Jeanie Finlay is an acclaimed British artist and filmmaker who creates intimate, funny and personal documentary films and artworks. Her focus is on creating compelling portraits and she is obsessed with uncovering what makes people tick. Incorporating art, film and event cinema her work is known for its innovation in audience engagement and distribution.
Her work includes the feature documentaries Orion: The Man Who Would be King (89 mins BBC Storyville) Panto! (71 mins BBC Storyville) The Great Hip Hop Hoax (88 mins BBC Storyville, BBC Scotland), SOUND IT OUT (75 mins ) and sister artwork More than Music, Goth Cruise for IFC Teenland (BBC) and interactive documentary Home-Maker.
World premiere Tribeca Film Festival, Hotdocs, Grand Jury Prize winner Nashville Film festival, Nominated Grand Jury Sheffield Doc/Fest
“There are many that believe that Elvis is still alive – if he is alive he wears a mask and goes by the name Orion” Nashville Now, 1979
ORION tells the story of Jimmy Ellis of Orrville Alabama – an unknown singer plucked from obscurity, and thrust into the spotlight as part of a crazy scheme that had him masquerade as Elvis back from the grave. With an outlandish fictional identity torn from the pages of a novel, the backing of the legendary birthplace of rock ‘n’ roll Sun Records and a voice that seemed to be the very twin of Presley’s himself, the scheme – concocted in the months after Presley’s death exploded into a cult success – and the “Elvis is alive” myth was begun.
Borne by his incredible voice, Jimmy – as the masked and rhinestoned Orion – gained the success he’d always craved, the women he always desired and the adoration of screaming masses but it wasn’t enough…
Our story revels in the manipulative schemes of the music industry, the truth and lies at the heart of the story, the allure of fantasy and the eternal search for identity. Orion proves that fact is indeed ‘stranger than fiction’. This is the story behind that story. Who was that masked man?
“Top ten films to watch at Tribeca” The Guardian
“A real heavyweight piece of film making. Jeanie Finlay takes an all but forgotten music story from four decades ago and uses it to crafted a story for our times. Told with warmth, humour and most importantly dignity. Her best film to date.” The Quietus
“A fascinating, tragicomic documentary from Jeanie Finlay. A must watch.” Rolling Stone
November 3, 2015: Carolina Theatre of Greensboro, Greensboro, NC
November 4, 2015: Contemporary Arts Center (CAC), New Orleans, LA
November 5, 2015: Challenger Learning Center, Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL
November 6, 2015: South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center, Cutler Bay, FL