Florida Film Festival Opening Night Film Tells Story of Beatles Forerunner, The Quarry Men | Orlando Film News | Orlando

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Colin Hanton

Like every year, the 2022 Florida Film Festival has a healthy selection of films about Florida – you can see more of those here – but this year the opening night is done. by a Florida-based filmmaker, Todd Thompson. After reading a memoir by Colin Hanton, who was in a band with other Liverpudlian teens you might have heard of – John Lennon, Paul McCartney and George Harrison – producer Mark Bentley was eager to document the story on film. He introduced him to Thompson, who had recently completed the Nichelle Nichols documentary. woman in motion, and the tracks fell into place, 1-2-3-4, just like a Beatles tune. With guest appearances from Billy Bragg, Peter Asher, The Old Gray Whistle Testby Bob Harris, Beatles historian Mark Lewisohn and Sir Paul McCartney himself, PRE FAB! is the story of the Quarry Men, the group that became the Beatles, and it tells a story conspicuously absent from all the current Beatles hype.

Orlando Weekly had a conversation with Thompson about making a happy noise with his collaborators (and subjects).

Talk a bit about the events of the film. How would you describe the story you and your colleagues are telling?

PRE FAB! is simply the story of a man, his drums and a group of friends who would one day become the greatest rock & roll band the world has ever known. This is truly an epic story told from a personal perspective by this man who lived and experienced it all firsthand.

Were you a Beatles fan from the start, or when did you first start listening to their music?

I grew up enjoying the music of the Beatles. My mom was a big fan growing up and shared her love for the Beatles with me. It was a bunch and a mania that happened long before my time so I didn’t fully understand it until I encountered [producer] Mark Bentley and saw his love and admiration for all things Beatles. I have to say it’s infectious, and having had the privilege of growing up with Colin, John, George and Paul over the past three and a half years that we’ve spent making the film, I have a whole new appreciation for them. as individuals and as artists. . There’s a timeless quality to their music and a nostalgic beauty to the storytelling of their lyrics that you can’t help but love. This is what I hope you leave after your experience PRE FAB! – a deeper understanding of how this phenomenon known as The Beatles began.

When did you discover the Quarry Men and hear their music for the first time?

It was July 2018. I got a call from Mark Bentley, who had just finished reading the book PRE FAB! by musician Colin Hanton and author Colin Hall, and had just returned from a trip to Liverpool where he had met Colin Hanton. He offered me the story and the idea of ​​making a documentary about it and I was hooked!

So, after reading his book, you struck up a relationship with Colin Hanton. What was his reaction to the finished documentary?

After Mark Bentley and I agreed to turn the book into a feature-length documentary, we pitched the idea to Colin Hanton and Colin Hall. On projects like this where there’s a book or biography involved, the usual first step is to option or buy the rights to that story. But in this case, we both knew we wanted the Colins on board as co-production partners for the long journey ahead. The friendships we’ve made with them are great, and they’ve seen this film take shape every step of the way. I felt a deep commitment to both Colins to preserve and tell this story in a way that will entertain and serve as a musical time capsule (if you will) for generations to come. And now that we’ve got the chance to give audiences a first look at the movie we’re so close to finishing, they’re probably more excited than we are.

Was it daunting trying to add something new to the mountain of Beatles and Beatles-adjacent history, research, and homage?

What’s so great about PRE FAB! it’s the last Beatles story to tell (ironically) how it all started. And what I thought was so great about Colin Hanton’s perspective in the story is that he’s the only guy on planet earth who was there the day John met Paul, the day John decided to switch from a skiffle band to rock & roll and the day Paul introduced everyone to George. No one else can tell.

What was the most surprising thing you learned while making this film?

Along with meeting and forming so many fun and amazing relationships along the way, it was really interesting to see the impact that each other’s lives had on the music they wrote, and how that music, in its turn, had such a big impact on our lives.

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Gerald R. Schneider