After an exciting 60 days the campaign is over and we're delighted to have achieved £7,734- 110% of our target. We want to say a huge thank you to all of our backers! The support we've received for this project has been amazing. We will be getting in touch with all our pledges very soon to show you our gratitude and to get you your well deserved rewards!
Thank you again, from all of the Flatpack team and the BCU students
Each Flatpack pays homage to a 'patron saint', a figure who has helped change the way we see film, and this year we're doffing a cap to an organisation: the Birmingham Arts Lab. The Palais will be home to a series of events as well as a small exhibition exploring this unique collective and the mark they left on the city.
Sprouting from a series of one-off events in the late 60s which combined live music and hallucinatory light-shows, the Lab became a cornerstone of Birmingham's underground arts scene. Setting up an unlikely home in a former youth centre in Newtown, their programme mixed film, theatre, visual art, live performance, experimental music, poetry, and anything else they could squeeze in. They also set up a print workshop which produced a stream of amazing (and pioneering) silk-screen posters. Money was tight, ideas were in abundance, and the coffee was murky. While most of the arts labs which sprang up in the late 60s died out fairly quickly, Birmingham's persisted and thrived for over ten years, eventually transmogrifying into the Triangle cinema on Aston University's campus.
Lab alumni went on to have interesting and varied careers, and some of them will be returning to share their stories. In addition it'll be an opportunity to remember Pete Walsh, the passionate and knowledgeable film programmer at the Lab and Triangle who passed away late last year. (See this Sight and Sound obit for more background on Pete.) We'd like to connect the Lab legacy with what's going on in Birmingham today, and you'll have a chance to see the kind of things they put on as well as making your own screen-prints.
With your help our Kickstarter campaign will help Flatpack to work with Co.Lab (Birmingham City University) to create a hub which will transform the beautiful blank canvas of the Custard Factory's Old Library into a fully-functioning cinema and event space.
Co.Lab is an architecture and design practice within the Birmingham School of Architecture, with a focus on exploration, employability and collaboration. Through working on live projects with clients like Flatpack, Co.Lab students gain experience with real-life clients on real-world briefs, where they learn to work to budget and within other logistical restraints. In return, Flatpack will get an amazing hub space which caters to all our needs: offering free screenings, a bar with food, and the usual eclectic mix of filmic wonders, discussions, workshops, and parties.
The process for designing the space is well underway, with initial conceptual ideas now being fine-tuned to suit the needs of the venue. A raked seating structure will be installed in order to make an engaging cinema experience, and a suspended ceiling installation is being mooted to help from an experiential and acoustic angle. By the end of this month the designs should be finished, before all the materials are sourced and acquired for the build in March.
We really appreciate all the money pledged so far toward the Flatpack Palais campaign. If you haven't done so yet, have a look at the 'Rewards' available on the main Kickstarter page: the items on offer are only available through this campaign until the end of January, and offer fantastic value, so please do sign up to get your name on screen. On offer are festival tickets, an invitation to a free reception with refreshments and screenings, a limited edition A3 art print from The Paper Cinema, a festival pass, a limited edition stereoscopic viewmaster device, and much love from the Flatpack team!
Images shown are from the initial proposals for the Flatpack Palais. Students are currently working on the final designs for the space.