Being Frank: The Chris Sievey Story

Being Frank: The Chris Sievey Story

United Kingdom | 2018 | 100 minutes | Steve Sullivan

Underneath the delightfully daffy papier-mâché head of Frank Sidebottom, the real-life inspiration for the 2014 film Frank, you will find Chris Sievey, the inventive court jester of the Manchester music and comedy scene for over 25 years, who is finally unmasked in this singular portrait of a truly uncommon artist.

"Director Steve Sullivan, uses old footage and Sievey's own archives to paint an inspiring story of someone, who, no matter what the consequences, forged his own path in the world." Lance Carter - Daily Actor

In 2014, SIFF audiences were smitten by a Lenny Abrahamson film called Frank, about an experimental British-American band fronted by a lead singer (Michael Fassbender) who can only perform wearing a large papier-mache cartoon head. While Frank was fiction, the main character was based on a real-life, one-of-a-kind Mancunian artist named Chris Sievey, who delighted music and television fans in Manchester, England, for more than 25 years. However, almost no one knew who Sievey was until his death in 2010. Instead, they knew him as "Frank Sidebottom," who appeared at many U.K. concerts and TV shows in the 1980s, and later had his own chat show, "Frank Sidebottom's Proper Telly Show in B/W," always wearing a cartoon head painted to look vaguely like Pee-wee Herman crossed with Betty Boop. Although Chris rarely took off the mask in public, the film does, revealing the sadness behind his clownish alter ego. Through interviews with Sievey's family, friends, and band members, plus rare footage from TV performances, filmmaker Steve Sullivan paints a portrait of a troubled artist who sought respect for his music, but battled alcoholism as he retreated into the Frank persona that forever limited him to novelty-act status.

Director Biography
Filmmaker Steve Sullivan worked with maverick comedian Frank Sidebottom (aka Chris Sievey). After Chris's death Steve became custodian of his possessions and crowdfunded a documentary unearthing the real life of this most secretive of artists. Steve's previous films have won awards internationally, including at the Montreal Comedy Festival.

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  • Director: Steve Sullivan
  • Principal Cast: Jon Ronson, John Cooper Clarke, Paula Sievey, Martin Sievey, Ross Noble, Johnny Vegas
  • Premiere Status: Seattle
  • Country: United Kingdom
  • Year: 2018
  • Running Time: 100 minutes
  • Producer: Steve Sullivan
  • Screenplay: Steve Sullivan
  • Cinematographers: Ezra Byrne
  • Editors: Steve Sullivan
  • Music: Frank Sidebottom, Chris Sievey
  • Website: Official Film Website
  • Filmography: Happy Hours (2013)
  • Language: English
  • Format: DCP