Cosy and Chilling Gothic Tales from the South…

As the evenings draw in, and Hallowe’en is looming, we’re looking forward to our delightfully atmospheric (and ever so slightly sinister) screening of Charles Laughton’s ‘The Night of the Hunter’, this Saturday at St Michael’s Community Hall, in Brighton. Details of the screening can be found on our website. Be sure to pre-book your tickets to avoid disappointment – they are going like hot cakes, and there is limited capacity in the venue.

Thinking about this Southern Gothic classic has got us in the mood for more in a similar vein, so we thought we’d take a look at some other choice films from the genre – something to cosy down to, with a cup of tea, this Autumn….

Wise Blood (1979)

John Huston’s adaptation of Flannery O’Connor’s novel of the same name is an odd little film. Following the conflicted Hazel Motes (played by Brad Dourif with his signature strangeness), a young war veteran and founder and preacher of the ‘Church of Truth Without Christ’, the film affectionately takes in all manner of eccentric characters and misfits, and doesn’t miss a beat.

Sparrows (1926)

The Southern thriller, ‘Sparrows’ is classic Mary Pickford, who was easily the most powerful woman in Hollywood when she starred in and produced this film. Pickford plays Molly, an adolescent inmate living at a horrific ‘baby farm’. She looks after the children who are being held there, and plots their escape…

Down by Law (1986)

Mrs Filmspot has an enormous soft spot for Tom Waits… Mr Filmspot is less sure. One thing they both agree on, though, is this original and charming comedy by Jim Jarmusch. The slow-moving, simple camera work captures the landscape of the Louisiana Bayou beautifully, and the wisecracking camaraderie of the three principal actors (Waits, John Lurie and the ever-delightful Roberto Benigni) makes this essential viewing.

To Kill A Mockingbird (1962)

A key element in many Southern Gothic films is the idea of children and their innocence. This adaptation of Harper Lee’s masterly novel is a great partner to ‘Night of the Hunter’, in that, like in Laughton’s film, it illustrates how children can ‘abide and endure’, dealing with circumstances beyond their control.

Mud (2013)

Another film looking at an adult world from the perspective of a child, ‘Mud’ is the most recent entry on this list. Said to be inspired by the work of Mark Twain, writer-director Jeff Nichols has created a modern fairytale, which also harkens back to nostalgic ‘adventure’ films of the 1980s. Matthew McConaughey’s escaped convict is a rather perfect flawed hero. One of our favourite films to come out of the US in the past 5 years.

…All the above are fantastic films, of course… however,’The Night of the Hunter’ is surely one of the finest Southern Gothic films. We hope to see you at St Michael’s this Saturday. Wrap up warm, as the film is a bit of a chiller!

ALSO! Don’t miss our next Doodle Animation workshop – this Monday 24 October at Arts@theCrypt in Seaford. We shall be at the gallery 11am – 3pm, and you can contribute to our short film about Seaford. The workshop is absolutely free, so come and join us!

We had a fantastic time at Hyperdrive Sci-Fi and Fantasy Film Festival on Saturday. The small, but perfectly formed group of animators helped create an astonishing amount of animation in just over an hour. The final film will be released on our YouTube channel shortly, so watch this space!


Early Sci Fi… preparing for Hyperdrive

Hello Filmspotters!

Goodness me, I’m sorry that we have abandoned the blog for so long! We felt it was time to get back on track, ahead of our exciting autumn and winter season. There are lots of exciting screenings, workshops and projects coming up – so there will be lots to write about!

First off, we’re focussing on our upcoming Workshop at next week’s Hyperdrive Sci-Fi and Fantasy Festival at Hailsham Pavilion. We’re delighted to be working with this exciting festival for the first time this year. Its a fun festival where you can see what’s new from some of the fantastic up and coming talent in the world of sci-fi and fantasy film. International filmmakers will be showing off their latest productions, while raising money for two great charities: Demelza House Children’s Hospice and Smokey Paws.

At the festival, we’re running a workshop entitled La Doodle Dans La Lune – creating a ‘reimagined’ version of George Méliès’s innovative silent science fiction from 1902. Full details can be found on our website. In honour of this, we thought we’d re-launch the blog with five early sci-fi picks!

5. The Lost World (1925)

Based on the Arthur Conan Doyle book of the same name, ‘The Lost World’ is an extremely watchable and fun silent film. The stop motion animation by Willis O’Brien was a great influence on Ray Harryhausen, a hero of all here at Filmspot HQ! You can see the film is what is thought of as its most complete form at the above YouTube link, so put the kettle on and settle down for a treat.

4. Paris Qui Dort (1925)

An early comedy/ sci-fi crossover, the plot involves a mad scientist ‘freezing’ citizens of Paris with a magical ray. Rene Clair’s first film as Director, this charming tale is possibly the first time a film explored the premise of ‘what would you do if everything was frozen apart from you?’

3. 20,000 leagues under the sea (1916)

Thought to be the first feature length sci-fi film, Stuart Paton’s adaptation of Jules Verne’s novel was renowned for its very early underwater photography, which was shot by the pioneering Williamson Brothers. The entire film is on YouTube, but the quality is not great.

2. Metropolis (1927)

When somebody mentioned ‘silent sci-fi’, I think ‘Metropolis’ is the first film that would spring to most people’s minds – and with good reason. Reconstructed and restored in recent years, if you haven’t seen the most recent and most extensive cut of this film, I urge you to watch it. It is incredible, iconic and breathtaking.

1. La Voyage dans la Lune (1902)

Of course, we couldn’t resist rounding off our list with Georges Melies very early short. Melies is often referred to as the ‘father of sci-fi’. It is a beautifully rich and imaginative short film – and we can’t wait to see what visitors to Hailsham will create in response to it next Saturday!

Hope to see you at Hyperdrive!

Collaborating with Movel Shoes UK

Hello there Filmspotters,

We’re now putting the final prep work together for our screening dance event for Jacob Krupnick’s Girl Walk // All Day, this Friday at Alive Fitness and Natural Health in Brighton.

We are delighted that Movel Shoes are collaborating with us for this special occasion.  Movel offers a new world of active, accessible urban shoes, with clean and contemporary lines. The brand was inspired by the Brazilian spirit of movement (called “ginga” in Brazil). The name itself comes from “móvel” , meaning “mobile” in Brazilian Portuguese

Watch out for Kit, Elz and Lewis, our dance troupe at the event this Friday, who will be wearing colourful, bold, fun Movel trainers. Be sure to follow Movel on Facebook and follow them on twitter,

As part of our collaboration, Movel Shoes are offering audience members and Filmspot Mailing List members the chance to win a pair of Movel Shoes. Simply fill in a form at the event, or contact to be added onto the mailing list, for your chance to win!


We hope to see you on Friday at Alive Fitness. Here are the full details of the event – remember to wear your dancing shoes!

Filmspot and Alive Fitness and Natural Health present

Girl Walk // All Day

25-27 Castle Street, Brighton
Doors 7pm, 7.30pm film start

The event is standing only, with plenty of space to dance!
All profits from this event will be donated to the Hummingbird Project
Note: Parental guidance advised, as the soundtrack contains explicit lyrics.

Tickets cost £5.50. Buy tickets here

Films to make you DANCE!

Hi there Filmspotters!

We’ve been warding off the miserable February weather by getting set for our first screening of the year – our dancing cinema screening at Alive Fitness and Natural Health in Brighton. We’re screening Jacob Krupnick’s Girl Walk // All Day on Friday 4 March – full details follow at the end of this post.

To help you all get your fancy footwork together in preparation, we thought we’d compile a few of our favourite dance scenes on film – we usually have just five picks, but we couldn’t limit ourselves this time, so we’ll go a bit lighter on the waffling and let the dancers do the talking. Ready?… 5, 6, 7, 8…..!

Singin’ in the Rain

Of course, Singin’ in the Rain is one of our favourites here at Filmspot HQ, but particularly Donald O’Connor’s fantastic comedy skit ‘Make Em Laugh’



Again, another Filmspot favourite – but a more recent, and rather less well known one…


Funny Face

Ah, Hollywood loved riffing off Beatnik culture, particularly interpretative dance (see also ‘White Christmas’ and the charmingly OTT ‘Choreography’!).


Wow. Just…. wow.

Fisher King

A charmingly whimsical moment from Terry Gilliam’s sentimental ‘Fisher King’ – bear in mind, this was made before all those YouTube Flash Mob videos…


Coming to America

The sheer speed, scale… and costumes are somewhat mind bending. Choreographed by Paula Abdul – and of course, the film was directed by John Landis (who also directed the video for Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’), so you’re in good hands.


….OK, this one is a bit of a wildcard. It is certainly not Gene Kelly in his prime, but for sheer weirdness, Xanadu beats all the films on this list put together. And this scene includes ELO, so it gets extra guilty pleasure points for that too!


So, now you’re all limbered up, here’s what you need to know about our dancing cinema – please note, it is in a dance studio, with no seating – so there will be plenty of opportunities to DANCE! 

Girl Walk // All Day at Alive Fitness and Natural Health, 25-27 Castle Street, Brighton, BN1 2HD

Friday 4 March, doors 7pm

Girl Walk // All Day, the debut-feature from Brooklyn-based director, Jacob Krupnick, is a music video of epic proportions! The film, made with the support of 577 Kickstarter backers, won a ‘Best Music Video’ award from SPIN Magazine and was an official selection at the 2012 SXSW Festival.

Dialogue-free, the film is set to All Day, the 2011 album by the mash-up DJ Girl Talk, and follows three improvisational dancers, Anne Marsen, Daisuke Omiya and John Doyle, on an urban adventure shot entirely on location in the streets and public spaces of New York City.

Tickets cost £5.50, available from Billetto or in person at Alive Fitness.

All profits from this event will be donated to the Hummingbird Project

Hope to see you all there!

Burns Night, Filmspot style!

Hello Filmspotters!

With Burns Night tomorrow, we thought we’d bring you a blog with some recommended viewing that Rabbie would approve of (maybe…) – so here’s just a few of our favourite films with a distinctly Scottish flavour…

Small Faces [1996]

Set in Glasgow in the 1960s, this coming of age drama came out around the time of Danny Boyle’s Trainspotting. Gorgeously shot, well written and finely acted, the film stands up well to the test of time – 20 years later, it’s well worth a revisit (or a discovery if you haven’t seen it already!)

Gregory’s Girl [1981]

Our love of Bill Forsyth’s Gregory’s Girl has been well documented on this blog before. Uplifting and rather wry in a way you wouldn’t expect from a film about teenagers set in a secondary school. It’s also now deliciously dated – in a very endearing way!

Whisky Galore [1949]

No Scottish film list would be complete without the Ealing Comedy, Whisky Galore! Focussing on a group of wily islanders in the outer Hebrides who have an unexpected windfall in the shape of 50,000 cases of whisky from the wreck on a sinking freighter – a battle of wits ensures between the island inhabitants and a stuffy English captain of the homeguard, who wants to confiscate the loot!

Under the Skin [2014]

An unexpected entry on the list, but Jonathan Glazer’s tale of an alien disguised as a woman, who preys on unexpected Scotsmen from a transit van, somehow captures Glasgow in its vibrant, rackety glory.

Red Road [2006]

Definitely not a film for the faint of heart, but Andrea Arnold’s gritty Red Road is a stark thriller that feels undeniably Scottish. Partially shot on the now demolished Red Road estate in Glasgow, the film was filmed in Dogme 95 style, using handheld cameras and natural light. Although bleak in concept and story, the film ends with a feeling of redemption.

For a bonus, just thought we had better mention Sunshine on Leith [2013], featuring the songs of the Proclaimers, Mrs Filmspot has yet to inflict this upbeat musical on Mr Filmspot.

…and so, with that all that remains is to pour yourself a wee dram and have a very cosy Burns Night!

We’ll be back later this week with a big update – and details of our first exciting Filmspot event for 2016!

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year, Filmspotters! We have a very exciting year ahead with some new venues and exciting ventures planned. We’re currently working on a brand new website, and a new ticketing system so soon you’ll be able to buy tickets for most of our events over the web. Final versions of two of our workshop films will also be launched online shortly.

We have some great events already booked, including a special charity dance screening of Jacob Krupnick’s debut feature, ‘Girl Walk // All Day’ at Alive Fitness in Brighton; and a gala performance of ‘A Cottage on Dartmoor’ with Joss Peach performing his own score of the film, live, at the stunning All Saints Chapel, Eastbourne. More details on both of these screenings – and more – to come later in the year.

We thought we’d kick off the year with a cinematic party, though! So, here are some picks of our favourite parties on film:


We thought we’d start with every 80s child’s dream: Jim Henson puppets made to Brian Froud’s magical designs, Jennifer Connolly in a big ball gown with even bigger hair… and David Bowie in spandex. What more could anybody in their right mind want or need?

Dazed and Confused

Richard Linklater, one of our favourite directors, is responsible for one of the finest coming of age films. Set on the first day, and night, of summer vacation in 1976 for the kids at Lee High School in Austin, Texas, it follows their revelry to an impromptu keg party, which looks pretty much as any get-together with practically an entire school’s worth of kids would look.

Mood Indigo

L’Ecume Des Jours – Dance scence from Barazzi on Vimeo.

Another of director Michel Gondry’s cinematic daydreams, based on the book ‘L’Ecume Des Jours’ by Boris Vian, ‘Mood Indigo’ features some impressive dance moves…

Mad Monster Party

Ok, so this isn’t exactly a ‘classic’, but it is silly and fun… and has some delightfully stiff stop motion dancing!

All About Eve

I think any party featuring the razor-tongued Bette Davies warning attendees to ‘fasten your seat belts’ would qualify as one to go to….

Well, whatever you were doing for New Year, we hope you had a great one – and are sending you all our best wishes for the new year ahead: maybe we’ll see you soon at one of our screenings!

Looking back at a busy Autumn – and a busy December!

Greetings Filmspotters!

Sorry for the silence. We’ve had a busy few months since the last post (all the way back in Autumn!). We’ve been busy with screenings and workshops across Sussex!

In September, we were delighted to revisit the ICE Field in Isfield, where we ran a fun stop motion workshop at their Arts & Crafts market, creating a short film called ‘Fish’, with the help of some young animators. We screened the rough cut of the film at our marquee screening of Spielberg’s classic, ‘Jaws’ that evening. The final edit of the film is being tweaked at the moment, but will be live on our YouTube channel by the end of the year. Keep your eyes on our blog for updates.

Preparations for our 'Fish' workshop in Isfield - the film will be available soon on our YouTube channel!

Preparations for our ‘Fish’ workshop in Isfield – the film will be available soon on our YouTube channel!

This year we took part in Scalarama during September, with a presentation of ‘The Cabinet of Dr Caligari’ at Fabrica, with a stunning live semi-improved score by Partial Facsimile. The screening was a total sell-out, and there was a fantastic atmosphere!

We had a short break until the mid-October, when we ran an exciting ‘Big Draw’ workshop at Arts@TheCrypt in Seaford. We used cut out animation to recreate, with the help of local children and families, Halas & Batchelor’s short animation, ‘The Owl and The Pussycat’. The final film is in the editing studio at the moment, but expect to see it on our YouTube channel by the end of December. We are also planning a screening of ‘Animal Farm’, with introduction by Vivien Halas, in the gallery in 2016. Once the date is confirmed, details will be posted here and on the Filmspot website.

Participants creating their 'cut out puppets' for our Big Draw 'Owl and the Pussycat' workshop at Arts@TheCrypt in Seaford

Participants creating their ‘cut out puppets’ for our Big Draw ‘Owl and the Pussycat’ workshop at Arts@TheCrypt in Seaford

Participants learning about Stop Motion animation at Arts@TheCrypt in Seaford, part of our 'Big Draw' event.

Participants learning about Stop Motion animation at Arts@TheCrypt in Seaford, part of our ‘Big Draw’ event.

We are continuing with our series of screenings at Isfield Village Hall, our most recent event in October, with a screening of ‘Animal Farm’ introduced by Vivien Halas, who gave a fascinating insight into her parents’ work.

This December, we have two events to round-off a very successful 2015:

Filmspot CMPCA Pop Up Cinema Club present

An American in Paris

Friday 4 December, doors 6.45pm
Tickets £7, advance booking essential
Email or telephone 01273 328683 for tickets
Tickets include a glass of mulled wine

Vincente Minnelli’s An American in Paris is one of the most elegant, colourful and fun of the MGM musicals from the 1950s, it features Gene Kelly as a cheerful ex-GI, called Jerry Mulligan, struggling as a penniless  artist in Paris. His world is turned upside down when he meets the enchanting Lise Bouvier, played by a young Leslie Caron in her screen debut, and at the same time attracts the attention of a rich American heiress, who is interested in more than just his paintings!

Featuring classic songs by George and Ira Gershwin, and some of the most decadent choreography routines on film, this promises to be a fun evening: served up with the usual Filmspot CMPCA Pop Up Cinema Club festive cheer!
Here’s the trailer:

Isfield Village Hall and Filmspot present

Paddington and White Christmas

Saturday 12 December at Isfield Village Hall
Paddington 2.45pm; White Christmas 6.45pm
Tickets £6 per film (£12 for family of four
– 1 child free with each paying adult
Email to book
We are delighted to be presenting a family matinee screening of favourite bear, Paddington, in this recent motion picture adaptation of Michael Bond’s beloved books. Featuring an all-star cast, and state of the art animation, this delightful film will appeal to all ages.
In the evening, join us for a real festive classic – White Christmas. Featuring Irving Berlin’s unforgettable music, as well as splendid musical routines from the four stars – Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney and Vera-Ellen, nothing could be better for getting you in the mood for Christmas!
Here are the trailers for both films!:

We hope to see you at one of our events in December – and also wish you a very merry Christmas!