Flatpack launches 2019 festival prgramme

Acclaimed festival heads into its thirteenth incarnation.

Described by the Guardian newspaper as, “the most open-minded festival in the UK”, Birmingham’s Flatpack Festival returns this May Day Bank Holiday for its thirteenth edition. Flatpack 2019 boasts a wonderfully eclectic line-up over the six-day festival with 100 events taking place at fourteen different venues across Birmingham. With everything from car park theatre and cat-shaped bento to Moomins and post-punk legends, this year’s Flatpack will treat audiences to a week of inspiring screenings, exhibitions, live performances, installations and some very special guests.

Headline events in the Flatpack 13 programme include:

Flatpack will welcome acclaimed stand-up Stewart Lee and filmmaker Michael Cumming to offer an exclusive taste of their new documentary King Rocker, a unique tribute to the Black Country’s unsung post-punk heroes The Nightingales. Cumming will also screen his film Oxide sharing his personal insights into the process of making the cult TV series Brass Eye.

The ever-popular family strand Colour Box will return with a host of animated shorts and free drop-in activities to entertain all the family.

Flatpack will open in spectacular style at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire with the world premiere of Sinestro Home Video’s live rescore of Japanese classic A Page of Madness, complete with benshi narration.

This year’s programme of feature films present a wide and varied picture of international cinema including: Eighth Grade, the debut feature from YouTube star and comedian Bo Burnham; Peter Strickland’s offbeat horror in Fabric which follows the life of a cursed dress as it passes from person to person with devastating consequences; and Summer, an ode to the underground rock scene of pre-perestroika Leningrad featuring an epic soundtrack from David Bowie, T-Rex and Iggy Pop.

The documentary strand will include the UK premiere of Narcissister Organ Player, a revealing look at the inscrutable performance artist and Werner Herzog’s Meeting Gorbachev.

Part cinema and part music gig, Optical Sound offers a fascinating fusion of live performance and audio-visual artistry. In 2018 Flatpack launched the inaugural Waveform artist development programme, supporting a group of twelve UK-based artists to create audio-visual performance pieces and Waveform artist Natalie Sharp will present Lone Taxidermist: Bodyvice her new multidisciplinary performance exploring chronic pain at this year’s festival.

Flatpack’s acclaimed short film strand celebrates emerging talent, with 21 of the 50 shorts in competition for the jury prize of £1,000 being UK premieres.

Flatpack has always had a taste for digging into the archives, now reflected in a new strand gathering rare, unseen material and revealing the stories behind it. A day of Video Tales at MAC will showcase rediscoveries from the VHS era, including a peek at pioneering booking agency and record shop Oriental Star forty years after they brought qawwali legend Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan to the UK for the first time.

Full details of the Flatpack Festival programme and ticket information can be found at www.flatpackfestival.org.uk