PREVIEW: Flatpack Festival 2015, 19th-29th March ‘15

Flatpack-IdentOn Thursday 19th March, Flatpack Festival begins its annual ‘affectionate assault’ on Birmingham’s senses, running until 29th March. Tickets vary for each screening or event, with limited ‘Flatpass’ advance tickets available for  £80 – allowing entry to (nearly) everything on the festival programme.

For further details about events & tickets, including online purchase points, visit

2015 marks the ninth Flatpack Festival, a Birmingham phenomenon and selling point for the city’s artistic underground. Flatpack doesn’t position itself in the mainstream and it maintains a healthy autonomy through the selection of locations the festival is delivered in.

From café’s to pubs, and cathedrals to conservatoires, most of the events, covering ten days, are concentrated within a mile or so of Birmingham City Centre – with a few events reaching out to Newtown, Digbeth, the University of Birmingham and even Dudley.

Critically acclaimed and achieving a fair amount of national attention, Flatpack Festival has consistently delivered a magnificently eclectic line-up each year; 2015’s festival is no different, covering film in every definition possible through music, arts & exhibitions.Main with web colour bcg - lr

From building your own hand held camera obscura, to visiting an exhibition of the history of visual music and live cinema, from exploring the history of coffee from farm to cup, to watching a series of the best British comedy shorts or voyaging through the hidden world of slime moulds – there is something at Flatpack Festival 2015 for pretty much everyone.

Here are a few events at Flatpack Festival 2015 that Birmingham Review will be keeping an eye out for:


8bit Lounge @ The Old Joint Stock, Fri 20th Mar, 12noon – 6pm
For those of you that find modern day gaming a bit of an anti-social endeavour, which only allows you to enjoy the company of flailing limbs or brotherly carnage, this oldskool hark-back to the glory days of simple gaming will have you dancing for joy.

The Old Joint Stock is hosting an afternoon of retro gaming on prehistoric consoles; if you’ve got a soft spot for Pong, and don’t mind playing games where you only have to use one hand, then this is probably the place for you.

Entry is free, for more details visit

Also check out the screening of Europe in 8bits, Javier Polo’s documentary about ‘the 8 bit scene in Europe’ – at The Old Joint Stock on Friday 20th Mar, between 6:30pm – 7:50pm [Cert.15] /


004F-TheBitterTearsThe Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant [Cert.15] @ John Lee Theatre, B’ham & Midland Institute, Fri 20th Mar, 6pm – 8pm
For those of you with a love for German cinema, Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant (1972) is a look into the loneliness and power of a prominent fashion designer based in Bremen.

A curious 124min narrative scripted almost entirely to her apartment bedroom, with an all female cast. The Flatpack Festival 2015 screening will show a newly restored version of the film. Fassbinder made 39 feature films in his 37 year life; Alan Fair will be leading an informal discussion about the The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant after the film’s after screening.

Entry is free, for more details visit


004H-EdwardianHorrorShowEdwardian Horror Show @ B’ham Museum & Art Gallery, Fri 20th Mar, 8pm – 11pm
Ever wondered what a gallery is like without the hustle and bustle of visitors? This is a chance to wander the halls of BMAG after hours, experiencing the accompanying emptiness that is so often missed in the busy(ier) daylight.

There will be screenings of some early cinema spooky short films, including Frankenstein – a take on the Mary Shelley original from the Edison Company (1910), and the demonic The Red Spectre (1907) by Segundo de Chomon. Hosted in the Edwardian Tea Rooms at BMAG, there will be gothic music and haunted show-tunes to accompany the show.

Tickets are £7.50 / £10, for more details visit


004G-InternetCats - lrInternet Cat Videos @ The Old Joint Stock, Sat 21st Mar, 2pm – 3pm
What feels like one of the oddest concoctions to come out of Flatpack Festival 2015, but perfectly fitted to their eclectic approach (and possibly the most likely subject to guarantee an Internet audience these days) is a bunch of under 5’s showing cat videos.

But for those who are unaware of the phenomenon that is furry-creatures-doing-stupid-things-online, you will be introduced to the ‘cutest, funniest and strangest videos’, spliced together by a team of under-5’s for an hour. And submissions are still being taken… is there no end in sight – email

Entry is free, for more details visit


004J-TimeMotionTime + Motion @ Millennium Point (atrium), Wed 25th Mar, 7pm – 11pm
For those who like to disconnect completely with reality, immerse yourself in an evening of live animation and performance at Time + Motion – including the first UK showing by Japanese duo Usaginingen. Usaginingen’s self-made machinery produces real-time visuals through filters which are soundtracked by a live percussion score. Something you have to see and hear to believe.

Also at this event, Sam Meech will be sharing his brand of ‘knitted cinema’ with a mix of stop motion, 7-inch singles, Eadweard Muybridge photography and (of course) knitting. Whilst Sculpture will be ‘using a mix of analogue and digital practices’ to ‘explore the realm of electronic music, kinetic art, comic strips and audiovisual cut-ups’.

People can also explore the atrium between performances, checking out Jim le Fevre’s ‘spinning world of phonotropes’, Paul Gittens’ psychedelic wall of shadows, and Sellotape Cinema’s world of… clue’s in the title. Or you can ride a life sized ziatrop; there’s really quite a lot to do for a fiver.

Entry is £5, for more details visit

Flatpack Festival 2015 runs across Birmingham from 19th-29th March. For full details, including all events on the festival programme and online ticket purchase, visit