Richard Holmes in Film & TV


Creative England Funded 'Orion' and 'Hustler's Convention' Debut at Sheffield Doc/Fest 2015

Sheffield Doc/Fest kicks off on Friday, bringing a selection of this year’s best documentary releases to the big screen, alongside a series of exclusive events all nestled between the 5th-10th June. 

Among this year’s line up are two exciting features that received Creative England support; Mike Todd’s powerful ‘Hustlers Convention’ and Jeanie Finlay’s captivating ‘Orion: The Man Who Would Be King.’

Both films were funded in part by Creative England’s Production Fund, a strand of finance that aims to support features with a maximum budget of £2million from filmmakers that display a regional flair. After receiving funding in 2013 and completing production last year, the two projects have since gained impressive momentum and critical acclaim.  

Directed by Manchester-based filmmaker Mike Todd, ‘Hustlers Convention’ tells the untold story of Jalal Nuriddin’s eponymous 1973 album and its impact on the rap genre. The film features exclusive interviews with Amiri Baraka, Ice T, Melle Mel and Public Enemy’s Chuck D discussing how Jalal’s influential record earned him the title ‘Grandfather of Rap’. 

“Hustlers Convention is the greatest music story never told. Jalal Nuriddin really does deserve his nickname as the 'Grandfather of Rap',” explains director Mike Todd. “The film is about how his album ‘Hustlers Convention’, a near-forgotten masterpiece, became the blueprint for what we know as rap today.   

“As a member of the iconic Last Poets, Jalal blended the Black Power politics of the post-Malcolm X era with the street rhyming traditions he grew up with. Our documentary is really a story within a story of how and why 'Hustlers Convention' came to be recorded, the message it carried and the impact it had. 

"It has been fantastic to have been supported by Creative England with this film. Their involvement has made all the difference in helping us tell this missing piece of cultural history.” Head here to read our exclusive interview with Mike Todd.

Meanwhile, Jeanie Finlay’s ‘Orion: The Man Who Would Be King’ tells the unlikely story behind the ‘Elvis Lives’ myth. In the days following the untimely death of The King, Sun Records spotted an unlikely sound-alike and an opportunity to make a quick buck. Hidden behind a garish eye-mask, the mysterious Orion burst on to the scene, leading feverish fans to believe that Elvis may not be gone after all...  

“Ten years ago I bought an Orion record at a car boot sale, it was on Sun Records, on gold vinyl. I played it and heard this unmistakable voice. I immediately wanted to find out more about the mysterious masked man on the cover. What I uncovered was a rollercoaster story of the Nashville music scene in the wake of Elvis Presley’s death,” explains director Jeanie Finlay. “Orion’s mask and his incredible voice ignited a fantasy and hundreds of thousands of people believed that Elvis might be alive. It’s an extraordinary story and I knew immediately I wanted to make it into a film.

“ORION has been a long time in the making, the support of Creative England and our other financiers has been invaluable, and I’m really delighted to be unveiling the finished film to UK audiences at the amazing Sheffield Doc/Fest ahead of some exciting plans to get the film into cinemas later in the year.” Read our exclusive interview with Jeanie Finlay.

'Hustler’s Convention' is showing at the Molinare Library Theatre, at 3.30pm on June 7th. Tickets here.

'ORION: The Man Who Would Be King' is showing at the Molinare Library Theatre, at 9pm on June 6th and at 3.15pm on June 9th. Tickets here

For more information on the funding we provide click here or follow our Film Team on Twitter.

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