Birmingham’s fantastic Flatpack, which brings films, animation, music and art to a variety of sometimes unlikely venues to the West Midlands, is collaborating with highly acclaimed producer’s Forma, to present four Midlands screenings of The Miners’ Hymns, ‘a bewitching, hypnotic and moving portrait of the British miners made by renowned American filmmaker Bill Morrison (Decasia) and acclaimed Icelandic musician and composer Jóhann Jóhannsson.’
Flatplack’s website says that ‘The film is made up almost entirely of archive footage and celebrates the social, cultural, and political aspects of the extinct industry. Focusing on the Durham coalfield, it depicts the hardship of pit work, increasing mechanisation, the role of trade unions in organising and fighting for workers’ rights, and their annual Miners’ Gala in Durham. Jóhann Jóhannsson’s exquisite composition for the film draws upon the brass music tradition that was so intertwined with the mining communities’.
You can view a trailer for ‘The Miners’ Hymns’ below:
As well as The Miners’ Hymns Flatpack will also be screening a selection of archive shorts featuring footage from the Tamworth Gala, and miners performing ballet up north, both from 1954.
MACE has also supplied Flatpack with a variety of rarely seen archive material from the Midlands region to show on the evenings.
The films MACE have supplied include a short film broadcast on regional news programme ATV Today on 6th September 1965 in which Black Country miners are interviewed about absenteeism from the pit following claims by Lord Robens that that levels had reached 45 to 60 percent on Mondays in some areas; An ATV Today report by Bob Warman on 8th June 1973, the last day’s work for miners at Cannock Wood Colliery in Staffordshire which was closing down; And a short film broadcast on ATV Today on 19th August 1968 which shows exterior shots of Baggeridge Colliery, underground shots riding on a colliery train and various shots of pit ponies both underground and in fields.
Also included is a short silent black & white film ‘Visit by Councillor Ashworth to Pooley Hall Colliery, Polesworth, Warwickshire’ where workers can be seen outside various colliery buildings with Councillor Ashworth and general shots of the colliery site and miners changing shift.
MACE have also supplied three films of National Coal Board Newsreel, Mining Review with permission of the BFI.
The first screening was on Monday at Coalbrookdale Museum, Ironbridge Gorge Museum.
The remaining three screenings are:
Saturday 19 October, 6pm
Polesworth Memorial Hall
20 Bridge St, Polesworth, Tamworth B78 1DT
Tuesday 5 November, 7:30pm
St John’s Community Church
High St, Burntwood, Staffordshire WS7 1LR
Wednesday 13 November, 6:30pm
Bilston Town Hall
Church St, Bilston, WV14 0AT
All the screenings are free to attend but will be ticketed.
For more information visit Flatpack’s Website HERE.