A film that asks whether Basildon has failed to live up to its utopian ideals is holding its West End premiere next week.

Christopher Smith, 40, a filmmaker from Benfleet, was inspired by Basildon’s 1950s brutalist architecture and the way it has influenced the town’s culture over the years to make ‘New town Eutopia’ as his first feature film.

“Basildon was built around the time of several other new towns, and they were all designed to be new town utopias,” he explained.

“Renowned artists of the time were commissioned to create work for Basildon, hence the sculptures you see around town.”

Mr Smith says that he wanted to explore the conflict between Basildon’s concrete architecture and its social reality.

“When I grew up and used to go into Basildon as a kid, it felt different to other places because of its concrete buildings and sculptures,” he said.

Mr Smith claims that Basildon was built with a sense of optimism, which was meant to be reflected in its ultra-modern architecture.

“Times weren’t easy back then, but people were invested in an element of hope. The town’s first residents came from very bad living conditions in London and were grateful that in Basildon, they had a house where they didn’t all have to share bedrooms, and a toilet too – things which we take for granted now.”

As well as featuring angry puppets and poetry, Mr Smith’s film features interviews with Basildon residents who were behind the town’s artistic movement.

They include musicians such as Richard Hawkins of the band Jackson’s Warehouse and Penny Betteridge who runs the town’s Thalian Theatre Society.

Mr Smith also interviewed Joe Morgan, the first leader of Basildon Council and ‘champion of the working class’, who passed away last month aged 90.

Mr Smith’s film, which was funded from a Kickstarter campaign, also features Oscar-winning actor Jim Broadbent as the voice of Lewis Silkin MP.

Mr Smith acknowledges that the initial sense of hope of Basildon’s first residents has been dashed as the town has grown, and is still being challenged by its economic realities. But he believes the positive spirit that the town was built on can be harnessed once again.

“Basildon has been neglected. But people in Basildon are trying to instigate a change and I hope that the film will give them a platform. Not everybody growing up in Basildon wants a normal job when they grow up, some kids need ways to channel their creativity.”

New Town Utopia is screening on April 24 at Picture House Cinema in the West End and on May 24,it will be screened at Southend Film Festival.