Private Project

Sunday Morning Coming Down

In 'Sunday Morning Coming Down', twins Max and Jordan head to the seaside town of Hastings where Max has arranged to meet a stranger at a glory hole. Set in the pre-online world of 1994, it presents the mutual ground (football and conflicting music tastes) the brothers fall back on as they navigate the untested waters of Max's sexuality. And sees Jordan step-up to the role of comforter when things go wrong.

  • Harry Lighton
  • Harry Lighton
    Go Home, Three Speech, The Big House Documentary
  • Sorcha Bacon
    Nightstand, Guinea Pig, A Lone, You Can Tutu
  • Henry Faber
    Key Cast
    The Hollow Crown, King Arthur
  • David Shields
    Key Cast
    The Crown, Bad Education: The Movie, Blackbird
  • Julie Buckland
  • Sorcha Bacon
    Nightstand, Guinea Pig, A Lone
  • Project Type:
  • Genres:
    LGBT, Drama, 1990s
  • Runtime:
    20 minutes
  • Completion Date:
    June 1, 2016
  • Production Budget:
    13,000 GBP
  • Country of Origin:
    United Kingdom
  • Country of Filming:
    United Kingdom
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • Edinburgh International Film Festival
    United Kingdom
    June 30, 2017
    Scottish Premiere
  • UK Film Festival
    United Kingdom
    February 14, 2017
    British Premiere
    Nominated for Best UK Short
  • London Short Film Festival
    United Kingdom
    January 9, 2017
    London Premiere
  • East End Film Festival
    United Kingdom
    July 7, 2017
  • Iris Prize Film Festival
    United Kingdom
    October 12, 2017
    Nominated for Best UK Short
Director Biography - Harry Lighton

Harry Lighton is a young writer and director based in London. He sharpened his nails in theatre with an award-winning adaption of Roald Dahl's 'Man From the South' before moving into film. His debut short as a writer-director, 'Three Speech', won Best Film and three other awards at the 2014 Oxford Film Fund Festival. He co-directed a music video for Out of the Blue (“Shakira Medley”) which went viral and has over 6 million Youtube views. Other directing credits include online commercials for Zoe Jordan and Classlist, and a Guardian-funded documentary on The Big House, a Hackney-based theatre company working with care leavers which raised £32,000 at its premiere.

He currently has a second short in post-production addressing the murky waters of "national" identity, two other shorts in pre-production, and a feature in development with Oscar winning producer Serena Armitage.

Add Director Biography
Director Statement

Sunday Morning Coming Down is a dramatic response to my memories of coming out. In contemporary England gay sex is available on tap - swipe right or wink in a gay bar and you’re bound for the sack. Yet so often the sex is devoid of any emotional connection. It can be fun and filthy, but time and again you wind up feeling isolated and deflated. What’s more, with a lack of LGBT sex-ed in schools and scant friends in the same boat when it comes to orientation, you’re left looking to porn for your sexual vocabulary. A fracture exists between the bravura mask expected of the “out-and-proud”, and the internal feeling that you’re poking around in the dark, trying to find your way. Setting the film in the early 1990s, I deliberately sought out a pre-Internet period where gay representation was less visible. Accordingly, I developed a character (the protagonist Max) lost by this under-representation and struggling to navigate beyond his sexual uncertainty.

Crucially though, I didn’t want to make a “coming-out” film. I prefer queer cinema which respects the specificity of gay ordinariness. The gay and heterosexual experience needs its due after decades ghosting about as subtext in the mainstream, but I search out filmmakers who resist the cliches of LGBT cinema. With this in mind, I shifted the focus onto a relationship between brothers. We don’t watch a tortured gay man head to a cottaging spot to satisfy his desires. Rather, we follow Max and Jordan as they fall back on the comfort of their twinned history (football teams, music tastes, pretensions) - mutual ground on a day where their sexual differences are unspoken but palpable. You wouldn’t necessarily think a film where the climactic scene is set in a glory hole would be touching and sweet, but I hope we achieved that balance.

The British seaside photographed by Martin Parr in the 70s and 80s was a landscape heaving with holiday-makers in garish swimwear. By the 90s many of the lesser known resorts had been reduced to little more than a shell. Lacking the visitors who boosted the economy, the seafront’s peeling paint became symptomatic of a faded British institution. Resisting panoramic wides, our choice of aspect ratio (4:3) weds Max’s claustrophobic experience to a landscape void of its former majesty. At the same time, lingering takes and static frames emphasise the indifference of this landscape to the brothers’ adventure.

Coming to terms with your sexuality isn’t something reducible to binary terms like “in” and “out”, and the ambiguity of the final scene resists neat, singular interpretations. Is Max genuinely buoyed up by Jordan, or is he playing along to mask his disappointment? Max’s experience is distressing, but I was determined to balance the melancholy with moments of lightness that captured the playful nature of the brothers’ relationship and prompted the audience to look beyond the chapter presented in the film