiences and talent.

The British Blacklist is the online global home for African Caribbean British creative professionals on the Screen and Stage, in Sound and Literature – both up front and behind the scenes.

The New Black Film Collective is a nationwide network of film exhibitors, educators and programmers of Black representation on screen.

We Are Parable specialise in film exhibition and believe in the storytelling power of events to enhance the experience of a cinema going audience.

S.O.U.L. Film a platform with the mission to make British Film and TV industry more diverse by celebrating and connecting BAME filmmakers and audiences.

The Celebrate:Connect event is a short film screening and networking platform that occurs 4 times a year at the British Film Institute in Southbank, London, UK.

Aiming to address the falling numbers of ethnic minority filmmakers in the UK, the event offers a platform to exhibit their work on the big screen, and a venue for them to meet. We believe the better fellow ethnic filmmakers know each other and each other’s work, the better able we are to support one another.
The events are open to and attended by filmmakers of all levels, industry executives, commissioners, exhibitors, actors, writers and film fans, and is a great opportunity to meet and develop relationships with your film making peers.
Add to this the benefit of being able to screen your work at one of the most prestigious film venues in the UK and you have a superb opportunity for emerging diverse British filmmakers.

Also of interest

We Are Parable are surveying our communities on how we feel about going back to cinemas. Please participate in their very short but vital survey now.

The BFI NETWORK team have organised a live conversation with director Dionne Edwards on July 30th. She will be discussing her career to date and her creative process offering insights into the industry including her stint as 2nd unit director on the recent Top Boy. It’s Tuesday, 30th June. Sign Up is free.


Source: The British Blacklist


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Birmingham and London Indian Film Festival goes digital

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The Bagri Foundation London Indian Film Festival and Birmingham Indian Film Festival are excited to launch their first digital festival at from 25th June to 5th July, as the UK and Europe’s largest showcase of South Asian cinema. It offers the UK’s lockdown audiences a free programme of films and conversations with some of the world’s best loved Indian talent. LIFF’s platform Love LIFF at Home is now online!


Starting June 25th, the digital festival will offer UK premieres, our coveted annual Satyajit Ray Short Film Competition, exclusive ‘In Conversation’ and some iconic movies. Everything is free! The films will be available to UK audiences only while the ‘In Conversation’ series will be available world-wide.

See full programme here.

Source: London Indian Film Festival


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Cineworld re-opening Birmingham and Solihull cinemas from July 10

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Cineworld is re-opening cinemas across the country – including Broad Street Birmingham and Solihull – from next month.

The cinema chain closed all 128 of its cinemas in the UK back in mid-March amid the unprecedented coronavirus crisis. Now, film fans can look forward to the chain re-opening from July 10. The chain operates cinema complexes in Birmingham, in Broad Street, and Solihull.

Currently, there is no word on when Cineworld’s rivals like Vue and Odeon are set to re-open their doors to customers.

Cineworld has confirmed strict social distancing measures will be in place, with different seating to ensure families sit together, but away from other customers. Staggered film times are expected, in a bid to reduce capacity, with Perspex screens at tills to keep customers and staff members safe while buying popcorn, snacks and such. Social distancing measures will be in place across the country, with Christopher Nolan’s brand-new blockbuster Tenet among the first films set to be released after cinemas re-open. Staff will regularly, thoroughly clean screens extensively, and hand sanitiser is set to be provided throughout. There will be extra time between film screenings to clean communal areas, too. Contactless payments of no more than £45 are also anticipated.




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Cannes Marché du Film Online – June 22nd-26th

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Created to support the international film industry and facilitate business and networking for professionals from all over the world, the Marché du Film Online is intended to recreate the market experience in Cannes, with live and real-time meetings! It will take the shape of a closed industry space including:


  • Visit virtual booths and pavilions & discover exclusive films and projects-in-progress in online dedicated spaces as if you were in Cannes!
  • Organize meetings in a virtual space with professionals from all over the world via the Marché du Film networking app Match&Meet, integrating video calls.
  • Attend online screenings – films / project presentations – in about 15 virtual cinemas & enjoy reruns organized in different time zones! The platform will be based on Cinando’s technology with strict security measures.
  • Explore the Marché du Film Online programs & conferences: Cannes Docs, Cannes XR, Producers Network, Frontières, Goes to Cannes, Cannes Next, Meet the Streamers, and Fantastic 7 will be reshaped to this new digital environment.
  • Join curated Speed meetings dedicated to book adaptation, soundtracks, coproduction… Speed meeting sessions will be programmed to welcome participants from different time zones.
  • Discover VR projects with Cannes XR, our program fully dedicated to immersive entertainment, which will present its projects in an environment where films can be viewed with a VR headset.

Register here.




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a still from the film 'Navy' by Duaine Carma Roberts, where a woman tightly hugs a man

Birmingham Filmmaker Duaine Carma Roberts discusses his new project ‘NAVY’

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Birmingham Updates sat down with up and coming Birmingham filmmaker Duaine Carma Roberts, of CarmaFilm Motion Pictures, to discuss his newest project – Navy – and how you can lend your support to help get it made. Read the transcript below:

I am a Black British screenwriter and film director from Birmingham. Since the age of 18, I have self-funded my own short and feature films, showcasing actors from my city and the rest of the UK, focusing on non-stereotypical themes and genres, within my films.

The film I’m currently crowdfunding for is called Navy. It is a coming-of-age drama, that follows a young singer from Birmingham. The supporting actors will also be Midlands and from a few other cities around us. The story follows the young singer on their journey to their first show on their debut UK tour. Whilst preparing, we see how they deal with family, relationships, systematic barriers and much more.

I’m 25 now and for the past 7 years I’ve made various self-funded shorts and last year, a feature film, showcasing a lot of talent from our region. I think it’s very important, as a lot of our talent have to leave the city, in hopes of finding opportunities. I feel as the second city, we should have way more films and TV series being made here, as the talent is endless, as I’ve come to see over my years making films. The short films are available via and the feature film is called Angel City, which is on Amazon Prime, for free, with Prime.

I managed to save around £3,000 of my own money to make the feature film and although we had a successful premiere and it’s now on Amazon Prime, I know that a few more grand would have helped a lot with promotion, actors and the overall quality of the film. I still will put my own funds towards my new feature film, but I’m hoping to raise at least £10,000 through crowdfunding on GoFundMe, just so I can create the best story possible and allow for a few screenings across the country, once the film is made.

Please consider lending your support by donating here:


Source: Birmingham Updates


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The Midsummer Festival celebrating the West Midlands – June 20th

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West Midlands Culture Response Unit (WMCRU) is today delighted to announce the Midsummer Festival, a free one-day festival celebrating arts and culture in the West Midlands on Saturday 20th June.

Featuring a collection of many West Midlands theatre, dance, music, artists and venues Midsummer Festival will mark the Summer Solstice with a wide range of live, archived and pre-recorded cultural activity available online including performances which have never been seen before from companies including the Royal Shakespeare CompanyACE Dance and Music and Birmingham Contemporary Music Group.

Midsummer Festival is the first event organised by the WMCRU, which has been created to co-ordinate, develop and deliver an action-orientated, response by over 100 arts organisations in the West Midlands to the Covid-19 crisis in the short, medium and long term. Led by Culture Central, WMCRU’s purpose is to ensure the visibility, viability and recovery of the Cultural Sector in the West Midlands.

Inspired by annual Midsummer celebrations across the region, the day will feature work influenced by Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream and will respond more generally to nature with open air events in a wide variety of settings across the region and will include a live performance of short excerpts at Compton Verney, which was the setting for the 1968 film adaptation starring Dames Judi Dench and Helen Mirren.

Performances will be streamed online throughout the day with work including WILD, a daring dance-circus production from Motionhouse; a series of Rural Recordings from Pentabus Theatre including Here I Belong by Matt Hartley and Crossings by Deirdre Kinahan; and Rosie Kay’s CITY – BREATH – WATER, a poem of dance responding to the beauty and harshness of the city of Birmingham. Award winning dance and music company Sonia Sabri Company will also be showcasing some of the best highlights of their dance and music performances, as well as a rare opportunity to be part of a live conversation with their internationally renowned artistic and music directors, Sonia Sabri and Sarvar Sabri.

Ex Cathedra will present a selection of summer-themed music, from a birdsong-inspired commission to summer favourites, inviting festival goers to don their best holiday wear and sing along at home as they take a musical Summer Holiday, somewhere beyond the sea. Designers from the Royal Shakespeare Company will provide a workshop on how to create your own fairy bower at home inspired by the wonderous woodland bed of Titania, queen of the fairies. The day will end in celebration at the Midsummer Vogue Closing Party hosted by DanceXchange Vogue Tutor Jason Andrew Guest who will inspire audiences to strike a pose in a 15-minute tutorial followed by a 30-minute DJ set and dance party.

As well as the Summer Solstice, the festival programme will also take inspiration from Refugee Week (15th – 21st June), with Midsummer Festival taking place on World Refugee Day 2020. Refugee Week is the UK’s largest festival celebrating the contribution of refugees and promoting understanding of why people seek sanctuary. Highlights include a dance tribute to Ira Aldridge celebrating his life and achievements as an African-American actor in the UK from Ace Dance and Music; Ikon Gallery and Celebrating Sanctuary Birmingham will present Soapbox, 20 quick-fire, home-produced, soapbox videos based on the week’s theme of Imagine; and digital film screenings of refugee stories from Birmingham Opera Company.

Director of Culture Central Erica Love said: Covid-19 has decimated the cultural sector. It is more important than ever for the West Midlands to come together and support each other.  The WMCRU believe that as a region we should respond to this unprecedented threat in a typically generous, loud and collaborative manner, which is exactly the spirit of Midsummer Festival.”

“The festival is the first collaboration of its kind for the region, building on the many digital opportunities we’ve seen from our arts and culture organisations to bring their work online during lockdown, as well as the outpouring of creativity from households and online communities. It’s set to be a great event and we look forward to welcoming audiences through our virtual doors.”

Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands said: “Arts and culture organisations are at the heart of our communities throughout the West Midlands, with the tourism, hospitality and cultural sector supporting more than 135,000 jobs in the region and contributing around £12.6bn a year to the local economy.”

“At such a critical time for the sector it’s more important than ever that we proudly come together to show what our region has to offer, and the Midsummer Festival will do exactly that”

Midsummer Festival will take place on Saturday 20th June and can be accessed via:

The recently rebranded Make It WM website will be the central hub for the digital elements of the Midsummer Festival, streaming the wide variety of arts & cultural activities taking place across the region. The free to visit website is also home to a wide variety of content produced during this time, putting all listings in one convenient place.

A full line-up and running times for the festival will be announced in the lead up to the event.

Follow live updates throughout the day using #MidsummerFestival

Visit for info on how to watch.




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Solihull filmmaker developing a horror short after winning BFI grant

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A Solihull film director has won funding to develop her horror film from a national development fund.

The British Film Institute is providing grants to filmmakers in the West Midlands, as it says it is focusing on nurturing cinema talent in the region. Jess Loveland, Head of the BFI Network, said: “In the Midlands we have a wealth of storytellers from all sorts of creative backgrounds: theatre-makers, visual artists, writers and filmmakers. The Talent Team at Film Hub Midlands are passionate about finding, developing and funding those talented individuals to realise their stories and creative potential in the region they call home. We intend to amplify the voices of the next generation of filmmakers in the Midlands and profile them on a national scale. Storytelling can connect communities and help us make sense of our experiences, as we emerge into a post Covid-19 world these storytellers will be more important than ever”

One beneficiary of the BFI’s drive in the West Midlands is Birmingham graduate and Solihull resident Cassiah Joski-Jethi.

Following a period where she was mentored by Bend it like Beckham directory Gurinder Chadha, 26-year-old Cassiah has completed the filming of her period horror short film ‘Catch a Butcher.’ Cassiah told the Observer: “My film is a psychological horror short, set in 19th century India, about a nurse who arrives at a maternity ward where babies have been going missing. I hope audiences will see an entertaining, scary ride, but will also think about Indian history and its colonisation. The film is really about suppressing different sides of your heritage, I was inspired to write the film as I am mixed-race – when I looked at Anglo-Indian history I learnt so much about the cultural attitudes to Anglo-Indians at the time.

“Mixed race children were sent back to England and taken away from their Indian mothers, taught to ignore their Indian heritage. I was keen to make it a horror film as I think the most interesting horror films are the ones that are scary, but feature something that could really effect you, like Get Out did. What has been really good about the BFI network is their workshops have run online, and with my film they are continuing to support editing in lockdown. Having already shot the film, we can look at the edit with fresh eyes and spend more time with it.”

Catch a Butcher is Cassiah’s third short film, her previous work was crowdfunded, but with the BFI grant she has support and encouragement from the country’s prestigious cinema network.

Currently deep in the editing process, Cassiah is looking for distributors and festivals to screen the film in 2021. She hopes the spine-tingling short will be a springboard to a career in feature films.

“After this is done I’m hoping to push to go into features. I mainly work as a screenwriter but I’m looking to bring the directing more to the forefront. I’m based in Solihull but looking back, I spent a lot of time travelling when younger. “My Mom is American with German and Polish background, and my Dad is Indian-Canadian. So my one positive in life was watching films again and again, I knew I wanted to tell stories and for a long time I thought it was theatre I wanted to do but at university in Birmingham I stepped into film and realised this is what I want to do.”

Previous funding winners from across the UK have include Nottingham’s Sarmad Masud (Two Dosa) whose debut feature My Pure Land was selected as the British entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 90th Academy Awards in 2017.

Thort Film funding programme aims to support projects with directors based in England and is run in partnership with the BFI Network who work with filmmakers on the delivery of funded projects. This fund is for fiction shorts, in both live-action and animation.




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