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Meet the artist who re-created the Lesbian and Gays Support the Miners signs for 'Pride'

Isabelle Aron

From stunt doubles to costume designers, we talk to the people who've helped make some of London's most iconic films. Anna Thomas became known in the industry as Anna ‘banner’ Thomas after she hand-painted all the banners for the 1985 Gay Pride Parade scene in ‘Pride’. She recalls how she recreated the iconic banners and ended up appearing in the film.

How long did it take to paint all those banners?

‘I was given a space in Ealing Studios which used to be the “Downton Abbey” costume department. I think I made between 40 and 60 banners, using photographs, videos and sources connected to the LGSM [Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners] Alliance for inspiration.’

Which banner were you most proud of?

‘It has to be the LGSM one – it’s iconic. Mark Ashton, who made the original banner, passed away. Mike Jackson, who was one of the original LGSM leaders, came into my workshop when I wasn’t there and burst into tears because he’d watched Mark making that banner. He said when Mark was making it, he laid it out on the floor of his council flat and he didn’t protect the floor, so the paint went straight through.’

How did it feel seeing all those people holding the banners in the last scene? 

‘It was overwhelming. I was on set for that. I was dressed up as one of the people marching so that I could be in the crowds. I was in very uncomfortable ’80s clothes and had a costume bag that was full of staplers and tape just in case they broke. I would repair them between takes. It was really windy, so it was mainly just stapling bits down when you could see them detaching.’ 

So you actually appear in the film?

‘Well, you can’t see me, I tried to hide. I don’t like being on camera. I got to march with Mike Jackson and three or four of the original LGSM members. It was wonderful. We arrived at four in the morning on Westminster Bridge in the pouring rain. It’s supposed to be July in the film. But when we started shooting, the clouds cleared and it was perfect.’

Here's everything you need to know about this year's London Film Festival.


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