Story of Being Frank Sidebottom Told through Archive Footage

Thursday 8 March 2018
Chris Sievey hiding his face with Little Frank - photo credit Rick Sarko

Professor Christopher Morris, Director of the School of Film & Television, has been working for the last five years with filmmaker Steve Sullivan on a documentary about one of Britain's most eccentric performers and the man behind the mask.

Being Frank: The Chris Sievey Story explores the extraordinary secret life of artist Chris Sievey, best known as his alter ego Frank Sidebottom, the maverick comedian with a papier-mâché head.

He was the court jester of the Manchester music and comedy scene for over 25 years, but only a privileged few knew the man inside. Being Frank is a tale of split personalities - a suburban superhero consumed by his alter ego.

Christopher explains: "When Chris died of cancer in 2010, his belongings, his entire archive and even his 'heads' were rescued from a skip. This is Steve's first feature documentary so he came to me for advice and I was (willingly) sucked into the wonderful, creative madness that followed. Thousands of hours of VHS and Super8 footage was found, countless images, handwritten books, drawings, clothes and heads were painstakingly reassembled, viewed and catalogued."

The film includes interviews with Jonny Vegas, Jon Ronson, John Cooper Clarke, Ross Noble and Mark Radcliffe.

"There was so much extraordinary material that the first full-length cut of the film was over 17 hours long! I worked closely with Steve as the story consultant, wrestling this film to the ground. It has been one of the great privileges of my career and I'm so proud of the final film Steve has produced.

"The film came to Falmouth last month where our skilled Senior Technicians gave it a full picture grade in our world-class facility ready for its world premiere on 13 March at American film festival SXSW - one of the top ten film festivals."

Christopher Morris is an award-winning documentary filmmaker and professor of documentary practice. His work in radio and television encompasses documentary, drama, commercials and party political broadcasts. He has won three BAFTA awards, a Royal Television Society award, the Premios Ondas and prizes at the Berlin, Chicago and Celtic film festivals.