Classic Who song lends name to movie for Brighton film-maker - Chichester screening

Mark Banks pic by Georgina Cates
Mark Banks pic by Georgina Cates

Brighton-based film director Mark Banks was playing with words and names for a while before the title Pictures Of Lily came into his mind

He thought it sounded great… and then realised why.

It is, of course, the title of a classic track from The Who. And in a way, that made it all the more appealing as the title of the film he was making.

It’s a film set in Brighton – and with Quadrophenia, The Who had all sorts of Brighton connections.

And so Pictures of Lily the film became.

It will be screened as part of the Chichester International Film Festival at the Chichester Cinema at New Park on Monday, August 19 at 1.30 (Studio) when the festival hopes to welcome director/ writer Mark, producer Ele Berrie and lead actor Daniel Lane to introduce the film, the tale of a jaded businessman and a free-spirited woman who forge an unexpected bond in a bohemian seaside town.

“I used to be a musician and the film came to me when I moved to Brighton,” Mark explains.

“I wanted to make a film. I had a crazy idea of making a film about nothing that would make people feel something. When I was younger, I was obsessed with film-makers like Alfred Hitchcock. I wanted a film that felt like that but I didn’t want a murder or high stakes. I loved the way he shot romance and I loved the way he shot Ingrid Bergman and Cary Grant, but I didn’t understand why it always had to do with murder and high stakes.”

It turns out Hitchcock was once asked why he didn’t make a romantic comedy. His response was that he wasn’t against the idea but if he made one, people would be waiting for the leading lady to get killed…

These were the thoughts Mark was having when he moved to Brighton from London, having come out of an 11-year relationship, late 2010, early 2011: “I came here and I decided to give my music career one last go. I had had a record deal a few years before but had settled down with this woman in London and had knocked the music on the head.”

Now in his mid-30s and in Brighton, he wanted to revive it… until he discovered he was surrounded by musicians half his age.

“But as he says, his aim had always been to be a rock star until the age of 40 and then become a film director. As he says, there was still time for the latter.

“So I was in Brighton and found the music scene really interesting, but my feeling was that I was a bit lost and alone…. And so I started writing this story about somebody coming to Brighton from the outside. I have always considered Brighton to be a spiritual place, a kind of runaway place for cool people.

“There is something really interesting about Brighton. Most of the people I was hanging around with were artistic immigrants, people who perhaps had not been accepted where they were before and didn’t feel a connection but people who felt that there was something for them in Brighton.

“I have always thought that as you come into Brighton there should be a sign saying ‘Leave you inhibitions and prejudices here… and pick them up on the way out!’”

And so, from such thoughts, the film started to emerge. Mark started noting down thoughts about love which were rather cynical. The crucial next step came when he decided to give these words not to a male incomer, but to a woman coming in from the outside.

An independent film by first-time feature cast and crew, all locally based in Sussex and filmed entirely in Brighton, the film explores the notion that a total stranger could alter your way of thinking, and even your future, significantly…

This year’s 28th Chichester International Film Festival runs from August 8-25 at the Chichester Cinema at New Park which is celebrating its ruby anniversary this year.

8 Hotels offers fascinating evening in Chichester's Minerva Theatre

Summer holiday fun