How to describe Flatpack? Diverse? That’s an understatement for a bill that sits a desert travelogue of Western Saharan musicians side-by-side with a history of two-tone from the precincts and car parks of 80s Coventry. Eclectic? Flatpack almost seems too anarchic to ever conceive a coherent purpose behind its selection, showing Harmony Korine’s Trash Humpers alongside silent classic Sunrise. Esoteric? Never. Flatpack has an inviting atmosphere and an ethos that encourages everybody to connect with cinema and realise how much it’s a shared part of our community. Diverse? Eclectic? Anarchic? Amazing! Whatever it is, it works, and it’s quite brilliant.
Taking over Birmingham’s best cinema and arts spaces for 6 days between Tuesday 23rd of March and Sunday 28th of March, Flatpack offers something unavailable anywhere else. It features film, animation, optical illusions, music, improvised sound and image, live performance, installation. And plasticine.
So many strands make up the festival that it’s impossible to categorize easily. But what does bind the festival together is a belief in film, and its power to bring people together. Alongside the most weird and wacky new films, sit comfortably a celebration of Birmingham’s own cinematic history.
The festival’s spiritual home is the Electric Cinema, the oldest cinema in the country, and this year, the festival’s ‘Patron Saint’, is local-born Oscar Deutsch. Founder of the Odeon cinema chain, Deutsch built his very first cinema in the Birmingham in 1930. The rapidly expanding chain went on to profoundly shape the viewing habits of the nation as cinema-going became the national pastime during the 1930s. His legacy survives him in the bold, architectural masterpieces that still litter the country; his Odeon cinemas. Their style defined the image of the cinema for a generation and Flatpack pay tribute with a bus tour of Deutsch’s Birmingham theatres.
Flatpack also bring to life perhaps the most accomplished silent film ever, Sunrise. Still placing 7th in Sight and Sound’s list of the best films ever made and performed in St. Martin’s Church with a live orchestra, this will be unmissable.
Looking forward Flatpack showcase a selection of the coolest and most exciting new film-making, from animated shorts to Werner Herzog’s Bad Lieutenant.
Flatpack offers a unique film festival experience – the very freshest and best, don’t miss it!