Being Frank: The Chris Sievey Story

Face the Music | 2018 | 100 minutes

SIFF Says:

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-mâché 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.

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Film Credits
Steve Sullivan
Jon Ronson, John Cooper Clarke, Paula Sievey, Martin Sievey, Ross Noble, Johnny Vegas
SIFF 2018