'Being Frank' trailer explores the 'wonderfully strange' world of unlikely pop culture icon Frank Sidebottom (exclusive)

Tom Butler
Senior Editor

Frank Sidebottom, the fictional character that inspired Lenny Abrahamson’s deliriously weird 2014 film Frank starring Michael Fassbender in the the title role, is the subject of a new rock documentary from the people behind Amy.

More accurately, Being Frank: The Chris Sievey Story, is the story of the man beneath the huge papier-mâché, who died in 2010 aged 54. Sievey’s iconic creation was a genuine pop culture phenomenon in the 1980s and 1990s, regularly appearing on TV, and touring the country as a live act.

Watch the U.K. trailer above, ahead of its release on 29 March. Or you can see it early at the Glasgow Film Festival next weekend. 

The documentary, which took seven years to make, includes insights from Chris’ family, friends, and colleagues, including Johnny Vegas, Jon Ronson, John Cooper Clarke, Ross Noble and Mark Radcliffe, who finally reveal the unknown story of Chris Sievey.

The documentary has already earned rave reviews on the festival circuit. (Altitude)

Ahead of the release, special screening previews with Q&As are being lined up in Frank’s hometown of Timperley, Greater Manchester, across the North-West of England before expanding throughout the rest of the UK and Ireland, so keep an eye out for listings.

Check out the U.K. poster for the film below.

The UK quad for Being Frank: The Chris Sievey Story (Altitude)

Official synopsis: BEING FRANK: THE CHRIS SIEVEY STORY is the official documentary about maverick Manchester comedian Frank Sidebottom, and the life and art of his hidden creator Chris Sievey. Frank Sidebottom, remembered fondly as the man with the papier mache head, 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 tells a twisted tale of split personalities – a suburban creative superhero with a fanatical desire to preserve the myth he created, and eventually having to battle against being consumed by his alter ego.

BEING FRANK: THE CHRIS SIEVEY STORY includes extensive archive from Chris’s personal collection of hundreds of boxes of notebooks, home movies, art and music. Insights from Chris’ family, friends, and colleagues, including Johnny Vegas, Jon Ronson, John Cooper Clarke, Ross Noble and Mark Radcliffe, finally reveal the unknown story of Chris Sievey – a songwriter, artist, comedian, husband, dad and wayward genius.

Director and producer Steve Sullivan has spent over seven years digging through Chris’s personal archive, interviewing friends and family and bringing BEING FRANK to the big screen.

Steve’s short, A HEAP OF TROUBLE (2001), a musical starring nine naked men won the Grand Jury Prize at the Montreal Comedy Festival, a BAFTA for Best Short Film and was selected for International Critics Week at the Cannes Film Festival. BEING FRANK: THE CHRIS SIEVEY STORY was recently nominated in the best documentary category at the British Independent Film Awards 2018.

Hamish Moseley, Head of Distribution at Altitude said; “Fans of Frank Sidebottom will be thrilled to see Chris for the first time within such a goldmine of previously unseen footage. And those yet to discover the delights of this incredible outsider artist are in for a hilarious and very moving 100mins. This film is magic; you know it is, it really is.”

Being Frank: The Chris Sievey Story will be released in the UK and Ireland by Altitude on 29 March 2019.


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