Pride

Directed by Matthew Warchus, produced by David Livingstone for Calamity Films / Pathe.

"The true tale of how two very different communities came together in London and Wales during the lengthy U.K. miners’ strike of 1984-5 makes for an irresistible crowdpleaser in Pride, the sophomore feature from garlanded British theatre director Matthew Warchus. The story of the little-remembered Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners movement (LGSM) plays so many inspirational, feel-good notes, the only real surprise is that it’s taken three decades to be unearthed for cinematic purposes." - Variety

Inspiration came from photographs that were taken of the real LGSM and the events portrayed in the film. "These gave us a snapshot glimpse of the characters, their relationships and the contrast of lifestyle" says Simon Bowles.

The lead character Mark lives in a block of flats in London. "We chose a fabulously angular and brutal housing estate in North London" explains Simon Bowles, "to indicate the apartment that Mark lives in we hung a large red banner from the windows".

A run of closed shops were chosen in North London to serve the location to recreate the 1980s street which the original Gay's The Word Bookshop resided. "I chose the types of shops that may have been around the bookshop at the time; from an old Victorian cobblers to a modern 80s television shop. Breathing life back into this disused row of shops was a wonderful experience".

Interior sets were built at Pinewood Studios. Full colour visuals drawn up before construction started."I chose a very 80s diagonal stripe style for the shops store room, using the colours I remember vividly of the plastic bags that my local record shop put my treasured purchases into".

"For the interior of Jonathan & Gethin's Flat above the bookshop I used a themed each room with different colours in celebration of live and love, some primary and some earthy. To show the size of their social group I stuck a lot of polaroid photographs showing their friends on one wall, some missing to hint at those lost".

In contrast to Jonathan and Gethin's life Joe lives in 80s suburbia. "I created an ordered and structured world for Joe, imposed on him by his parents. I wanted the audience to cheer when he breaks out into the riotous colour, chaos and passion of his new life." A housing estate in London was found to supply the exterior scenes. 

Interior scenes were dressed with a tight palette of colours including pastel ruched curtains.

The theatre van that the LGSM use to get from London to South Wales became a character of it's own. "I wanted the bright colours to sit well in London but look out of place when arriving in Wales, just as the LGSM felt". The design of the megaphone was so strong that it was chosen to be used in the poster design.

The exterior of the Welsh mining pit was to be shot in London. Simon Bowles created a "before & after" visual to explain his solution using some of the many reference images from the strike archives, see below.

Final shot used in the film.

All the exterior scenes of the mining village were shot in South Wales, the interiors of characters houses shot in London. "I did't want to portray any cliche interiors, I wanted the audience to believe they were visiting real people with a strong sense of their own pride of family history. I kept their colours simple with hints of warmth in the cold atmosphere".

Interior Welsh miners social club scenes shot on set in London.

Click to watch the trailer...