BREVIEW: Clerks & Shooting Clerks (with Q&A) @ The Mockingbird Cinema & Kitchen 19.01.18

Clerks & Shooting Clerks (with Q&A) @ The Mockingbird Cinema & Kitchen 19.01.18

Words by Emily Doyle

On arrival, the foyer of the Mockingbird Cinema & Kitchen is full. The waiting audience is abuzz with discussion of “the original”. As usual, the informal atmosphere at this indie gem leaves newcomers unsure of the etiquette: “Do we just go in?”

At 7:15pm sharp, a member of the cinema staff opens the door and welcomes us in. Shooting Clerks writer and director Christopher Downie is joined by producer Ryan James in front of the screen. The pair explain their last minute decision to reverse the running order, showing the original Clerks (1994) followed by Shooting Clerks (2016), and that they’ve never actually watched the two films back-to-back before. They ask if anyone has never seen Clerks. A smattering of hands are raised. The rest of the auditorium turn to give them encouraging looks – everyone knows that they’re in for a treat.

Clerks opens with the now iconic View Askew vanity card, and the audience settles into their seats contentedly. There’s joy to be had in enjoying this cult hit in a cinema surrounded by laughing fans, rather than half-watching it on a laptop at a winding down house party. The short scenes and quick dialogue mean that there’s always something new to enjoy; Smith packs so many witticisms into 92 grainy monochrome minutes that Clerks stands up well to multiple watches. Iconic lines (“What kind of convenience store do you run here?”) raise a hearty laugh from new viewers and certified Kevin Smith geeks alike.

On the surface, you’d be forgiven for thinking Clerks relies on smutty laughs and a DIY aesthetic, but its true charm runs much deeper. Even without much knowledge of the back story, everything about the film feels authentic. The cast have the chemistry you’d expect from real life friends, and the dialogue could only have been written by someone who really does work in a convenience store. An unacquainted viewer is left with some questions though: Why black and white? Is this as low budget as it looks? And who is this Silent Bob character?

The team behind Shooting Clerks have the answers. There is a short break to grab a beer and a bag of fresh popcorn from the bar, then Downie and James introduce their film, encouraging the audience to look out for the twenty cameos (with more still to be added in later cuts of the film).

UK screenings of Shooting Clerks have been long awaited – it only premiered last week at The Prince Charles Cinema in London. Rather than the obvious documentary style, the film follows a biopic format. It’s not often you see a biopic where everyone portrayed is still alive to pass comment, but Downie is lucky enough to have Kevin Smith’s support.Clerks & Shooting Clerks (with Q&A) @ The Mockingbird Cinema & Kitchen 19.01.18 The film tells the story behind Clerks, a tale which is now the stuff of indie cinema legend.

We see a young Kevin Smith skipping school to go to the cinema with his father (played by Scott Schiaffo, the Chewlies gum representative in the original Clerks). An older, more familiar Smith is excellently played by Mark Frost. We see him working in the real convenience store where Clerks was filmed by night. We see the fabled credit cards used to raise the $27,000 budget for a film that would go on to gross $3 million at the box office. We even see the birth of Jay and Silent Bob.

Shooting Clerks is a film with a lot of heart. After showing them working day and night, Downie concludes with scenes of the Clerks crew celebrating the sale of the distribution rights to the dubiously named Harry Weizmann of Mirimax Films. Shooting Clerks is a film about making a film with your friends – with whatever means you can get your hands on.

“Are you guys okay with a drunk Q&A?” James asks, storming to the front of the auditorium, wine glass in hand. He’s joined once again by Downie, and by Chris Bain (Jason Mewes) and Tom Sullivan (Jeff Anderson) from the cast. The group offer up a quick back-story, explaining that most of the film was shot in Scotland with a just a few scenes in the US. They address the Harry Weismann character, with Downie saying he was relieved that they didn’t include a portrayal on the actual producer in question in light of recent accusations. James tells the audience that the film is about 85% accurate, and that, “the truth is the truth – this is a very entertaining way of telling the truth.”

When asked about their favourite Kevin Smith film, it’s a surprise to see that the crew almost unanimously agree on Clerks II. Maybe another biopic is in the works, then? 

For more on Shooting Clerks, visit

For more from The Mockingbird Cinema & Kitchen, including full event listings and online ticket sales, visit

BPREVIEW: Clerks & Shooting Clerks (with Q&A) @ The Mockingbird Cinema & Kitchen 19.01.18

Words by Emily Doyle

The Mockingbird are launching into the New Year with a whole evening dedicated to cult nineties comedy, Clerks.

On Friday 19th January, the Custard Factory based ‘cinema and kitchen’ will be screening the Kevin Smith debut, alongside Shooting Clerks – the feature length comedy/biographical drama about the making of the original. Doors open at 7pm, with tickets priced at £10 for entry to both films. For direct screening info, alongside links to online tickets sales, click here.

For the unacquainted, this black & white indie flick was made on $28,000 and shot by night in the convenience and video stores its director, Kevin Smith, once worked at by day. Clerks ended up grossing over $3 million.

Upon its release in 1994, Clerks was loved by audiences and critics for its deadpan performances and sharp dialogue. Peter Travers wrote in Rolling Stone that, ‘Smith nails the obsessive verbal wrangling of smart, stalled twentysomethings who can’t figure out how to get their ideas into motion.’ It ended up spawning two sequels, spin off TV shows, cartoons and comics.

Smith’s feature length debut also went on to win a slue of industry awards, including the ‘Award of the Youth’ and ‘Mercedes-Benz Award’ at the 1994 Cannes Film Festival, and being joint awarded the ‘Filmmakers Trophy’ at the 1994 Sundance Film Festival – along with Boaz Yakin’s thriller, Fresh.

The evening will start at 7:15pm with a screening of Shooting Clerks, a biopic shot in Dundee, Fife, New Jersey and Florida by the Scottish based production house, Auld Reekie Media. Director Christopher Downie tells the story behind Clerks, and how Kevin Smith went from indie crusader to cinematic icon. Embodying the underdog spirit of its muse, the documentary went from being only 9% funded on its original IndieGoGo fundraiser to winning the Orlando Film Festival Indie Spirit Award.

While Shooting Clerks had a US release in 2016 (including a special screening in Kevin Smith’s hometown of Atlantic Highlands, New Jersey) it’s only now getting a UK release.

After the screening, Downie will be joined by members of the Shooting Clerks cast. Following autograph signing and photo ops, a showing of the original Clerks (1994) will kick off at 10pm.

Clerks – official trailer


Shooting Clerks – official trailer

On Friday 19th January, The Mockingbird Cinema & Kitchen will be screening a double bill of Clerks and Shooting Clerks, alongside a Q&A with crew and cast members from Shooting Clerks.

For direct screening info, alongside links to online tickets sales, visit 

For more on Shooting Clerks, visit

For more from The Mockingbird Cinema & Kitchen, including full event listings and online ticket sales, visit

ED’S PICK: January 2018

Words by Ed King

January 1st… no finer day to cross off the calendar. But as the world crawls out of bed with hangovers and resolutions, Birmingham’s events diary looks forward to a pretty vibrant January. It seems the ‘quiet month’ is not so dormant this year. Which is a good thing, right? I mean, who needs to stay in and save money? Food and heating are for quitters.

Some pretty big gigs happening this month, with the rock powerhouse that is Paramore (ain’t alliteration ace) coming to the Genting Arena on Jan 14th. Tickets may be sold out by the time I finish this sentence, so you’d better act rápido por favor (just finished watching Narcos) if you want to catch them tour their fifth album, After Laughter, through the second city. On the Lord’s Day as well… dios nos perdone.

On the smaller stages in Birmingham, Surprise You’re Dead are tearing the city in two on 24th Jan – as Ohio’s metalcore Miss May I come to Mamma Roux’s, whilst London’s pop punksters The Bottom Line are joined by Nottingham’s Lacey at The Asylum. In fact, overall it’s quite a strong start to 2018 from SYD as the Birmingham’s stalwart rock/punk promoters are also bringing Dead! to The Flapper on 31st Jan and The Bronx to Mama Roux’s on 17th Jan – although The Bronx gig has already sold out so check the relevant corners of t’interweb for returns.

Elsewhere in the land of live gigs, we have the rising stars Riscas headlining an uber line up at The Sunflower Lounge on 19th Jan – with Spilt Milk Society, Candid and The Real Cool all in support. If this gig doesn’t sell out then I will 1) buy a hat, 2) eat my hat, 3) buy another hat. 2018 is set to be a big year for Riscas, we reckon, so catch them when and where you can. Then The Hunna return to the O2 Academy on 11th Jan, whilst Setting Son Records present Average Sex and Semantics (one of our faves) at the Hare & Hounds on 24th Jan.

Hot on the heels of their recent triumphant homecoming, KIOKO headline a stellar line up of local acts at The Crossing on 26th Jan – with Namiwa Jazz, Zara Sykes, VITAL, Elektric, and revered local poet Kurly all performing as part of the Love Music Hate Racism event at the Milk Street venue. Trish Clowes presents her latest album, My Iris, with a new ensemble of the same name at Eastside Jazz Club on 25th Jan. Whilst those somewhat silent psychedelics, Moon Duo, come back to the Hare & Hounds on 30th Jan courtesy of This Is Tmrw. Then there’s the gig I’m throwing my metaphor in the ring for – This is the Kit showcase their new album, Moonshine Freeze, at The Glee Club on 24th Jan.

January also sees a strong line up of comedy in the city, kicking off with Tina T’urner Tea Lady Steamy Bingo at The Old Joint Stock on 5th Jan. Tracey Collins will be bringing her ‘camp alter ego’ back to The Old Joint Stock in March, so if you miss your numbers this time around you can always try again in spring.

Stand up also starts strong at The Glee Club, with Andy Zaltzman bringing his Satirist for Hire tour to The Arcadian Centre venue on 19th Jan – a week before Fern Brady’s debut Suffer Fools tour lands there on 26th Jan. Quick tip, if either of these stand ups ask you to email in suggestions or comments… don’t. Or at least don’t sign your name. Or sit in the front row. You have been warned. Whilst over at the Town Hall, Ed Byrne brings his Spoiler Alert tour to Birmingham on 27th Jan – a room big enough for some safe anonymity, for the audience at least.

Theatre stamps a reassuringly eclectic foot down on the first month of 2018, with Outer Circle Arts presenting The Death Show at The Rep Door on 26th and 27th Jan. Whilst a stone’s throw behind them in Hockley, Blue Orange Theatre present The Late Marilyn Monroe – running from 30th Jan to 3rd Feb. Then over at The Patrick Centre is the somewhat less self-explanatory Translunar Paradise  – Ad Infinitum’s unspoken story ‘of life, death and enduring love’, presented at the Hurst Street venue for one night only on 31st Jan.

Saint Petersburg Classic Ballet present Swan Lake, also for one night only, at the Symphony Hall on 7th Jan. Whilst The Mockingbird continues to its mission to save The Custard Factory from the cultural abyss with a double screening of Clerks and the documentary behind Silent Bob’s directorial debut, Shooting Clerks, on 19th Jan. There will also be a Q&Q with the latter’s director, Christopher Downie, and some cast members at 9pm.

For more film, mac hosts Playback from 7th to 24th Jan – a touring and ‘interactive exhibition’ of over 200 short films from ‘krumping and parkour dance shorts, to an animated tale of teenage love that unearths our desire to be as cool as the zines we read’. Held in the arts centre’s First Floor Gallery, with free admission, Playback carries a Tubbs and Edward local angle too, as ‘some of the films were originally made in and around Birmingham, where young people based in the Midlands were given the support and funding to create a short film.’

Then rounding off Birmingham’s cultural cache for the New Year, The Chefs’ Forum present their ‘Pay What You Can’ lunch at University College Birmingham on 15th Jan – a networking, trade and showcase event with four courses from some of the city’s top restaurants. Having launched its Midlands’ agenda at UCB back in February this… sorry, last year, The Chefs’ Forum is hosting their Jan ‘18 lunch to raise funds and awareness for its Educational Foundation which supports young chefs across the UK.

And with Louisa Ellis (The Wilderness), Mark Walsh (Opus Restaurant), Luke Tipping and Leo Kattou (Simpsons) and Olivier Briault (The Edgbaston Boutique Hotel) all chipping in a course, it should do just that. Although, the non-fixed donation approach is gratefully received in mid January.

Now if I can just find an energy provider with the same approach…

**Also straddling this month and the next are the two rescheduled Lady Gaga concerts, as the uber-star kicks off the UK leg of her Joanna World Tour at Arena Birmingham on 31st January before returning to play the Genting Arena on 1st February. Tickets to both arena shows are priced at £48.50 (+ fees), as presented by Live Nation UK.

In memoriam of her paternal auntie and namesake, Lady Gaga’s latest song, album and tour appear as personal an affair as you can offer when delivering it to millions of strangers. A curious dichotomy, but one Birmingham will get to see on stage first as the Live Nation machine sets down in our city before anywhere else in the UK. Kudos.

And with tickets being transferred from the previous dates in October 2017, it’s fair to say there may be a bit of a bun fight to get in to these gigs. No doubt it’ll be worth a few scuffed elbows though, but even if ‘I’m never going to know you now, I’m gonna love you any how’. OX Joanne.

For direct gig info, including venue details and online ticket sales, for Lady Gaga at Arena Birmingham on 31st January, click here. For Lady Gaga at the Genting Arena on 1st February, click here.’

Tickets for the originally scheduled Lada Gaga shows at the Genting Arena (12th Oct ’17) at Arena Birmingham (15th Oct ’17) can be transferred to the new dates. According to the venues’ websites, ‘if you cannot make the new date, refunds can be obtained at your point of purchase for a limited period’.**

Playback @ mac 7th to 24th Jan

For more on any of the events listed here, click on the highlighted hyperlink. 

Ed King is Editor-in-Chief of Review Publishing, which issues both the Birmingham Review and Birmingham Preview titles.

BPREVIEW: Bank Holiday Weekend Screenings @ Custard Factory 25-27.08.17

Bank Holiday Weekend Screenings @ Custard Factory 25-27.08.17

Words by Heather Kincaid

As the holidays draw to a close, Factory Cinema Co. invites audiences to see out the summer with a series of cinematic classics over the Bank Holiday Weekend. Making the most of the last of the August weather, five outdoor screenings will transform the Custard Factory courtyard into one of Birmingham’s biggest cinema spaces.

Films scheduled for outdoor screenings are: The Rocky Horror Picture Show (25th), The Lion King (26th), Grease (26th), Back to the Future (27th), Batman (27th). The Mockingbird Cinema will also be hosting its regular progamme of films, but on the indoor screen. For full details of all screenings at the Custard Factory this Bank Holiday Weekend, indoor and outdoor, click here.

Street food, snacks and a fully licensed bar will all be available to attendees, with a promise of prices more reasonable than the average multiplex. To add to the laid-back summer party atmosphere the area will also undergo something of a makeover, with artificial turf laid down and audiences invited to ‘BYOPCB’ (bring your own pillows, cushions and blankets). Fancy dress, as well as singing and dancing along to musical numbers are all encoThe Rocky Horror Show - Bank Holiday Weekend Screenings @ Custard Factory 25.08.17uraged – there’ll even be spot prizes for the best costumes.

But perhaps best of all there’s something to appeal to all ages, with family-friendly showings of The Lion King and Back to the Future taking place on Saturday and Sunday afternoon respectively, while The Rocky Horror Picture ShowGrease and Tim Burton’s Batman provide more grown-up evening entertainment, followed by late-night after parties.

Working in partnership with The Mockingbird Cinema and Supersonic Events, Factory Cinema Co. has been establishing itself as a key component of the Custard Factory’s creative community. A string of successful events held at The Mockingbird have ranged from brand new releases for just £4, to music tributes, movie quizzes and sing-along specials. Themed nights, marathons and anniversary screenings have proved particularly popular, with fans of everything from Moulin Rouge to Phoenix Nights getting the chance to show their appreciation with fellow enthusiasts.

Grease - Bank Holiday Weekend Screenings @ Custard Factory 26.08.17Since the project to redevelop the complex first got underway in 1993, Digbeth’s Custard Factory has undergone several permutations, evolving and changing as businesses have come and gone with varying degrees of success. But the former Bird’s Factory was recently sold on to private investment and asset management company, Oval Real Estate, together with the nearby Fazeley Studios.

This change is a much larger conversation with a multitude of voices, but the programme of events at The Mockingbird – and those being put forward by Factory Cinema Co. – could play a significant part in securing a future for Digbeth-based creative complex. It is hard to imagine a Custard Factory today without the previous programme of events from The Medicine Bar and Factory Club. So watch this space… no pun.

For full details of the Bank Holiday Weekend outdoor screenings, click here.

For more on Factory Cinema Co. and its events, visit

For more from The Mockingbird Cinema, including full event listings and online ticket sales, visit

For more on Supersonic, visit

For more on the Custard Factory, visit