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Behind the scenes with A Northern Soul

A Northern Soul launches in Hull

A behind the scenes look as Sean McAllister’s latest doc A Northern Soul has its premier in his hometown of Hull. The opening night at the Middleton Hall (Hull University) launched a week of 7:30pm screenings, beginning at Middleton Hall and then moving to the Vue cinema.

Please note: Tickets are not available via the Vue Box Office online or in person, and is not included in Vue’s £4.99 ticket deal. Tickets available via Hull Box Office online or over the phone, or on the night from the Hull Independent Cinema sales table.

Hull Independent Cinema

For more details about screenings please visit the the Hull Independent Cinema website

A Northern Soul in Hull

Sean McAllister’s A Northern Soul showing a working-class look at Hull 2017 is being screened this month

A new film by the man who was the creative director behind 2017’s spectacular opening show (Made in Hull) is being screened in Hull later this month. Documentary film maker Sean McAllister’s A Northern Soul examines Hull’s year in the spotlight as the UK City of Culture and, in particular, warehouse worker Steve Arnott’s Beats Bus project. The film follows Steve as he turns his idea of touring a musical bus around Hull’s estates into reality.

The film will be shown at Middleton Hall on the University of Hull’s Cottingham Road campus from Thursday, July 19, to Sunday, July 22. Tickets can be booked via Hull Box Office at www.hullboxoffice.com or by calling 01482 221113.

See the original article on the Hull Daily Mail website.

Reel Steel

A Northern Soul – Director Q&A

Reel Steel – Sheffield Doc/Fest 2018 kicked off this year with the world premiere of A Northern Soul, the latest film from director/filmmaker Sean McAllister.
It sees him return to his home town of Hull after a career of exploring the world through cinema. Hull recently became the UK City of Culture, an achievement which allotted it millions of pounds of investment and new opportunities for those living there. It is a story about Steve, however, a man on the brink financially, that dreams of becoming a hip-hop artist without the means of doing so. The City of Culture has allowed Steve to hire a van to spread his love of the art and to take to the boroughs of Hull to help young children that otherwise would never have the opportunity. We spoke to the director following the World Premiere at Sheffield Doc/Fest 2018.

Reel Steel: The film deals heavily with representations, of people and importantly Hull – how do you feel Hull is represented in mainstream media?

Sean McAllister: It was a big thing for me, doing the opening show I was very conscious of that and coming back. How do we want to be known? Three years in a row one of the crappiest cities and the butt of the jokes, how do you rebrand yourself and become something else?It was subtle, or maybe not so subtle to be able to say, it wasn’t an issue to be able to say Hull is a multicultural society. But it wasn’t an accident to represent it with a multicultural set of people. It wasn’t an accident to have beauty shots around the Humber. Not just the bad streets but to offer a dignified look at the city against the way the media has represented us for so many years.

RS: How do you feel City of Culture has helped Hull?

Sean: Without a doubt, surely, some people never knew about Hull internationally so the year of culture there was phenomenal. For the people that did know Hull, for my understanding it was just the butt of the joke. So if you said you were from Hull in London people would joke. There was a shot in the film were Steve comes across a needle in the street. It is such an overused image and we were tempted to use it but we decided against it. We wanted to change the image of the city and not add to the preconceptions. I mean, look at Steve, he is the north through and through, when you look at him you have all your preconceptions but when you peel back the layers he is this softly spoken, lovely guy. The problem is northern people aren’t making films about northern towns. These southern people come up here and know fuck all.

RS: Do you then think that this film will help to bring some pride back for young people living in places like Hull?

Sean: Well the City of Culture helped bring opportunities to people so they didn’t need to leave. I have been speaking to a few people recently down south who are thinking of moving back which is interesting. The thing is, when I look at myself, all I have achieved by leaving, would I have been where I am today if I didn’t.

RS: Your career has been global, from Japan to Syria, how does coming home now feel and how do you feel towards it now?

Sean: I mean it’s certainly more cosmopolitan now, I mean I think they even have a Pret a Manger opening soon. It feels more liveable now; it feels like you can potentially do it. It feels more connected to the rest of the world. The City of Culture was all about connectivity and I hope because of that the city has changed and is better.

RS: Hope is definitely a major theme of the film, so much of it comes from The City of Culture, would you say that it’s something that lacks in the north?

Sean: I think it’s hard for people in places like Grimsby, Cleethorpes, and Scunthorpe being under the shadow of a major city like Hull. I mean I did wonder when I was in Hull what would be happening here without the City of Culture because you have austerity cuts that are penalising the north terribly and we had an artificial injection of £35 million. It feels like we have been taken away from austerity for a year. What Steve was doing in the film, in the bus, was for me a mirror of the bigger thing, going to estates and helping give children a new opportunity. Twenty years ago there used to be opportunities like this, when I was on the dole I got a video camera from a community centre, that’s closed down now. The Tories going on and on about education when they are holding people like Steve back. People need to be shouting about this, but nothing is being said.

Words – Christian Abbott

Reel Steel

See the original interview on the Reel Steel website.

A Northern Soul in Hull

4 screenings + live appearances

‘A Northern Soul’ is coming home to Hull! The documentary will screen at Middleton Hall from 19-22 July and Vue Hull from 23-26 July.

“A Northern Soul is a great work of radical empathy, in which the economic difficulties of the city and the contradictions of regeneration through culture are visible alongside a testament to the charm and strength of personality of the city’s residents.” – Charlie Phillips, The Guardian

Hull Independent Cinema

‘A Northern Soul’ is being presented in partnership with Hull Independent Cinema. Hull Independent Cinema (HIC) is a charity, run by a small team of volunteers, screening the best in art house, world, independent and short film.

Get your tickets

‘A Northern Soul’: Sheffield Review

Screen Daily

Sean McAllister follows up A Syrian Love Story with an eye-opening look at his hometown of Hull

“A Northern Soul is about individuals and aspirations but it also becomes a film that speaks of poverty, class, a Britain in transition and what hope there is of a better future. That might feel like a tall order but McAllister delivers with confidence in his material and the conviction that ordinary lives matter.” – Allan Hunter

See the complete review on the Screen Daily website

A Northern Soul

The Guardian

Class and chance collide in Sean McAllister’s brilliant Sheffield Doc/Fest opening film, as young performers are guided through their home’s transformational year as UK city of culture

A Northern Soul functions brilliantly on both a political and emotional level. At no point is anyone patronised or pitied, and much of British TV and film could learn a lot from how McAllister makes films about poverty and working-class characters. This film may not be the most beautiful looking or sounding film, but it doesn’t matter. It’s a personal cry for social mobility of the kind McAllister himself benefited from, and a demonstration that given an opportunity, northern working-class people can and will make and engage in culture for themselves.

You can read the full review in our reviews section.

Filmmaker turns his lens on home city

Hull-born film maker Sean McAllister opens next month’s Sheffield Doc/Fest with a documentary inspired by his home city.

Daniel Dylan Wray talked to him. From Iraq to Japan to Syria, Sean McAllister’s documentaries have taken him all over the world. His BAFTA-nominated 2015 film, A Syrian Love Story, even landed him temporarily in jail after his cameras and anti-government subjects gained the attention of the police. However, despite exploring various subjects across the globe, there is one place that McAllister has returned to time and time again: Hull.

Read the full article on the Yorkshire Post website.