MA Film & Television + One Minute Movie Competition

Join MA Film and Television for a showcase of documentary films and guided editing projects by the most recent cohort of MA in Film and Television: Research and Production students.

This is followed by a shortlist of films submitted to the Department of Film and Creative Writing’s second ‘One Minute Movie’ competition. This year’s entrants responded to the festival theme memory and forgetting and the competition winner will be announced on the night!

Presented by MA Film and Television and B:Film: The Birmingham Centre for Film Studies

The Save the Children Fund Film

The previously banned, Save the Children Fund Film, directed by Ken Loach and produced by Tony Garnett, is a documentary about the work of Save the Children, a British-based charity working for children around the world. Shot in 1969 in the UK, Kenya and Uganda, the film was originally commissioned by Save the Children and London Weekend Television to mark the Charity’s fiftieth anniversary.

Already an established filmmaker, Loach opened the documentary with a quotation from Friedrich Engels, and constructed a film that explores the politics of poverty, class and charities and the relationship between them. The film, however, was promptly withdrawn from release and kept in the BFI’s national archive; Save the Children representatives at the time felt it subverted their aims. Banned until 2011, we are delighted to present the second ever public screening of this film.

After the screening Professor Matthew Hilton will lead a Q&A session with Juliano Fiori, Humanitarian Affairs Adviser from Save the Children.

Presented by the Centre for Modern British Studies and the Institute of Advanced Studies ‘Saving Humans’

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea

[dir: Richard Fleischer, 1954, 118 mins)

Disney’s first live action feature sticks closely to Jules Verne’s 1869 book, in which a warship is sent to investigate a ‘creature’ that is sinking vessels in the middle of the sea. The warship itself is sunk and three survivors end up aboard the ‘monster’, a submarine called ‘The Nautilus’, skippered by the insane but brilliant Captain Nemo (James Mason). The rest of the adventure includes a battle with a giant squid.

Presented by mac Birmingham

Screening Rights Film Festival

Arts & Science Festival is delighted to support the fifth Screening Rights Film Festival, the Midlands’ International Festival of Social Justice film and debate. Screening Rights aims to inspire and develop debate on the potential of film to affect personal, social and political change.

Running 21 – 24 November 2019 and taking place across Birmingham and Coventry, the festival brings together screenings of highly acclaimed new films with post screening discussions involving directors, producers, writers, activists and experts.

To view the full programme and book tickets, head over to the festival website.

Akounak Tedalat Taha Tazoughai

A revolutionary story of guitars, motor-cycles, cellphones – and the music of a new generation. Don’t miss this Tuareg language remake of Prince’s Purple Rain.

The film is set in Agadez, the Nigerien city ‘where guitars are king’ and stars the Tuareg ‘desert blues’ guitarist Mdou Moctar in Prince’s title role. Adopting the original’s structure, the story follows a motorcycle riding, purple robed musician trying to make a name for himself whilst battling local rivals, his conservative father and eventually, his own ego.

The Tuareg are a semi-nomadic Berber group in North Africa, and their language (tamashek) has no word for the colour purple. The title therefore translates literally to ‘rain the colour of blue with a little red in it’.

Presented by the Department of Modern Languages in partnership with Research & Cultural Collections and mac birmingham.

Victorian Magic Lantern Show

Using glass slides from the University’s Research and Cultural Collections, and a traditional magic lantern from Winterbourne House and Garden, the event will explore archaeological sites & discoveries, & highlight some of the most interesting images in the collection.

Presented by Winterbourne House and Garden in partnership with Research and Cultural Collections




[dir: Safa al-Ahmad | 2016 | 35m 7s]

Wars don’t just erupt and end, they don’t happen in a vacuum either.  This event will highlight the ways in which the current Yemeni conflict is first and foremost a legacy of a series of past wars which started in 1914 and haven’t yet come to an end.

From the 1914 Battles with the Ottomans to the rise of Al-Qaeda in the late 1990s, to the outbreak of the civil war in the aftermaths of the 2011 uprisings, and the more recent military intervention by a coalition led by Saudi Arabia, this event will shed light on the history of a decades-long conflict currently resulting in the ‘worst humanitarian crisis’ in the contemporary history of the Middle East and North Africa region.

The event will open with a screening of Emmy award-winning documentary Yemen Under Siege, followed by a panel discussion bringing together Saudi film director Safa al-Ahmad in conversation with UK-based historians with experience working on WWI legacies. The panel will be moderated by Dr Dima Saber, Senior Research Fellow at the Birmingham Centre for Media and Cultural Research at Birmingham City University.

Presented by Dr Dima Saber, Birmingham City University, in partnership with the Voices of War & Peace: AHRC World War One Engagement Centre. Documentary courtesy Safa al-Ahmad and PBS Frontline.

Light on Loop


Visit the University’s outdoor screen for a rolling programme of award winning shorts by filmmakers from across the globe. Using a variety of techniques including movement, pixilation, stop motion and visual effects, the films explore light in creative and imaginative ways.

Full programme:

LIGHT [dir: Stephen Ong/ Production: Make it Move Productions, 2015, 1m 43s]
This experimental animation plots the history of light, from the burning embers of a camp fire to the white glow of the smartphone, in one seamlessly transitioned sequence.

PAS DE DEUX [dir: Normal McLaren, 1968, 13m]
A hypnotic, cinematic study of the choreography of ballet. A bare, black set with the back-lit figures of dancers create a dream-like effect in this Oscar®-nominated short film.

LIGHT [dir: David Parker, 2011, 1m 26s]
Short film designed to raise awareness of energy consumption and waste.

THE WELL-TEMPERED CLAVIER [dir: Alan Warburton, 2015, 5m 12s]
Alan Warburton interprets two compositions from Bach’s “The Well Tempered Clavier” into a visual score featuring thousands of fluorescent light bulbs, each tailored to the length and pitch of each note with exacting precision.

WHAT LIGHT (THROUGH YONDER WINDOW BREAKS)? [dir: Sarah Wickens, 2009, 4m 11s]
A patch of sunlight cast by a bedroom window breaks free and finds its own shape.

LUMINARIS [dir: Juan Pablo Zaramella, 2011, 6m 20s]
In a world controlled and timed by light, an ordinary man has a plan that could change the natural order of things.

THE THEORY OF SUNSET [dir: Roman Sokolov, 2017, 9m]
Deep at night, a dedicated cyclist traverses a wintry forest. The challenge: make sure the new day gets off to a fresh and timely start.

*If the weather is against us we will screen the programme indoors, please visit the Arts & Science Festival website for details before heading out.

Frantz Fanon, Black Skin, White Mask

Interviews, reconstructions and archive footage tell the story of the life and work of the highly influential anti-colonialist writer Frantz Fanon, author of Black Skin, White Mask which examines the psychological effects of colonialism and racism on the colonised and ‘The Wretched of the Earth’, a passionate call to revolution. The film also traces his professional life as a psychiatric doctor in Algeria during its war of independence with France.

‘The impetus for the film project was to restore to academic and artistic discourses a recognition of both the originality and contradictory nature of this major thinker. It was initially conceived as a reflection on the revival of interest in Fanon’s ideas in black visual and performance arts. The black arts movement in Britain and North America had sought a more substantial basis for reflection on the black body and its representations. In development, the film’s mandate became broader to include other aspects of Fanon’s influence and legacy.’
– Isaac Julien

The screening is presented in partnership with The New Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies (NCCCS) at The Drum and will be followed by a discussion offering a unique chance to re-engage with crucial questions about race and identity. NCCCS aims to create an open and inclusive space for debate, discussion and political engagement within and between the various communities of Birmingham. It embraces the ethos of Stuart Hall’s directorship of the original Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies at the University of Birmingham and seeks to analyse the problems facing Birmingham’s communities by forging a working relationship with those very citizens.
Presented by Dr Claire Peters, Department of Modern Languages, in partnership with The Drum as part of a project sponsored by the AHRC’s Cultural Engagement Fund, which supports valuable collaboration between universities and cultural organisations.

Filming the Inevitable

Since the pioneering days of cinema in the late 19th century, death, murder, and suicide have always been portrayed on film. Over a century later, these subjects are as prevalent as ever for filmmakers.

Flatpack Film Festival curates a programme of films that explore how contemporary short filmmakers and animators are dealing with the theme of death. The programme includes the award-winning Animals I Killed Last Summer, which touches on Freud’s psychoanalytic theory that there is evil within every one of us; Birmingham-based animator Louis Hudson’s festival hit Don’t Fear Death, a whimsical look at the positives of being dead, and I think this is the closest to how the footage looked, an experimental documentary in which a man with poor means recreates a lost memory of the last day with his mother.

This is a drop-in screening, don’t worry if you can’t stay for the duration.

Presented by Flatpack Festival in partnership with Cultural Engagement 



[dir: Jennifer Brea | 2017 | 97m]

Twenty-eight year-old Jennifer Brea is working on her PhD at Harvard and months away from marrying the love of her life when she gets a mysterious fever that leaves her bedridden and looking for answers. Disbelieved by doctors yet determined to live, she turns her camera on herself and discovers a hidden world of millions confined to their homes and bedrooms by ME, commonly known as chronic fatigue syndrome.

Unrest tells the first-person story of Jennifer and her husband, Omar, newlyweds grappling with how to live in the face of a lifelong illness. But it is also a global story about an international community of patients with a serious, life-altering illness — millions suffering invisibly, ignored by medicine and science because of sexism, ignorance, and bias.

With the lack of medical education or clear treatment guidelines, most doctors find ME difficult to diagnose. Patients spend on average five years seeking a diagnosis. Unrest brings medical providers inside spaces they are rarely able to go – their patients’ homes and bedrooms – for an intimate look at a disease that leaves 25% of patients housebound or bedbound and often unable to even seek medical care. It invites medical providers to reflect how they can best support patients and caregivers grappling with any lifelong illness for which there are no clear answers and to reconnect with the reasons they first chose their healing profession.

This screening will be introduced by Dr Michele Aaron, Director of Screening Rights Film Festival, Birmingham’s international festival of social justice film. Screening Rights aims to inspire and develop debate on the potential of film to affect personal, social and political change.

Presented by the College of Medical and Dental Sciences in partnership with Screening Rights Film Festival and Arts & Science Festival.

Human Nature

[dir: Adam Bolt, 2019, 107 mins]

A breakthrough called CRISPR has given us unprecedented control over the basic building blocks of life. It opens the door to curing diseases, reshaping the biosphere, and designing our own children. Human Nature is a provocative exploration of CRISPR’s far-reaching implications, through the eyes of the scientists who discovered it, the families it’s affecting, and the bioengineers who are testing its limits.

How will this new power change our relationship with nature? What will it mean for human evolution? To begin to answer these questions we must look back billions of years and peer into an uncertain future.

Presented by Midlands Arts Centre in partnership with Arts & Science Festival.

Datong: The Great Society

Hailed as a masterpiece, Datong: The Great Society focuses on modern China’s first major utopian philosopher and earliest constitutional reformer, Kang Youwei (Liu Kai-chi) and his pioneering feminist daughter Kang Tongbi (Lindzay Chan).

Kang and his daughter fled into exile for sixteen years following the Qing government’s bloody crackdown on the political reform he initiated in 1898. Framed around their Swedish soujourn (1904–1908), Evans Chan’s docu-drama recounts Kang’s epic struggle to modernise China and his dream of Datong – the Chinese utopia.

Evans Chan will introduce the film and Dr Shirley Ye of the Department of History at University of Birmingham will host a post-screening discussion.

Life and Death, and the Social Action Film

A showcase of short ‘Social Action’ films made by pupils at Holte School, Lozells, Birmingham in collaboration with staff from Film Studies at the University.

The evening will also feature social action films by local filmmakers and a panel discussion exploring the potential of film to change lives.

Presented by Department of American and Canadian Studies


[dir: Nacho Vigalondo | 2008 | 93m]

Lauded short film director Vigalondo makes his feature debut with this tense, unstoppable vision of science and natural law gone awry. A man who accidentally travels back into the past and meets himself. A naked girl in the middle of the forest. A mysterious stranger with his face wrapped in a pink bandage. A disquieting mansion on the top of a hill. All of them pieces of an unpredictable jigsaw puzzle where terror, drama and suspense will lead to an unthinkable crime. Who’s the murderer? Who’s the victim? TIMECRIMES takes a bold, difficult premise and brings the rarely-tread time travel framework to pulse-pounding but intelligent new heights.

This screening will be introduced by Dr Nikk Effingham, Senior Lecturer in Philosophy at the University of Birmingham. Nikk researches metaphysics, with ancillary interests in the philosophy of religion and the philosophy of epidemiology. His interests in metaphysics are mainly within the philosophy of time, particularly time travel – he’s recently completed a book on the philosophy of time travel, arguing that whilst it might be possible it would almost certainly be fatal for anyone to even to try to travel in time.

Presented by Shock & Gore Festival in partnership with Arts & Science Festival.

THE PLAN that came from the bottom up

[dir: Steve Sprung, 2019, 270 mins]

Screening schedule:
THE PLAN Part 1 – 14.00 – 16.00
Interval – 16.00 – 17.00
THE PLAN Park 2 – 17.00 – 18.30
Panel Q&A – 18.30 – 19.30

THE PLAN that came from the bottom up is a thought-provoking and extensive film essay which chronicles the extraordinary story of the Lucas Aerospace engineers, who forty years ago responded to the threat of redundancy with their own plan of action. The film documents how this group of workers developed alternatives to the military products their company made, including  wind turbines and hybrid cars.

With climate injustice fanning the flames of inequality all around the world, the most urgent question we face is how we transform our destructive economic model towards one that is good for people and the planet. This film needs to be watched and shared – for it will inspire, educate and transform what we think is possible.
Asad Rehman, ‘War on Want’

This special screening will be followed by a panel Q&A including a Lucas Aerospace worker and special guests from the climate and Just Transition movements.

Please note, the Midlands Arts Centre cinema has a strict no latecomers policy, please arrive early to avoid disappointment.

Presented by Midlands Arts Centre

To Liv(e)

Long considered an underground classic, Evan Chan’s widely acclaimed directorial debut is inspired by Norwegian actress, Liv Ullmann’s, visit to Hong Kong in 1990, where she decried the forced deportation of Vietnamese refugees.

Following the life of protagonist Rubie, and capturing the bohemian fringe of the Hong Kong arts scene, Chan examines love, family, the fate of Hong Kong, and the culture clash between East and West with depth and assurance.

Evans Chan will introduce the film and Hermann Aubié, PhD Candidate in the Centre for East Asian Studies at the University of Turku, Finland, will host a discussion after the film.

The Stuart Hall Project

The Stuart Hall Project is a meditation on the life, politics and work of the renowned intellectual Stuart Hall by the acclaimed director John Akomfrah.

Hall, who sadly passed away in February, was an integral figure in the establishment and development of the Birmingham Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies, the institutional origin of what is now the international discipline of cultural studies.

Presented by the Centre for

Modern British Studies

Stop/ Start Film Festival


Don’t miss this one-off event which takes the Arts & Science Festival theme Stop Start! as its, well, starting point.

One Minute Movie Competition

Watch entries to the Department of Film and Creative Writing’s annual One Minute Movie competition. This year’s entrants have created films that take inspiration from the A&S festival theme and the competition winner will be announced on the night.

The Breakfast Club
[dir: John Hughes, 1985, 93 mins, certificate 15]

They were five students with nothing in common, faced with spending a Saturday detention together in their high school library. At 7 a.m., they had nothing to say, but by 4 p.m. they had bared their souls to each other and become good friends. To the outside world they were simply the Jock, the Brain, the Criminal, the Princess and the Kook, but to each other, they would always be The Breakfast Club.

Join students from MA Film and Television: Research and Production for an immersive screening of John Hughes’ 80s classic featuring live actors and a free continental breakfast buffet!


Presented by MA Film and Television and B:Film: The Birmingham Centre for Film Studies and supported by Flatpack Projects.

POSTPONED :: One Minute Movies


Watch entries to the Department of Film & Creative Writing’s annual One Minute Movie competition. Entrants have created films inspired by Arts & Science Festival’s winter theme: illumination and the competition winner will be revealed on the night. There’ll also be a short showcase of film work by students from the department.

Presented by Department of Film & Creative Writing