Published in this months issue of Filmwire, we've shone the spotlight on Pocket Film Festival.

Not every festival had the manpower or opportunity to host an online version of their annual event during the worst months of the pandemic, so it’s pleasing to see a few more festivals dust themselves off and return with in-person events. One of the first out of the blocks this autumn is the Pocket Film Festival in Stafford, a grab-bag sized collection of pop-up events running from 27 September until 3 October that proudly goes for quality over quantity.

Another Round
The Stafford Gatehouse Theatre has finally reopened after over a year’s closure, which means the long-running Stafford Film Theatre group - founded way back in 1949 - can once again welcome audience members, offering up Thomas Vinterberg’s Oscar winning comedy drama Another Round (Tue 28 Sep at 7.30pm). Future Stafford Film Theatre screenings outside the festival dates include Limbo (Oct 5), Minari (Oct 26) and Dear Comrades! (Nov 9).

Short Film Night: Away From Home
A sixty minute selection of short films screening at the Stafford Gatehouse (Mon 27 Sep at 1pm) which, after over a year of being stuck in the same place, have been specifically chosen to take audiences somewhere new. Followed by a half hour talk from Midlands based animator Greg McLeod, whose BAFTA nominated short Marfa (made with his brother Myles) will also be screening during the afternoon.

Last Shop Standing and The Vinyl Revival + Q&A
Double bill of short documentaries focused on the world of record shops (including Birmingham’s legendary record store The Diskery) and the recent rise in demand for vinyl records, organised by Stafford record enthusiasts People Play Vinyl at Stafford music venue Redrum (Tue 28 Sep at 7.30pm). Director Pip Piper will also be doing a virtual Q&A afterwards. Even better, it’s free entry, so you can save your pennies to buy some vinyl afterwards.

The Mark Of Zorro + live score
Buckles don’t get swashed with much more vigour than in the original Douglas Fairbanks Zorro film, a black and white 1920 adventure packed full of derring-do that acted as a precursor to the rise of future masked characters like Batman. This rare screening within the beautiful confines of St Mary’s Church (30 Sep at 7.30pm) will feature a live score performed by organist Darius Battiwalla, who is something of a veteran of silent film improvisation.

The Endless Summer + Rumble O’s live score
Surf dudes and dudettes bummed out by the autumnal weather can sit back and pretend they’re back on the beach thanks to this classic silent surfing doc from director Bruce Brown, featuring surfers looking for ‘the perfect wave’. Showing at the Rising Brook Community Church (Sun 3 Oct at 5pm), live sounds will be provided by surf guitar band The Rumble O’s, who have never met a reverb effect they didn’t like.

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