Experiencing Interruptions?

The Spirit of '58

Manchester, England. Late May 1999.

Joe Reddy feels like he's falling apart. Because of all the arguments, his wife has moved back into her mother's house, and their only contact is in the form of sporadic phone calls that just don't seem to solve anything. Most days, he works nine to five on a building site and comes home to a silent, empty house.

His only company is his widowed Dad, Patrick, providing light relief and helping him sit through his problems and escape the house by taking him out to the pub to watch Manchester United, sharing a life of advice along the way. Set across ten nervous days, when United are playing to win a historic treble of the Premier League, FA Cup and European Cup, Joe and his dad contemplate the luck in his life with the desperate hope that it will mirror that of their beloved team. A heartfelt look at hope, the father-son bond and pre-millennial working-class Manchester.

  • Patrick Nicholls
    Writer, Director & Producer
  • Jody Latham
    Key Cast
  • Mark Vanhendrijk
    Key Cast
  • Abigail Bower
    Key Cast
  • Dominic Howlett
    Director of Photography
  • Sam Rolfe
    Editor, Script Supervisor and Colourist
  • Aisha Graham
    Assistant Director
  • Ivan Eastley
    Sound Recorder, Editor and Mixer
  • Richard Jon Oughton
    Stills Photographer
  • Project Type:
  • Genres:
  • Runtime:
    13 minutes 56 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    March 31, 2017
  • Production Budget:
    1,800 GBP
  • Country of Origin:
    United Kingdom
  • Country of Filming:
    United Kingdom
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • Kinofilm Manchester International Short Film Festival
    United Kingdom
    November 18, 2017
    World Premiere
    Best Director (Nominated), Best of the North West (Nominated)
  • MUTV Shorts Competition
    United Kingdom
Director Biography

Born and raised in north Manchester, Patrick wrote, directed, and produced three short films on black & white 16mm film in New York City, while studying abroad in the US for his degree in 2014 (graduated from University of Nottingham in 2015).

Whilst having previously worked at Metrodome, Feel Films and for a BFI short film ‘Middle Passage’, his first directorial effort since moving back to the UK came in the form of brooding psychological thriller short Still Dark, which he also wrote and produced.

After wrapping on his short existential dark comedy Teaching A Whore About Romance, he made his first short film to be shot in his hometown of Manchester: The Spirit of '58

Add Director Biography
Director Statement

Film has always been such a big part of my life, but it was only when I saw the films of directors such as Ken Loach, Shane Meadows, Alan Clarke and Mike Leigh that I really felt that this was something that I could do myself someday. They brought to life these emotionally complex stories about the everday people and places that I grew up with. For the first time, I saw a beautiful sense of importance these stories had in my own life; the characters, the humour, the hope, the despair. I felt more than obliged to tell my own stories in that tradition one day, and that's why I'm so thrilled we made 'The Spirit of '58'.

We've shown recently that we're different in Manchester and pull together so strongly in times of need, and that's exactly what this film was always about. After the terror attack at the Manchester Arena this year, Manchester United's match in the Europa League final a few days later became so much more important as symbol of the city's resilience. Football has always been a huge part of being a Mancunian and none more so than the year we've focused on in the film (which, despite my age, I remember so well): 1999. However, despite the backdrop of Man United's pursuit of the treble in 1999, this was always a father-son story. In truth, the father character, Patrick Reddy, is a reflection of how my own Dad has always been there for me even when times got beyond tough.

We shot the film in Moston, the working-class area of the city where I grew up. I've always said that when I do my first film in Manchester, I'd do it in Moston, and it fills me with pride more than anything that we did. I couldn't have pulled this film together without the sincere generosity of my friends, family and always unbelievable crew, who never cease to amaze me in bringing these visions to life. For that I'll be eternally grateful.