Flatpack is a festival which takes over venues across Birmingham every March. It draws people from far and wide with a mixture of films, performances, contraptions and surprises, and has been described as “magnificently eclectic” (Time Out), “joyously inventive” (the Guardian) and “the UK’s most creatively curated film festival” (the Independent).
The Palais is the beating heart of Flatpack, a place where festival-goers can meet, have a piece of cake, pick up a brochure or watch a film. It’s not just a screening space though –if you’d popped in last year you might have seen an OHP Draw-Off, a magic lantern show, Brooklyn psych-rockers White Hills, or a multi-artform tag-team retelling of Citizen Kane. In the past this hub has found its home in an old dance studio, a gallery space, and a warehouse. In 2013 it will be in the lovely nineteenth century building which once housed the Deritend Free Library, now part of Digbeth’s Custard Factory complex just south of Birmingham city centre.
A lot of what goes on in the Palais is free, and we’d like to keep it that way so that as many people as possible can enjoy a piece of Flatpack. Some of the budget is already in place, but setting up a temporary cinema-cum-music-venue-cum-café-bar isn’t cheap. Your support will help to pay for technical equipment, seating, signage, and most excitingly all the great things that we’re hoping to put on in the building during the festival: from short film programmes to live bands to psychedelic poster shows. In return you’ll have the satisfaction of helping to make a unique cultural event happen. But that's not all...
A glittering array of perks are on offer to Palais supporters, from onscreen and online credits for all our donors to festival passes and limited edition wonders unavailable anywhere else. In exchange for any donation of £25 or more we’ll also be inviting you to a special screening event to wet the Palais’ head, and to sample some of the delights in store over the rest of the festival.
A group of second years students and post-graduates from Birmingham City University's School of Architecture are developing designs for transforming the Old Library into a fully functioning screening space and festival hub, rethinking the traditional cinema seating rake. The students are being mentored by a range of specialists including Assemble Collective (Cineroleum, Folly for a Flyover) and Matthew Higginbottom (Queen and Crawford).
Every year Flatpack pays homage to a patron saint, someone from Birmingham who has made a difference to film and cinema. This year we'll be canonising a collective, with Birmingham Arts Lab, the multi-disciplinary arts space which started life at a converted youth centre in Newtown as our focus. The hub will host a series of discussions charting the Lab’s influence as well as an exhibition of some of the eye-catching posters produced at their pioneering lithograph workshop.
The Palais will also showcase a tasty range of more contemporary talent including the Shynola collective, diabolical duo Demdike Stare, and claymation maverick Lee Hardcastle. Plus the usual packed menu of free screenings, discussions and parties.
Risks and challenges
Brilliant festivals thrive on a strange chemistry that creates something greater than the sum of its parts, and they always involve risk of some sort. There are a few particular challenges which come with the Palais project:
> Time is tight - we'll need to move fast to finalise the budget and programme, and then the creation of the venue itself will happen in a short space of time.
> It's a temporary venue - we'll be installing a cinema and gig venue in an empty space, and marketing and signage will need to be excellent so that people know where we are.
> Multiple partnerships - the Palais can't happen without the support of numerous collaborators, and it's vital that everyone's expectations and roles are clear.
Flatpack has accumulated an enviable track-record in tackling these kind of challenges. With good planning, an excellent team and attention to detail we're confident that festival no.7 will be the best one yet.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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