BPREVIEW: Action 4 M.E. Fundraiser @ Actress & Bishop 27.01.20

Words by Ed King

Genevieve Miles will perform as part of a special line up at the Action 4 M.E. Fundraiser gig – to be held at the Actress & Bishop on Monday 27th January. Also appearing will be Rhianna Keane, Echo Gecco, PJJ and Mr. K.

Entry to the gig is free, but with a suggested donation of £3 – or whatever you have left after the weekend (fiscally speaking). All proceeds go to the Action for M.E. national charity, which campaigns across the UK ‘to end the ignorance, injustice and neglect faced by people with M.E.’

Doors open for the Action 4 M.E. Fundraiser gig from 7pm, held upstairs at the Actress & Bishop. For more direct gig information, click here to visit the Action 4 M.E. Fundraiser Facebook event page.

In a healthy hodge podge of approach and style, this Action 4 M.E. Fundraiser gig brings an evening of live music and spoken word, embacing genres from neo-soul to indie pop. You might even find a little space disco in there… trust us, you’ll know it when you hear it.

But organised by Genevieve Miles, who’s sophomore Libra Rising EP was released in May 2019, the evening is being organised ‘to raise money and awareness’ to hep sufferers of M.E. – challenging the stigma of the debilitating disorder and helping to support the patient founded Action for M.E. charity.

Miles has suffered with M.E. since she was 14 years old, with the disorder altering the path of the formative years most of us take for granted. But through her music she was able to find both a platform of expression and the personal drive to challenge her M.E. head on, committing to performances even though ‘sometimes it was so refreshing and enjoyable, other times it was painful and really just horrible.’

In an article written for the Action for M.E. website, Miles explains: ‘I definitely feel like I missed out on a proper teenage experience. I remember in school thinking I would never get a relieved ‘Friday feeling’ again because Friday just meant a weekend of being wiped out stuck in the house before somehow dragging myself out for lessons again on the Monday.’

An often misunderstood disorder, M.E. can be hard to diagnose and as of yet has no cure – only the treatment of symptoms. But the Action 4 M.E. Fundraiser gig is hoping to help change and challenge this, as Miles continues: ‘I’ve recruited some of my favourite Birmingham artists for a gig to raise money and awareness for M.E. It feels so good to be organising this gig, it gave me a confidence to be more open about my experience of M.E. with my friends. I’ve always found it really hard to explain because there are so many different symptoms; I rarely explained to my friends how I felt, so this new confidence is freeing.’

But keen to keep music also at the core of this event, Genevieve Miles has programmed an eclectic line up from the local live music scene. Rhianna Keane will be bringing her neo-soul and R’nB vibes to the evening, whilst Echo Gecco will be wrapping their finely stitched blanket of prog, rock and jazz tinged genres around the crowd.

PJJ will be spicing things up/sleazing things down with a little bit of the aforementioned space disco, as Mr. K delivers a set of ‘genre-bending spoken word music that engages and impacts.’ And last but not least is Genevieve Miles, who will be performing her plucky-in-the-face-of-adversity indie pop.

But if our oh-so-clever descriptions aren’t grabbing you, never fear… there’s a handy Spotify playlist to help promote the show. Stop, look, and listen below:

Genevieve Miles will perform as part of the Action 4 M.E. Fundraiser at the Actress & Bishop on Monday 27th January – alongside Rhianna Keane, Echo Gecco, PJJ, and Mr K. For direct gig info and links to online ticket sales, click here to visit the Facebook event page. 

For more on Genevieve Miles, visit www.genevievemiles.com

For more from Action for M.E., visit www.actionforme.org.uk

For more on the Actress & Bishop, including venue details and further event listings, visit www.theactressandbishop.co.uk


NOT NORMAL NOT OK is a campaign to encourage safety and respect within live music venues, and to combat the culture of sexual aggression in the music industry and beyond – from dance floor to dressing room, everyone deserves a safe place to play.

To learn more about the NOT NORMAL NOT OK campaign, click here. To sign up and join the NOT NORMAL NOT OK campaign, click here.

If you have been affected by any issues surrounding sexual violence – or if you want to report an act of sexual aggression, abuse or assault – click here for information via the ‘Help & Support’ page on the NOT NORMAL NOT OK website.

BPREVIEW: Screening Rights Film Festival @ mac 26.10-01.11.17

BPREVIEW: Screening Rights Film Festival @ mac 26.10-01.11.17

Words by Heather Kincaid

Returning for its third year in 2017, Screening Rights Film Festival is Birmingham’s international festival of social justice film –screenings features from around the world, with Q&A sessions and panel discussions on the themes and issues they address.

Held at mac, Screening Rights Film Festival 2017 will run from Thursday 26 October until Wednesday 1 November – with ticket deals available for people booking multiple screenings. For more info, including venue details and online ticket sales, click here

According to the Screening Rights Film Festival website, ‘The need for heartfelt films about the depths of human adversity around the world has grown enormously in recent decades’ – as the festival organisers seek to inspire and develop debate by shining a light on filmmakers responding to major contemporary concerns. At the heart of the project is the question of the potential for film, both drama and documentary, ‘to affect, or even effect, personal, social and political change’, whether by informing, provoking, moving, inciting action, connecting people or simply bearing witness to events.

Emerging out of research conducted by former University of Birmingham film lecturer Dr Michele Aaron, Screening Rights Film Festival has spent the last couple of years steadily establishing a place in the city’s cultural calendar. With Aaron having recently taken up a post at Warwick, this year the festival has been helped by the joint support of both universities, as well as a base at mac Birmingham.

Ghost Hunting @ mac 26.10.17 / Screening Rights Film FestivalBuilding on her long-held interest in the ethics of film and spectatorship, the project was originally kicked off by a symposium on ‘Screening Vulnerability’, beginning as an event series co-organised by Aaron and PhD student, John Horne. In 2016, it expanded to encompass twelve films screened in five different venues. This year, however, the focus has narrowed again, with just nine films being shown at mac. It’s a little smaller then, but the greater simplicity afforded by a single, centralised location might well work in the festival’s favour in terms of attracting audiences.

Unsurprisingly, the films being shown at the Screening Rights Film Festival reflect the organisers’ specific areas of expertise and investigation, as well as being influenced by hot topics on the global sociopolitical stage. Dr Aaron has described how, in recent years, her focus has shifted from writing about “power and ethics of representation and spectatorship in relationship to, principally, mainstream English cinema,” and towards a more outward-looking approach with an interest in film practice, often collaborating with filmmakers and community groups.

Among the manifestations of this change has been an intensive smartphone filmmaking course delivered to university students from the West Bank with the help of Palestinian youth advocacy agency, Sharek. Tramontane @ mac 26.10.17 / Screening Rights Film FestivalThe best short film to come out of that ‘Tammayaz’ scheme was screened at last year’s Screening Rights Film Festival, alongside Mohamed Jabaly’s and Abu Marzouq’s Ambulance. Meanwhile, John Horne’s PhD thesis concerns the ‘western’ spectator and the ‘Arab Spring’. Accordingly, films from and/or about the Middle East feature prominently on this year’s programme, making up a total of six out of the nine films being shown.

2017’s line-up includes the documentary Ghost Hunting, in which Palestinian director Raed Andoni confronts his demons head-on by recruiting a team to help him build a replica of the Israeli interrogation centre where he was held at the age of 18.

Drama Tramontane follows the struggle of a young Lebanese man to uncover the truth about his origins and identity after discovering that his ID card is a forgery; while Raving Iran sees two DJs forced to make a choice between home and family or moving abroad to pursue their passion for forbidden ‘Western’ music.

In The Other Side of Home, a Turkish woman raises questions about identity in a moving, personal tribute to the still-denied Armenian genocide of 1915; in Mr Gay Syria, the crowdfunded debut feature of Ayşe Toprak, a group of LGBT Syrian refugees kick back against intolerance in Turkey.

Raving Iran @ mac 01.11.17 / Screening Rights Film FestivalThere’s also Notes to Eternity, a more ‘impressionistic meditation’ on the Israel-Palestine conflict, centred on the lives and ideas of prominent thinkers and Israeli policy critics Noam Chomsky, Norman Finkelstein, Sara Roy and Robert Fisk.

Another area of interest for the festival’s creators has been depictions of illness, madness and even death on screen. Among Aaron’s more recent projects, for example, has been the Life: Moving exhibition, comprising a series of films created with residents of Erdington’s John Taylor Hospice, lately displayed at Birmingham REP as part of a wider UK and international tour.

This year, Screening Rights Film Festival has joined forces with Flatpack Assemble to present a screening of Jennifer Brea’s Unrest, which charts the director’s own experience of living with ME, otherwise known as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

Jaha's Promise @ mac 29.10.17 / Screening Rights Film FestivalDespite the fact that thousands of people worldwide independently attest to similar symptoms, medical science has so far failed to offer any explanation for the condition, leading many to conclude that it is purely psychosomatic. In an attempt to conduct some investigations of her own and potentially change attitudes towards the illness, Brea connected with fellow sufferers, piecing together her film from recorded Skype interviews, iPhone footage and professionally shot vérité.

Coinciding with mac Birmingham’s ongoing Women and Protest season (13 September – 26 November), Jaha Dukureh also uses personal experience as a springboard for her film Jaha’s Promise. Now based in the US, the activist began her life in Gambia where a significant number of girls are subjected to Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) during infancy. Having been cut at just a week old, Jaha herself did not discover the truth or what it would mean for her until she was married to an older man at the age of 15. After having a daughter of her own, however, she vowed to return to her home country to confront its deeply embedded culture of FGM, whatever the cost.

Finally, Nick de Pencier’s Black Code uses The Citizen Lab’s 2009 exposure of global internet spy ring ‘Ghostnet’ as a starting point for a chilling exploration of 21st Century surveillance culture. In an unnerving trailer that combines archive footage with satellite imagery and CCTV-style shots, Citizen Lab director Dr Ronald Deibert describes the highly detailed and growing “digital exhaust” produced by Internet users and how three developments – mobile devices, social media and cloud computing – have resulted in “the most profound change in communication technology in the whole of human history”.

But this isn’t just a case of emails being intercepted: there are hints of cameras and audio devices being hacked and switched on unbeknownst to owners, and documents being extracted from hard-drive storage. “This is where Big Data meets Big Brother,” the trailer concludes. Prepare to leave feeling a little paranoid…

Unrest – @ mac 27.10.17 / Screening Rights Film Festival


Screening Rights International Film Festival is at mac Birmingham from Thursday 26 October until Wednesday 1 November – ticket deals are available for people booking multiple screenings. For more info, including venue details and online ticket sales, click here

For more on Screening Rights Film Festival, visit www.screeningrights.org

For more information about mac Birmingham, including full event listings and online ticket sales, visit www.macbirmingham.co.uk