Flatpack Festival, Birmingham

Spreading across two weekends for the first time, Flatpack Festival returns to Birmingham 21 – 31 March. Including live scores, parties, cycle-powered screenings and a celebration of Birmingham Arts Lab, the event lives up to its slogan, “Film. And then some”, perfectly. As well as the event Film Bug (free screenings, events and installations), Unpacked returns to provide an insight into the arts industry with demos and discussions for artists, curators and filmmakers. One of the most atypical and inventive events in the UK’s cultural and film calendar, Flatpack 2013 looks set to provide the stimulating array of experiential cinematic treats that its growing legion of fans has come to expect.

Incorporating some of Birmingham’s more unusual venues and locales, Flatpack mixes brand new talent with forgotten classics. Screenings and events will be taking place in the more unconventional spaces, like warehouses and churches, and the traditional venues of the century-old Electric Cinema. The popular Film Bug programme will take place within the Colomore Business District, featuring free screenings, events, installations and kicks off the festival from 21 March.

The festivals hub will be found at the Old Library within Digbeth’s Custard Factory. Entitled, Flatpack Palais, the space will be a place to meet people, eat cake, pick up a brochure and sample the programme. With help from Birmingham City University’s School of Architecture, the Victorian building will be transformed into a screening space and social centre.

Current highlights of the event include; Shynola, the legendary filmmaking collective present a selection of their mould-breaking music videos, and talk about their long-awaited feature film The Red Men; Lotte Reiniger’s beguiling 1926 cut-out fairy-tale, The Adventures of Prince Achmed is refreshed by a new live score from Dutch ensemble the Sonja Van Hamel Trio; in anticipation of a new six-part BBC series about Birmingham’s Edwardian roughs, the Peaky Blinders, historian Chris Upton will lead a walking tour, entitled Gangland Style, through the city’s forgotten battlegrounds, and pedal-powered screenings and an archive programme exploring Birmingham’s bike-building heritage feature in Cyclomania.

With a stunning programme and a variety of events on offer, Flatpack is set to be an inspired couple of weekend.

Flatpack Festival, 21 – 31 March, across the city of Birmingham.

1. Sol Cinema, courtesy of Sol Cinema and Flatpack Festival.
2. Demdike Stare, courtesy of the BFI and Flatpack Festival.
3. Electric, Chris Keenan and Flatpack Festival.