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The Futurists: A Film About The Futurist Theatre, Scarborough - Its Glorious Past & Its Uncertain Future.

Futurist Theatre Abandoned Yorkshire

After fifteen years of directing music videos, Scarborough born filmmaker Andy Hylton has returned to his roots of documentary filmmaking. Here he speaks to Scarborough UK about how he has set his sights on telling the story of the Futurist and what it means to the people of the town.
"I have worked in almost every theatre left standing in this town and a couple that are no longer with us. I was recently disturbed by the news of the impending demolition of the Futurist. Having worked there and knowing how close the theatre community was in Scarborough I felt it was time someone captured the story."
Andy set up a Kickstarter project and within 36 hours he had raised the thousand pounds target towards the costs of the film.
"I knew I could shoot with small digital cameras for around a grand, but I was also very aware that this would not be the final cost of the completed film. I just needed to get something shot, fast. I didn’t want to risk not reaching my goal, so I had to set it much lower than I needed."
The main filming took place over four days in March, gathering interviews with ex-stage crew, stage-managers, local historians and archivists as well as Jane Smith, the great-grand daughter of Will Catlin, the man who built the theatre and whose brother may or may not be buried in the grounds behind.

Filming also took place on the beach and the seafront outside the Futurist, but Andy was disappointed to find he was not allowed access to film inside the Futurist.
"I went through the proper channels, I had full insurance and public liability, but for some reason Scarborough Council would not allow me to film any shots inside the building. It was probably easier to get permission to shoot inside Fidel Castro’s bathroom in Cuba than it was getting access to the Futurist."
The film is currently being edited and Andy is releasing short sequences and stories as he works through the footage.
"I filmed so many fascinating characters and interesting stories that I probably won’t be able to use it all. It’s a film about the people of Scarborough as much as it’s about the Futurist."
Having worked through the various summer shows at the Futurist as a member of the backstage crew, he left Scarborough and moved to Brighton in 1996 after studying documentary film at the University of Humberside.
"My loves have always been music and film, so the music videos industry seemed an obvious choice."
Moving to Brighton, Andy made a short film called 'Vinyl', about a compulsive vinyl junkie in search of his ultimate prize. The film was picked up for distribution as a support film for Little Voice at the Stephen Joseph Theatre and Andy had brought the film home for the premiere.
"It was fantastic to go with my Dad and watch my film, on the big screen, in the same cinema where we both watched Star Wars, many years before. Star Wars made me want to make films in the first place. It was a rare moment."
After the success of Vinyl, Andy was spotted by Fatboy Slim's label Skint Records, and soon got a foot into the competitive London video industry.

Signing to Oil Factory Films, it soon became a full time career, writing concepts and directing music videos for artists like Paul Weller, Corinne Bailey Rae, The Ordinary Boys and So Solid Crew. In those days, before You Tube, the music video was still an event, always shot on film and the budgets were high. This was the perfect training ground for a young filmmaker.
"Being able to come up with my own ideas and have someone else pay for them was perfect for me. I tended to make narrative music videos so I had creative freedom to experiment with technology and use new camera equipment, jibs, steadicams and cranes, anything to help tell the story. This was my real film school. I have shot around the world, Japan, Africa, United States, Caribbean, but I always had a desire to capture the reality of the situation and never take it too far away from the truth."
With the film gaining notoriety in town through social media, Andy has his sights on the festival circuit and intends to get the message out to a much wider audience.
"I think it’s a story about family. The way people can bond when thrown together. The Futurist was like one big dysfunctional family held together by the most beautiful old house. The roof might be leaky and the boiler breaks down occasionally, but to many it was home."
Andy is keen to give the film back to the people of Scarborough as a historical record for future generations.
"It has been in the town over ninety four years, it is such an integral part of the town that it needs to be retained, if not in body then at least in spirit. It would be a disaster if we were to lose such a majestic building when there are so many people wanting to get it back into service."
The Futurist was closed in 2013 and has been standing empty ever since. An attempt to list the building with English Heritage was unsuccessful.
"I can’t honestly understand how you can list a building you can’t see. Remove the yellow cladding and lets see what we are dealing with. The Futurist is the earliest surviving Super-cinema in the UK. The auditorium is undivided which makes it of special interest. Standing in Britain’s first seaside resort, makes the Futurist of significant national importance and should be listed. Other people think differently though. It’s all just words in the end."

Short excerpt from the film about 'The Cladding'

If anyone would like to make a financial contribution towards the cost of the additional filming, sound mixing and festival entry, visit the Indiegogo site here:

Main image © 2015 Abandoned Yorkshire

The Futurists: A Film About The Futurist Theatre, Scarborough - Its Glorious Past & Its Uncertain Future. Reviewed by Editor on 19:20:00 Rating: 5

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