The Swinging Sixties are alive and kicking thanks to a Chorley film producer rubbing shoulders with silver screen and rock ’n’ roll royalty.
Ben Hilton, from Carr Lane in the Cowling area of the town, has spent the last five years working on newly released documentary My Generation, starring Sir Michael Caine, as he looks back on the decade that defined British culture for the last half a century.
“The process started exactly five years ago this week in fact,” explained 36-year-old Ben, who co-produced with Michael and Spice Girls manager Simon Fuller.
“Over the last five years myself and director David Batty watched more than 1,600 hours of archived footage to make up the final product, which is definitely a new experience for those watching.”
Ben also edited the film with Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais, famous for their television series including The Likely Lads, Porridge, and Auf Wiedersehen, Pet.
“I would go with David and Michael to interviews with the likes of Sir Paul McCartney, Roger Daltry, and Twiggy,” said David, a former St Michael’s CE High School student who now lives in Sussex as a result of his work.
On Wednesday the film was shown throughout the country in more than 400 Vue cinemas, including Ben’s old employers at the Vue at Middlebrook Retail Park in Horwich.
Speaking on Thursday, Ben said: “We premiered the film last night but all I wanted to do was be in Horwich after working at the cinema there for two years.”
Ben, who previously worked as a runner on Hollyoaks, added:“You spend all your time cleaning up popcorn and drinks, scrubbing counters, thinking ‘I really want a film on these screens’ and for it to actually happen is mind-blowing.
“My parents Stephen and Linda and some of my friends went down to the premiere, so it was really sweet.”
Ben, who is currently in the United States filming for his latest film project, added: “Growing up I’d film stuff around Chorley with people nearby. Working in film has always been what I wanted to do.”
Speaking after the film’s premiere in a live Q&A with the British Film Institute, Sir Michael Caine said: “[The film] is not just about people becoming actors or stars but a real social change and meant a tremendous amount to a lot of people and also has an effect right to this day.”