Pic Dave Arnold

A new documentary about a Manchester cult hero will have its world premiere at a prestigious arts festival in Austin, Texas next month.

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

He was the court jester of the Manchester music and comedy scene for over 25 years and built an army of fans. He had his own TV show and played Wembley Stadium.

Pic Rick Sarko

But only a privileged few knew the man inside that huge head.

Filmmaker Steve Sullivan worked with Chris Sievey and became custodian of his possessions after his death, including a personal collection of hundreds of boxes of notebooks, home movies, art and music.

He conducted interviews with over 50 of Chris’s closest friends, family members and colleagues, including Jonny Vegas, Jon Ronson, John Cooper Clarke, Ross Noble and Mark Radcliffe.

This material was then combined with the footage from Chris’s personal archives, and the film was edited down from over 400 hours of footage.

The film received backing from over 3,000 crowdfunders and took director and producer Steve Sullivan five years to complete.

Being Frank:The Chris Sievey Story reveals the hidden story of a musician, songwriter, artist, comedian, filmmaker, performance artist and wayward genius.

It tells a twisted tale of split personalities – a suburban superhero with a fanatical desire to preserve the myth he created who eventually had to battle against being consumed by his alter ego.

“To know that Chris Sievey and Frank Sidebottom’s work and legacy is about to be launched on such an important international stage is a tremendous feeling,” said Steve.

“I can’t wait to bring the film back to the UK and a glorious homecoming is being planned for Manchester and across the north west later in the year.”