Feature film in the running for honours at Madrid International Film Festival
Birmingham film-maker Steve Rainbow’s latest cinematic venture is in the running for a clutch of honours at this year’s Madrid International Film Festival.
Mr Rainbow’s feature film iWitness, which was shot in Birmingham and staffed by several actors and crew from the city, has been nominated in five categories at the prestigious film festival which takes place in the Spanish capital in July.
The acting line-up includes several Birmingham actors, including Sean Connolly who did several of the voices in the recent Shaun the Sheep blockbuster and Bella Hamblin.
The film, which starred former Eastenders’ actor David Proud, is up for Best Film, Best Original Screenplay, Best Editor, Best Cinematographer and Best Producer.
Set in a Midland caravan park, the psychological thriller aimed to offer a new twist on Alfred Hitchcock’s classic film Rear Window .
Mr Rainbow said: “I’m delighted that the film has been selected to be in the competition and especially that the guys who helped make it are being recognised as well.
“Just to be in the running positively highlights the film industry in this region – especially 104 Films, Ark Media and Lauren Hatchard’s developing career as a fantastic director of photography.
“Film is all about collaboration and the joint realisation of an idea and we got that with iWitness.
“I’m only sorry David didn’t get recognised because it is a fantastic central performance and the first time a disabled actor has played the part of an able-bodied actor.”
The film was produced by Birmingham based company Ark Media and 104 Films, the UK production company and training provider focussing on disability and supported by Creative SkillSet and the BFI.
The Madrid nominations are the latest accolade for Mr Rainbow, whose previous film More Canals Than Venice met with widespread critical acclaim.
It was a documentary that highlighted Birmingham’s contribution to the world and covered 100 little-known facts about the city, covering everything from the invention of plastic to lawn tennis and the Industrial Revolution to the founding of the Football League.
The film made the shortlist for the Best Factual Programme category in the Royal Television Society Midlands Centre Awards.
DVDs of the film were subsequently distributed to all 435 schools in the city thanks to the generosity of Aston Business School and the King Edward VI Charity.
Prior to that Mr Rainbow enjoyed considerable success with another feature film, NFA, starring The Office actor Patrick Baladi.
Again it was shot in Birmingham and told the story of a seemingly successful and respectable man who suddenly finds himself homeless and penniless.
Mr Rainbow’s next feature film is already in development and continues the psychological horror theme of iWitness.
“It’s called Brokenhead and is set in a lighthouse,” said Mr Rainbow.
“It’s kind of the last of the trilogy in a way, NFA being the first and iWitness the second. Brokenhead takes these two ideas and brings them to a head – a broken head if you like.”
The Madrid International Film Festival runs from July 2-11 with the awards night taking place on the final night.
Mr Rainbow added: “Win or loose myself and some of the crew will be flying the flag for Birmingham high over the skyline of the Spanish capitol.”