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Up-and-coming filmmakers take over Broadway Cinema

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A collective of Midlands-based filmmakers showcased their work to a packed-out audience at one of Nottingham’s most popular cinemas, in what promises to be the first in a series of new grassroots film festivals.

The inaugural Picture Locked Showcase featured a diverse array of shorts including crime thrillers, experimental horror, documentaries, a music video and more. Each of the films on display were the result of combined efforts by up-and-coming writers, directors, actors and other creatives predominantly from the Derby and Nottingham filmmaking scene, and played on Broadway Cinema’s biggest screen.

The main event of the showcase was the sumptuously-shot and slickly-edited Beautiful Meadow, helmed by writer-director Laurence Mason-Guetta and starring Tarik Badwan in the film’s unnerving lead role. Following a couple who soon find themselves in danger at the hands of their BnB host, it feels like it could be the first instalment in a prestige TV drama series, and heralds exciting things to come for the Picture Locked crew as they move on to increasingly ambitious projects.

Laurence said: “It was such a joy to bring so many amazing and talented individuals into one space, and I’ve been very grateful for the responses so far – a certain sign of a bright future for the Midlands filmmaking scene, and an experience I’ll never forget.”

A tale of two Laurences: Project Coordinator Laurence Mason-Guetta (left) and actor Laurence James-Davis (right) outside Broadway (Image credit: rehanrana.co.uk)

Another highlight of the festival was Mthabisi Mlauzi’s Swine, which sees an ex-con apply for a job at a farm after completing community service. It’s a film characterised by ambiguity and a looming sense of dread – we’re given very little clues as to what the protagonist was convicted of or if he actually did it, but it quickly becomes very clear that this supposed fresh start is not what it seems. Like Beautiful Meadow, it takes a sinister turn in its final act, and the weight of its twist is multiplied by dizzying cinematography and an abrasive score.

Mthabisi also found himself in front of the camera as the subject of the documentary Tee by Charlie Martin, which chronicled his arrival to the UK from Zimbabwe and the struggles he faced growing up in one of Derby’s most deprived areas. For Mthabisi, the opportunity to have both his work and his story shown publicly was a challenging yet rewarding experience that he feels is an essential part of growing as an artist.

To a Tee: Mthabsisi was involved in multiple films on the lineup including Swine and his Derby-set crime tale The Gift (Image credit: rehanrana.co.uk)

“Every time you put your work out there as a creative, it has a part of you in there, so it leaves you vulnerable,” he explained. “Someone like me shouldn’t be in a place like that with my background, but having my story told helps my work by giving people a deeper understanding of me.” 

“It was so nice to see so many other filmmakers who probably have work but are afraid to put it out there, to show them that they can do it too,” he continued. “Us directors need that push sometimes – we need to hear that round of applause.”

Family business: Friends and relatives came in droves to support the filmmakers (Image credit: rehanrana.co.uk)

With a total of fourteen films on show making for a combined running time of two hours, the festival was an all-too-rare opportunity to create a truly democratic space for film, allowing local people to carve out their own corner of the silver screen – something Laurence intends to see happen more often.

“The Picture Locked Film Showcase is something we aim to run at least once a year, and we plan to continue to use it as a space to give new filmmakers their voice and keep amplifying the voices of existing filmmakers,” he said. “It’ll always be an event that encourages anybody and everybody to attend, and one that also accepts a wide variety of films into its roster.”

The Picture Locked Film Showcase took place at Broadway Cinema on 13th January

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