Team’s feature-length film on history of Hastings Pier

Archie Lauchlan filming
Archie Lauchlan filming

A director and his production team’s dreams of completing a feature-length documentary about Hastings Pier look set to be realised.

Archie Lauchlan, 57, started on Re: A Pier nine years ago in 2006 after moving from London.

Everybody loves piers. They’re focal points for our memories of the seaside

Archie Lauchlan

He said: “I really got interested in the little businesses on the pier and someone told me Jimi Hendrix once played there.

“Everybody loves piers. They’re focal points for our memories of the seaside; days of fun, fancy and freedom. Hastings Pier has more going for it than any other in this sense because as well as offering the normal fish ‘n’ chips day out, the pier used to turn very rock ‘n’ roll at night.

“From the 1950s through to the 2000s, pop royalty such as Jimi Hendrix, Pink Floyd, Rolling Stones, The Who, The Kinks, T Rex, Sex Pistols, Clash, Elvis Costello, Nick Cave - among many dozens of others, plus superstar DJs such as Jon Digweed, Danny Howells and Sasha - appeared in the ballroom at the end of the pier. Perhaps the most unlikely setting in the world for such a rosta of talent over five decades.

“Two weeks after I moved to Hastings in 2006 it closed but I persevered with the story.

“In 2010 it was very nearly destroyed by the fire and the documentary follows the story of its community-led salvation over a period of nine years, up to and including its projected reopening later this year.”

Archie and his team, who consist of Garry Coleman, Margaret Beckett, Aicha Whitcombe and Agzilla, have had lots of support from the public from the project through crowdfunding via the internet, with £3,500 raised so far.

He added: “The entire project has been self-funded, to keep it 100 per cent independent, so I’ve paid for everything so far (with the help of a previous successful Crowdfunder callout in 2011).

“I’m now at the edit stage, and surprisingly, this six-month post-production period is going to cost nearly as much as the entire nine-year shoot. That’s partly because I’ve now established a little production collective with four other practitioners.

“They’re absolutely crucial to the project, they’re all Hastings people, and they definitely need paying. The £3,500 will go entirely to them.”

Archie, who used to work for the BBC making arts documentaries, is trying to raise another £1,500 through the Crowdfunder website so as to buy in more stills and archive footage of the bands that played in the pier’s ballroom.

There is also a callout on the Crowdfunder page for stills and/or footage that anybody might have of the pier.

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