mmm, maps: filming locations and locations of films

Here at Still Walking, we love maps…

Have you seen these ones by Mark Wilson?

Still Walking celebrates (amongst other things) meticulous research and seeing your surroundings in a new way and Mark’s maps are a prime example of this. If you click on the location markers in the map above (there are quite a few of them – they may take a while to load) you will find yourself in Birmingham-as-London.

Mark’s spent a lot of time on the trail of the BBC drama Hustle and the many locations around Birmingham that were used as stunt doubles for the capital city: here is an article from the Sunday Mercury, another from the Radio Times and his collections of maps and photos.

Hustle was just the beginning though: Mark has gone on to research other films and TV programmes that have used locations around the city.

Mark gets behind the scenes of the TV industry and shares trade secrets and some of the improvised approaches of the TV crews he has encountered. This walking tour has many tales of con artists, soap queens, musical legends, game show kings and even throws in a phantom flan flinger for good measure.

If you’re quick, you can get one of the few remaining tickets for Mark’s tours (there are two different ones to choose from) this Sunday. Ben’s already been on the dress rehearsal and it seems to have gone down very well with Time Out reporter Euan Ferguson judging by his review.

On Location is one of three tours that Still Walking is running this year in conjunction with the amazing Flatpack film festival. The Birmingham Noir and Shaping Cinema tours have both already sold out, but walking fans may also enjoy Patience (After Sebald) and Made in Wolverhampton from the Flatpack programme:

(Dir: Adam Kossoff, UK 2011, 74 mins)
Friday 16 March, 5.45pm at the Custard Factory theatre

Framed as a letter from the narrator to his girlfriend in Cuba, Made in Wolverhampton is a quizzical ramble around the city’s margins with a combination of locked-off photography and super-dry voiceover recalling the work of Patrick Keiller. Hunting for ‘after-images of the industrial revolution’, the film builds up layers of observation, history and quotation to engaging effect, throwing Norton bikes, Che Guevara, Poundland, Galileo and roundabout-dweller Josef Stawinoga into the mix. In his day-job Kossoff teaches Film and Video at the School of Art and Design in Wolverhampton, and coincidentally we’ll also be showing a short made by one of his former students. LUV’IN THE BLACK COUNTRY (dir: Matthew E. Carter) is built around five tales of love on the canals.

(Dir: Grant Gee, UK 2011, 84 mins)
Saturday 17 March, 1pm at the Electric

Despite the autobiographical undercurrent of Rings of Saturn, Vertigo and Austerlitz, the writer behind them has always been something of a mysterious figure, so it’s fascinating to see a picture of WG Sebald start to emerge as this documentary progresses. Interviewing acolytes and friends (including Marina Warner, Andrew Motion and Tacita Dean) as well as retracing the walk around coastal Suffolk which inspired Rings of Saturn, the film’s layered approach does a great job of reflecting Sebald’s own discursive and often dark turn of mind.

Both screenings are £7/£5, booking via or Ticketsellers on 0844 870 0000.


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