Flatpack: Stop Motion Shorts


Hot on the heels of Arts & Science Festival is another of the city’s fantastic festivals – Flatpack Film Festival (13-22 April 2018). Taking over venues and spaces across Birmingham, Flatpack celebrates moving image in all its creative glory. Expect new features, weird and wonderful short films, live audio-visual performances, archive film, family activities, and loads more in between.

To whet your appetite, Flatpack has put together a selection of animated shorts on the theme of Stop Start! which brings together older stop-motion films from previous festivals with a selection of amazing shorts from their up-coming 2018 short film competition. Expect all manner of genres and themes, but look out for The Burden by Swedish animator Niki Lindroth von Bahr in particular – it may possibly be the greatest short film ever made. We’ll leave that up to you to decide…

Presented by Flatpack Film Festival  in partnership with Arts & Science Festival.

One Minute Movie Competition

MA Film and Television showcase documentary films and guided editing projects by recent alumni of the MA in Film and Television: Research and Production, with an introduction from key members of academic staff.

The second half of the evening will see a shortlist of films from the inaugural Department of Film and Creative Writing One Minute Movie competition. This is followed by a short panel discussion, announcement of the competition winner, and award of the grand prize!

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

Life Before Death

LIFE Before Death is a multi-award winning documentary series that asks the fundamental question underpinning our mortality.

This beautifully filmed journey takes us to 11 countries as we follow the remarkable health professionals battling the sweeping epidemic of pain that threatens to condemn one in every ten of us to an agonizing and shameful death. Through the eyes of patients and their families we discover the inherent humanity that empowers the best of us to care for those beyond cure.

This is an intimate, hopeful and life-affirming story of living well and dying better, advocating for making the most of every moment in our life before death.

Presented by Cultural Engagement

Hard Ticket to Hawaii

[dir: Andy Sidaris | 1987 | 100m]

Presenting ill-prepared commentary to terrible films, Trash Film Night is part of the year-round programme at The Electric Cinema.

A film that appears on many a ‘worst movie’ list due to its over-the-top violence, cheesy dialogue, unintentional humour, and overall ridiculousness, Hard Ticket to Hawaii follows two undercover federal agents as they battle both drug smugglers and a contaminated giant python. For Arts & Science Festival, hosts Luke and David will provide live commentary, poking fun, pointing out absurdities and asking the very important question, ‘Why on earth did no one stop these people?!’ 

Please note: this screening features LIVE COMMENTARY. If you want to watch Hard Ticket to Hawaii in respectful silence, then you’re in the wrong place!

Presented by The Electric Cinema in partnership with Arts & Science Festival.

Film & Human Rights

Don’t miss this evening of screening and discussion exploring human rights and filmmaking. The programme includes a showcase of short films on social issues made by local school pupils from Holte Academy in Lozells in collaboration with Film Studies staff at the University, and will be followed by a discussion bringing together academics, activists and filmmakers.

After a short break, we’re delighted to be able to screen the documentary Sons and Daughters of the Alarde (2013), which looks at the difficulties faced by women who wish to participate in the Alarde (weapons parades) in the Bidasoa area of the Basque Country, and reflects the tensions in this region. The celebrations that run throughout the day of the Alarde serve as the backdrop to the conflict between those who favour the participation of women and those who oppose it. The director of the film, Jone Karres, will be present and will participate in an interview and Q&A with the audience. Jone Karres works as a film critic for international press.

The event is sponsored by the University of Birmingham and its research centre B-Film: The Birmingham Centre for Film Studies, and is part of the ‘Screening Rights’ events series.

Presented by B-Film: The Birmingham Centre for Film Studies

Journey to the Centre of the Earth

[dir: Henry Levin, 1959, 129 mins) 

An exciting adventure based on Jules Verne’s classic novel. A clue encased in volcanic rock leads Professor Lindenbrook to believe he can reach the Earth’s centre. He is not the only one with this goal, however, and his expedition is dogged by a murderous rival. With life-threatening hazards and strange, subterranean beasts around every corner, the race to the prize makes for an action-packed thrill-ride.

Presented by mac birmingham



A Man Called Ove

[dir: Hannes Holm | 2017 | 113m]

Stepping from the pages of Fredrik Backman’s international best-selling novel, Ove is the quintessential angry old man next door. An isolated retiree with strict principles and a short fuse, who spends his days enforcing block association rules that only he cares about, and visiting his wife’s grave, Ove has given up on life. Enter a boisterous young family next door who accidentally flattens Ove’s mailbox while moving in, earning his special brand of ire. Yet from this inauspicious beginning an unlikely friendship forms and we come to understand Ove’s past happiness and heartbreaks. What emerges is a heartwarming tale of unreliable first impressions and the gentle reminder that life is sweeter when it’s shared.

One of Sweden’s biggest locally-produced box office hits ever, director Hannes Holm finds the beating heart of his source material and Swedish star Rolf Lassgård, ffectingly embodies the lovable curmudgeon Ove.

Presented by Arts & Science Festival in partnership with mac birmingham

Rituals of Disorder

This multimedia installation piece has been created by Liberal Arts and Science students as part of a module which looked at contemporary approaches to life, death and aging.

Drawing influence from SciArt and the work of artists including Damien Hirst and Christine Borland, the work comprises a film – produced, recorded and edited from scratch – with self-made plinths, found objects and integrated quotes taken from interviews conducted with various experts on the subject of death. Interviewees include anatomist Professor Alice Roberts who discussed cremation, a visual artist, a psychotherapist and a psychology scholar.

Presented by Liberal Arts and Sciences in partnership with Research and Cultural Collections

O Brother, Where Art Thou?

[dir: Joel Coen and Ethan Coen, 2000, 103 mins]

Set in the depression in Mississippi, O BROTHER, WHERE ART THOU? is an inventive adaptation of Homer’s epic, The Odyssey. Three shambolic convicts (George Clooney, John Turturro and Tim Blake Nelson) escape their chain-gang and embark on a quest for treasure and their freedom. Along the way, they meet many colourful Southern characters, and of course learn where their real fortune lies.

Presented by the Department of Classics, Ancient History and Archaeology in partnership with Arts & Science Festival, mac birmingham and B-Film as part of Homer’s Odyssey Today, a series of events focusing on the Odyssey’s afterlife from a variety of perspectives.



[dir: Joel Schumacher | 1990 | 115m]

Five medical students (Kiefer Sutherland, Julia Roberts, Kevin Bacon, William Baldwin and Oliver Platt) intentionally stop and then revive their hearts in a bid to determine ‘what happens after we die?’

Excitement soon turns to dread when childhood nightmares and past tragedies begin to infiltrate their waking lives and the group faces the consequences of the horrors they have unleashed.

This screening will be introduced by Rachel Marchant, Doctoral Researcher in the School of Psychology at University of Birmingham. Rachel studies how our brains produce hallucinations, using electrical brain stimulation and recording methods.

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


B-Film and Flatpack Film Festival presents this one-off screening of Girlhood, the third feature from French director Céline Sciamma. The film charts the difficult family life and dim prospects of 16 year-old Marieme, who, after meeting three other free-spirited girls of her own age, quits school to join their gang, in search of freedom and fulfilment.

The screening is introduced by academic Dr Kate Ince, whose research interests include women’s film-making in France in the 2000s.

Presented by B-Film and Flatpack Film Festival

The Odyssey

[dir: Jerome Salle, 2016, 122 mins]

Featuring a gleaming French cast including Audrey Tautou, director Jerome Salle takes us on a voyage through the life of legendary French oceanographer, environmentalist and filmmaker Jacques Cousteau.

Taking in locations from across the globe, Salle gives us a flawed Cousteau, a visionary who struggled to reconcile his boundless ambition with his roles as a father and husband.  The film’s emotional crux is Cousteau’s stormy relationship with his son Philippe, the former’s indomitable sense of adventure and discovery clashing with the latter’s conservationist stance.  The two journey together towards Antarctica’s harsh beauty, finding there the bonds that would unite them before tragedy.

The eternal drama of the father-son dynamic is married to breathtaking scenes captured underwater, a glimpse of the world that fired Cousteau’s pioneering passion and spirit.  Salle’s biopic never veers from Cousteau’s darker elements, yet pays fine tribute to his undeniable legacy as one of France’s most enduring cultural icons.

Preview screening courtesy of Altitude Film Distribution. Presented by Arts & Science Festival in partnership with mac Birmingham as part of Homer’s Odyssey Today, a series of events focusing on the Odyssey’s afterlife from a variety of perspectives.


Marie Curie: The Courage Of Knowledge

[dir: Marie Noëlle | 2016 | 100 mins]

A sweeping biographical film about the first woman to win the Nobel Prize, Marie Curie: The Courage of Knowledge is as much an intimate portrayal of the struggles of the scientist’s private world as of her legendary public accomplishments, chronicling her battles against the male academic establishment, as well as her blissful marriage to her scientific partner, Pierre.

Director Marie Noelle vividly depicts turn-of-the-century Europe in this portrait of the brilliant Polish-born woman who, at the age of 24, moved to Paris and launched her scientific career.

Presented by mac Birmingham in partnership with Arts & Science Festival

The Creeping Garden

Once considered part of the fungi family, the slime mould’s multi-coloured diversity and its ability to move towards food sources both capture the imagination and provoke debate. The Creeping Garden gathers a number of devotees including amateur mycologist Mark Pragnell and artist Heather Barnett (who cheerfully admits to taking slime moulds on holiday with her), underscoring their passion with gorgeous timelapse photography and music by Jim O’Rourke. A delightfully unexpected documentary.

Directors Jasper Sharp and Tim Grabham will take part in a discussion after the film along with artist Heather Barnett.

Presented by Flatpack Film Festival with support from University of Birmingham as part of a full day of fun and experiments with Slime Moulds on Saturday 21 March. For more information visit

Ulysses Gaze + Discussion

[dir: Theo Angelopoulos, 1995, 169 mins]

An epic chronicle of 100 years of Balkan conflict and a highly personal celebration of a century of cinema, Ulysses’ Gaze stars Harvey Keitel as a Greek-American filmmaker who journeys across the turbulent Balkan countries of the 1990s. Winner of the Grand Prize at the Cannes Film Festival, Ulysses’ Gaze is a hypnotic and sorrowful but ultimately rewarding film about both the absence and presence of the past in memory that finds Europe’s heart of darkness in Sarajevo. Theo Angelopoulous (1935-2012) was a giant of Greek cinema, whose magisterial style and dreamlike, gently unfolding narratives offer subtle and complex political allegories and blur any distinction between film and poetry.

This screening is preceded by a panel discussion exploring the history and current condition of Greek cinema in the context of the European Union, the traditions of the European art house, and contemporary World cinema as a whole. The discussion is chaired by Professor Rob Stone, Chair of European Film and Co-director of B-Film: The Birmingham Centre for Film Studies at the University of Birmingham. He is joined by Dr Lydia Papadimitriou of Liverpool John Moores University, author of The Greek Film Musical: A Critical and Cultural History (2006), co-editor of Greek Cinema: Texts, Forms and Identities (2011) and principal editor of the new Journal of Greek Media Culture (Intellect), as well as other experts to be announced nearer the screening.

Presented by B-Film in partnership with Arts & Science Festival and mac birmingham as part of Homer’s Odyssey Today, a series of events focusing on the Odyssey’s afterlife from a variety of perspectives.

*A discounted screening pass (£12/10) is available when tickets for Ulysses Gaze and Contempt are booked together.

(CANCELLED) Life:Moving



[dir: Briony Campbell and the participants from John Taylor Hospice, 2017]

The six Life:Moving films were made in 2017 by participants from John Taylor Hospice (JTH), Erdington as part of a collaborative and interdisciplinary research project led by Michele Aaron, then at the University of Birmingham. The broad aim of the project is to challenge society’s misconceptions about terminal illness by giving those experiencing it the opportunity to tell their own stories, and by bringing these stories to a wider audience. The films will be introduced by two key members of the Life:Moving team, Michele Aaron (Associate Professor of Film Studies, Warwick) and Jed Jerwood, art psychotherapist at JTH and clinical academic researcher at Coventry University.

For more information about the Life:Moving project, visit: lifemoving.org

Please be aware that these films are of a sensitive and sometimes explicit nature.

Presented by Michele Aaron, Associate Professor in Film and Television Studies, in partnership with Arts & Science Festival

Celluloid City

The birthplace of celluloid and the Odeon circuit, Birmingham has always had a fondness for movie-going. During the 1940s the city boasted over 100 cinemas, from backstreet fleapits to glittering picture-palaces, and later it was the launchpad for South Asian cinema in the UK. As Flatpack prepares to embark on a journey exploring this unique history, the Barber Institute plays host to an afternoon of free screenings and activities allowing you to whizz through a century of cinema-going. Ingredients will include:

  • A taste of silent cinema, with pianist Paul Shallcross accompanying a selection of classic comedy shorts;
  • Cultural historian Rajinder Dudrah (University of Manchester) and guests revisit the birth of the Eastern Film Society and the early impact of Bollywood in Birmingham;
  • Free screenings throughout the afternoon including The Last Projectionist, which recounts the shape-shifting history of the Electric Cinema.

Presented by Flatpack Film Festival in partnership with Arts & Science Festival

Contempt (Le Mepris)

[dir: Jean-Luc Godard, 1963, 103mins]

Described in Sight and Sound as the ”the greatest work of art produced in postwar Europe.” Godard’s 1963 film, adapted from a novel by Alberto Moravia, is perhaps the director’s most hauntingly beautiful film.

A French writer engaged to adapt Homer’s Odyssey at Rome’s famous Cinecitta studios, finds himself enmeshed in a marital crisis caused by the conflicting demands of his American producer and the German director (Fritz Lang, playing himself). Contempt is a film about the Odyssey, about filmmaking, about marriage, and about the beautiful landscape of the island of Capri, where the story of Paul (Michel Piccoli) and Camille (Brigitte Bardot), a modern-day Odysseus and Penelope, finally comes to a head at the extraordinary Villa Malaparte.

This screening will be introduced by Dr Elena Theodorakopoulos, Senior Lecturer in Classics at the University of Birmingham and will take place in mac birmingham’s Hexagon Theatre.

Presented by the Department of Classics, Ancient History and Archaeology in partnership with Arts & Science Festival, mac birmingham and B-Film as part of Homer’s Odyssey Today, a series of events focusing on the Odyssey’s afterlife from a variety of perspectives.

*A discounted screening pass (£12/10) is available when tickets for Contempt and Ulysses Gaze are booked together.

One Minute Movies

Watch entries to the Department of Film and Creative Writing’s annual One Minute Movie competition. This year’s entrants have created films in response to the theme ‘how green is your heart?’ and the competition winner will be revealed on the night.

There’ll also be a short showcase of film work by students in the department.

Advance bookings for this event have now closed. Tickets will be available on the door.

Presented by MA Film and Television: Research and Production


Saving Mothers Lives

There are still some places in the world where a girl is more likely to die in childbirth than receive education. 800 mothers die in childbirth or as a result of pregnancy-related complications everyday. And for every woman who dies, it is estimated that another 20 mothers are left with serious injury or long term illness. Most of these tragedies are avoidable.

Ammalife – a charity working at the forefront of global women’s health – presents a short film programme to show how you can make a difference.

Presented by School of Clinical and Experimental Medicine