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Student films on song for Brighton’s Cinecity Festival

Brighton Gay Men's Chorus

Two University of Sussex student films looking at two different Brighton communities are to feature in 2010's Brighton's Film Festival, Cine-City.

The films are: 

  • New Members Welcome (Director Jackson Ducasse; Editor Oscar Gordon Lyons; Sound engineer Michael Botwright; Camera Operator James Scott .12 minutes.) The film tells the story of Brighton Trades Social Club on Lewes Road, its struggle to survive and its importance to its dwindling membership. The film is the work of four Sussex graduates who completed the Media Practice and Theory degree in 2010. The film was their final-year degree project.  
  • Beyond A Song (Director Will Steer, Editor Tom Trott, 12 minutes)) is a documentary that chronicles the Brighton Gay Men's Chorus, one of many such choirs worldwide that sprung up following  the murder of the first openly gay man elected to public office in California, Harvey Milk, in San Francisco in the 1970s. Final-year Media Practice and Theory student Will actually began the film in his first year.

New Members Welcome gives a glimpse behind the doors of a traditional working men's club and through the words of its members, reflects on a way of life that is now in danger of passing. Humorous and poignant, the film puts the case for an organisation challenged by the advent of cheap supermarket booze, the smoking ban and the ever-changing tastes and attitudes of younger people. The members, however, remain loyal, recounting their joys and frustrations with a drink and a song or two.

Director Jackson says: "Places like the Brighton Trades and Labour Club offer so much to communities across Britain but remain chronically ignored. I would advise anyone, young or old, to visit their local social club and offer their support."

Paul Weston, of the Brighton Trades and Labour Club Committee, says: "I really enjoyed the film and felt that it got straight to the point and showed just how much the club means to its members - New Members are Welcome so please pop down to see us!"

Beyond a Song explores another 'sociable phenomenon' - the Brighton Gay Men's Chorus. Will, who grew up in Brighton, was asked by family friends to film some of the chorus's gigs. Having accumulated masses of live performance footage, Will decided to make a documentary on the history of the chorus and its link to events in the USA more than 30 years ago.

Members of the chorus talk about what the group means to them, while the film offers insights into the beginnings of the gay choral movement. The first choir, founded in San Francisco, gave its first performance following the murder of gay champion Harvey Milk, inspiring new choirs worldwide.

Will says: "I managed to weave a story from their performances, linking in archive footage and interviews with members of the chorus.  People seem to like it.  At the moment I'm working with a wonderful team of fellow students to produce a screen drama which is where I want to move into as a profession, but my degree course has also introduced me to animation and documentary. It's all been hugely valuable."

Will's film is also being screened at the Exposures film festival in Manchester on 17th November.

The 2010 Cine-City festival will open with The King's Speech, starring Colin Firth and Helena Bonham Carter, followed in the season by Never Let Me go starring  starring Carey Mulligan, Andrew Garfield and Keira Knightly; Sofia Coppola's Venice winner Somewhere and Javier Bardem in Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's Biutiful. Richard Ayoade's debut feature Submarine closes the festival.

Notes for editors


Both student films feature in the Cine-City Screening Day Shorts event, which starts at 11am on December 4 at the Sallis Benney theatre, Grand Parade, Brighton. Tickets, available on the door only, are £3 or £5 for two. See

You can view the student films on along with other examples of University of Sussex students' work in the department of Media and Film.

Cine-City is Brighton's annual Brighton Film Festival. Cine-City also delivers a year-round programme of screenings, including artists' moving image work, exhibitions and special events in and around the city. Formed in 2003, Cine-City is a partnership with Brighton's Duke of York's Picturehouse, Screen Archive South East and the University of Brighton. Cine-City patrons include local residents Nick Cave and John Hillcoat (director of The Road and The Proposition; Henry Normal and Paddy Considine. For full Festival details visit:

University of Sussex Press office contacts: Maggie Clune, Jacqui Bealing and Daniëlle Treanor. Tel: 01273 678 888. Email:

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Last updated: Tuesday, 16 November 2010