Chris Sievey was a Manchester performance artist, punk performer and stand-up comic who lived an elaborate double life. His most famous creation was Frank Sidebottom, with his huge papier-mâché head, but this was far more than an eccentric comedy performance. As long as the head was on, Chris transformed totally into Frank and the line between fiction and reality blurred. Very few people got to understand the man behind the mask, and sadly Sievey passed away in June 2010, however he left behind a fascinating and revealing legacy of artistic work that director Steve Sullivan is determined to preserve and celebrate.
Featuring interviews with family and colleagues including John Cooper Clarke, Jon Ronson, Ross Noble, Mark Radcliffe and Johnny Vegas, who all pay tribute to his innovative genius, the documentary also features exclusive, never-seen-before archival footage sourced from hundreds of hours of tapes from Chris’ personal collection as well as clips from his many legendary stage and TV appearances. For the first time his contemporaries discuss this innovative, wayward genius and attempt to explain why he chose to spend 28 years letting the fictitious Frank steal his limelight.
Being Frank will reveal for the first time Chris’ creative process through exclusive access to his diaries, notebooks and home movies, giving an insight into the inner workings of one of showbiz’s most complicated and daring performers. The film will also document Sievey’s pre-Frank career as part of late 70s Manchester punk band ‘The Freshies’.
The documentary’s release will coincide with the Jon Ronson-penned ‘Frank’, a fictionalised account of Sievey’s musical career based on journalist Jon Ronson’s time spent as a backing musician. Starring Michael Fassbender ‘Frank’ premiere’s this Friday at the Sundance Film Festival and will also be released at cinemas in May.
Being Frank is directed by award-winning filmmaker Steve Sullivan who collaborated with Chris Sievey on their Frank Sidebottom documentary ‘Magical Timerpley Tour’ in 2007. “This film is about preserving for future generations the memory of Chris Sievey’s extraordinary talent. The likes of his artistic endeavours had never been seen before, and probably never will again.” [Steve Sullivan]
BEING FRANK: THE CHRIS SIEVEY STORY
Written and directed by Steve Sullivan
Featuring John Cooper Clarke, Jon Ronson, Mike Joyce (The Smiths), Gary Whelan & Paul Ryder (The Happy Mondays), Mark Radcliffe, Ross Noble, John Thomson and Johnny Vegas.
Release date: May 2014