Once a Year on Blackpool Sands, is a moving comedy-drama about the love, identity and courage of the LGBTQ community during the first walk towards Gay Pride in 1950s England. Based on the real-life events of Yorkshire coal miners and secret gay lovers, Tommy and Eddy, who spend their annual week holiday at a quirky B & B in Blackpool, along with a few other alternative members of society – the transgender Mr. Elbridge, the ex-show girl Red Ethel and the eccentric owner Gladys and her flirty daughter Maureen. The film takes us on a rollercoaster journey through the North of England to the beaches of Greece, as we follow each character’s fight for equality and freedom in an age that still deemed being gay, or “different” as a crime. Our protagonists find courage in one another's bravery and initiate the first walks towards gay pride in the UK as they walk the length of Blackpool pier, defying prejudice and abuse. As we grow to love our characters, we grow to learn that without the courage and bravery of individuals throughout history, we would not be where we are today; and although the world likes to pigeon hole into subcultures and marginalize us into repression, the LGBTQ community and anyone of a so-called “minority” in the modern world are bold, unstoppable and here to share their story. This film is not a sad story, it’s an active tale of hope and triumph that deserves to hit the cinema screens!
Here is a film that celebrates diversity and how love’s motivational power can be a catalyst for change. A deft, witty and moving screenplay, and stellar performances, showcase what we can bring to the UK indie film industry. Written and directed by Karlton Parris and based on his hit stage production which toured the UK and off-Broadway New York, our film is currently in production across the UK, with a talented cast and crew full of passion and vigour for the film, and the hope and excitement it will bring to audiences and aspiring filmmakers out of the mainstream.
Queer people are not weird, nor should they only be supporting roles; they are stars of their story and that is what we want to inspire with our film: it’s true that when we see ourselves on screen, we see that we are valued, active members of the world.