‘Fascinating’ new documentary on 1960s Leicester culture sets charity fundraising goal

A new documentary that showcases the diverse and pulsating creative scene in 1960s Leicester has been made available pay-per-view online, with all proceeds going to charities BrightSparks and Soft Touch Arts.

”Moving in the Shadows”, written and directed by Arch Creative Director Joe Nixon, is a 100-minute documentary that delves into the vibrant creative scene that thrived in Leicester during the 1960s.

The film takes viewers on a nostalgic journey, exploring the artistic and cultural movements that shaped Leicester’s identity during this transformative era. Through a combination of archival footage, interviews with key figures, and expert analysis, the film provides an intimate look into the city’s artistic landscape.

“Moving in the Shadows” is a deeply personal project for Nixon, inspired by his late father, John, affectionately known as ‘Jelly’. John had carried out a series of audio recordings for The University of Leicester’s East Midlands Oral History Archive, which Joe discovered after his father’s passing from pancreatic cancer in 2017.

The tapes revealed a fascinating story that compelled Joe to create a film around it. Music and social history author, Shaun Knapp, has been interviewed for the film; “Leicester’s 1960s creative scene was buzzing, and some of the faces that emerged from that period aren’t as well-known as they should be.

Leicester doesn’t celebrate its home grown talent like other cities, but this film will hopefully start to change that.” Set against the backdrop of post-war Britain and the 1960s, a time of significant political and economic shifts, “Moving in the Shadows” explores the newfound opportunities and freedom that enabled young people to create new identities and spearhead innovation in fashion, music, literature, art, and design.

Leicester, like many provincial cities, became a hub for this creative revolution. Joe worked closely with the University of Leicester’s Special Collections, and the film was sponsored by its newly formed Heritage Hub.

“This fantastic film shines a light on the working-class subcultures and creatives that made 1960s Leicester ‘Boom City’” says Dr Emma Parker, Associate Professor of Postwar & Contemporary Literature at The University of Leicester.

Parker, who is also an expert on sixties Leicester playwright Joe Orton, has been interviewed for the documentary, along with twelve others. Leicester has for so long been in the shadow of other cities, despite generating exciting creative scenes.

The film aims to shed light on the often-overlooked contributions of Leicester’s crucial part to play, as well the lesser-known but brilliant creative minds from Leicester who played a significant role in shaping this era.

”Moving in the Shadows” combines remarkable archive footage and photographs from 1960s Leicester with a great soundtrack featuring local musicians, including six tracks from Leicester’s legendary progressive rock band, Family, as well as contributions from Kenny Wilson, blues guitarist Mick Pini and Joe’s late father’s band Hopscotch Boulevard.

Colin Hyde from the East Midlands Oral History Archive says “The film features some fascinating interviews and archive footage. With so much of this heritage at risk, it’s important that we capture these memories for future generations.”

“Moving in the Shadows” serves as a tribute to the working-class kids who defied expectations and made significant contributions to the cultural landscape of Leicester and beyond, such as singer/songwriter Roger Chapman from Family, who has been interviewed for the film. This is a must-see for anyone interested in the history of Leicester, the cultural impact of the 1960s,
and the power of creativity to shape communities.

“I was thrilled to present a sell-out screening of the film to audiences at Leicester’s Independent Cinema Phoenix,” says filmmaker Joe Nixon.

“Due to popular demand we will be looking at the possibility of future screenings, but in the meantime I’m pleased to be able to make it available to watch online. This film is a tribute to the creative spirit of Leicester during the 1960s and the influential individuals who shaped its cultural landscape. We hope it will inspire viewers and ignite a renewed appreciation for the city’s artistic heritage.”

To watch the film online there will be a minimum donation of £5 which will give viewers a week’s
temporary access. Donations will go towards the costs of making the documentary, with all profits going to

As this is a not-for-profit initiative, any proceeds after costs will go to young people’s charity Soft Touch Arts and BrightSparks Arts in Mental Health Group. The film has been made with Joe Nixon’s Arch Creative colleagues, including Lead Editor Matthew Letts, and is now available to watch until November 2024 at movingintheshadows.co.uk

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