Horsham film-makers new documentary reveals untold story of Beatles star

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A Horsham film-maker has created a new documentary exploring the life of one of the country’s modern cultural greats.

Fans of Beatles legend George Harrision are set to get an insight into a part of his life which has very rarely been explored as a new production telling the story of his ground-breaking film company hits the big screen.

kim leggatt with michael palin

kim leggatt with michael palin

The project, charting the history of Handmade Films, has been created by the town’s very own documentary maker Kim Leggatt and will be shown in several special screenings at Horsham’s Capitol Theatre later this month.

Kim has spent years interviewing stars of Handmade’s productions to tell the story about the company and the other side of George’s artistic talent.

She said: “Everyone thinks Beatles when they think George Harrison. The chance for me was to tell a story that wasn’t really known about. It’s quite a fascinating story about George Harrison from when he was a film producer.”

Kim has spent 25 years creating films and documentaries from pieces on George Michael to working with stars such as Brian Cox.

She first got involved with the Handmade Films project - entitled An Accidental Studio - nearly seven years ago after visiting its studios to enquire about making a documentary on its 1987 production with Withnail and I.

Founded in 1978 the company went on to produce a host of cult classics including Monty Python’s The Life of Brian, Mona Lisa, and The Long Good Friday.

Kim said she was told the amazing story about how George helped create the company and what it went onto achieve and decided this was a story she had to tell.

“It was a great story of the rise of Handmade Films,” she said. “It kind of started from there and it has taken a long time to get to the screen.”

The documentary itself features interviews with star names including Monty Python actors Michael Palin, Eric Idol, John Cleese and Terry Gilliam as well as actors Michael Caine, who starred in Water and Mona Lisa, and Helen Mirren, who appeared in The Long Good Friday.

There are even surprise archive interviews from George himself revealing fascinating insights into the company and his switch from music to films.

Kim said: “I have interviewed some incredible people for the documentary and people were very generous with their time and help.

“There’s a lot of love around the story because everybody loves George Harrison.

“It has been a labour of love but I have loved every minute of it.”

The documentary explores the fact the company may have never have been if it wasn’t for the success of The Life of Brian.

George came to the rescue of Monty Python’s big screen project after funding problems at the last minute. George ended up mortgaging his house and his office to fund the film and Kim explained if it hadn’t been for its success, Handmade Films might never have been created.

She said: “It is a side of George Harrison that not many people know about, the fact that it could have never been.

“I have made quite a few documentaries but this has been the best experience I have had so far. This has been a joy to make.”

The film will be shown at the Capitol from May 17 to 20.