Simon Bland in Film & TV


Filmmaker Jeanie Finlay Launches Interactive Website For New Creative England Supported Feature

Documentary filmmaker Jeanie Finlay has launched an interactive website to promote her latest feature Orion: The Man Who Would Be King days before she's due to receive an Inspirations Award at Sheffield Doc/Fest. This intriguing documentary follows the unusual life story of Jimmy ‘Orion' Ellis, an unknown singer thrust into the limelight by a scheme designed to convince audiences he was Elvis Presley back from the grave. A uncanny voice and a face constantly shrouded by a jewel-encrusted eyemask quickly had countless fans believing that the king had indeed returned shortly following his death in 1977.

The documentary, supported by the Creative England Production Fund, also presents the brand new Orion website inviting audiences to participate with Jeanie's film in a number of innovative ways. Users are encouraged to contribute stories, share memories and recall personal encounters with Ellis via social media by using the hashtag #MyOrion. Every tale will then be collated and made available on the site, with some testimonials potentially appearing in Jeanie's finished film. Meanwhile, the ‘I Am Orion' section poses the question ‘Would You Wear The Mask?' and allows viewers to don one of Orion's trademark glitzy eye-masks, either digitally or physically, to submit their own portrait or video tribute to the man who would have you believe he was king.

Richard Holmes, Senior Film Executive, Creative England, said: "We're thrilled that Jeanie's project has come together so creatively. We've backed this feature documentary from its inception and are proud to be one its major backers. Jeanie's a really talented, driven and focused regional filmmaker. We hope to see her holding more prizes aloft soon enough.”

TheCreative England Production Fund is targeted at feature films with budgets of under £1.5 million from up-coming talent or from established directors looking to experiment with innovative approaches.

Alongside Creative England, additional funding for this documentary feature was provided by BBC Storyville, Ffilm Cymru Wales and over 300 backers from the crowdfunding platform IndieGoGo.

Next week, Jeanie Finlay is due to receive an Inspirations Award from Sheffield Doc/Fest for her work inspiring filmmakers from around the world to engage with the documentary format. Orion: The Man Who Would Be King is Finlay's sixth feature documentary and is due for release in 2015.

Visit the site:

Read more about Creative England Production Funding here.


Inspirations Award

Sheffield Doc/Fest

  • Filmmaking
  • Film Funding