Next Wednesday, jazz and gymnastics will go hand-in-hand for the launch of Iconic Production’s series of short films, Movement Inspired. Each film represents different gymnastics apparatus, showing how gymnastic movements can inspire jazz improvisation and composition.

The premiere will be accompanied by a Q&A, in which Birmingham 2022 Festival are excited to announce the host to be Olympic Bronze Medallist Beth Tweddle MBE! Last week, director (Sam Lockyer) and producer/composer (Ed Puddick) chatted with the Festival Team on their incredible project:

Q: Please introduce yourself, your role, and the project.

Ed: My name is Ed Puddick, I am a music composer and one of the producers for Movement Inspired, which is a film project that brings together the sport of artistic gymnastics with Jazz and improvised music.

Sam: I’m Sam Lockyer, a film director based in Birmingham. I work closely with Ed on this project as Director. There will be the creation of 8 short films using contemporary jazz with artistic gymnastics.

Q: How would you describe your project to those who are new to your work?

Ed: The most difficult part of our project is trying to describe it! The first thing I have to say about Movement Inspired is that it is unique and the fact that it’s entirely local musicians and local gymnastics is really special as well.

The other thing I would say about the films is that they are fun films to watch. You don’t have to have any understand of the music and gymnastics, you can just watch the films and enjoy them for what they are.

Sam: It’s a snapshot or a window – stepping into the world of the gymnast. It’s a very private world, particularly the training side of it is not something that people see. People see these incredible routines but don’t see the hard work and hundreds of thousands of hours of blood sweat and tears that go into it.

Q: What has been your favourite part of the project so far?

Ed: That’s very difficult to answer, I really loved the filming sessions where we took improvising jazz musicians into the City of Birmingham Gymnastics Club and had them interact with the gymnasts as they trained.

It was really exciting to see how the musicians reacted to what they gymnasts were doing, and how the gymnasts reacted to the musicians whilst they trained. We wanted to show the life of the gym club and that includes the toddlers who are first learning all the way up to elite Olympians.

Sam: I loved all of it to be honest. That first moment when we had musicians onsite was cool, one gymnast remarked that he felt a need to perform more when the musicians were present, and it was amazing watching the musicians and gymnasts bounce off each other. The behind the scenes access we got to those gymnasts, especially those who are currently training for the Commonwealth Games, was really appreciated.

The filming sessions were also productive, the synergy and energy in the room was really special. The results are stunning, and we can’t wait to share it on the big screen!

Q: What excites you about the Birmingham 2022 Festival?

Ed: For me, it’s the really broad spectrum of events and the really wide range of different disciplines that are involved.

Sam: I’ve been in Birmingham for 20 years, the fact that I’ve got two little boys and having this cultural arts festival on our doorstep is an amazing opportunity to access world class arts, whether that’s theatre, dance, music, film and accessing that in the city. It’s a huge honour to be part of it!

Q: What else in the Festival have you been to seen/ are looking forward to seeing?

Ed: I’d love to see the cricket project, A Thousand Threads.

Sam: Same for me, A Thousand Threads. I saw the Wondrous Stories commission that took place in March, that was amazing! I am also a big fan of Birmingham Music Archive, so I am keen to get my hands on one of the On Record vinyl.

Movement Inspired premiers on Wednesday 20th July at The Electric Cinema in Birmingham at 6pm. Can’t make the launch? Movement Inspired will also screen at the Birmingham 2022 Festival Sites on Friday 5th August at Victoria Square and Smithfield.