How much do we really know about the origin of Morris dancing?
What if you were told there’s a shadowy past of assassins and secrecy within Morris dancing?
Introducing "Morris Men" - the movie! An urban vengeance story; the third feature film from DB Morgan (the underdog filmmaker). DB Morgan’s "Morris Men" takes this quirky British tradition (still hugely popular around the UK, together with Australia and New Zealand) and weaves into it a fascinating story of shadowy assassins who ‘take care’ of the troubles that the Government can’t.
Intense parkour and martial arts (Eskrima/Kali) action is infused into the movie's DNA, creating an explosive British action movie based in the sandbox of Border Morris dancing. Think you know Morris dancing? Think again!
When asked about his vision for Morris Men, DB explained:
"My vision is to create an uber cool urban vengeance movie, based within the shadowy world of Border Morris dancing. The black-clad, crow-like, folk dancers of the north are an imposing sight to behold, far more intriguing than the traditional white dressed, bell ringing, Cotswold style dancers we associate with the traditional dancing style. In my universe the Morris guild are the unsung heroes, dealing with all the unpleasantness that normal folk don't need to worry about. Although sharing similar influences and concepts with 'Kick-Ass', 'Kingsmen', 'Super' and several other similar movies, I can assure you that viewers will never quite have witnessed anything like this before. Is it a bonkers concept? You bet. But... Parkour, Ninja, Morris dancing assassins!!! What's not to love."
The story of DB Morgan’s "Morris Men"
“When a seaside town is gripped in a vice of drug fuelled corruption, sometimes the only solution is to book a dance with the Morris Men.
England is on its knees. A drug epidemic to match anywhere in the modern world. Cocaine, Heroin, Opium, Spice, Balloons, Beans, Benzos, Skunk, Ketamine, Mamba, Pinkies, Angel Dust, Billy, Blotters, Amsterdam Gold... Bounce, Eric, Fentanyl, Ice, Kix, Lucy, Mandy, Meow Meow... and now Golden Goose. Something has to change!
In the pursuit of his childhood sweetheart, loner Tommy Feerman enrols in her Morris dancing club. He soon realises that all is not as it seems, and the club actually covers for a secret society of shadowy assassins as ancient as the British Realm. Before he knows it, Tommy is sucked into a perilous underworld, where danger lurks behind a crimson wax seal and the only dancing is with the devil himself."
Some of the highest profile folk bands and British folk festival performers have already signed up to the project, and DB Morgan is growing more confident by the day they could be on their way to creating a cult classic. From esteemed folk band BUFFO's WAKE, world renowned fire performers FIREFLOW, drumming group DRUM MACHINE, and live performances by the UK's leading Border Morris side BELTANE BORDER MORRIS, "Morris Men" creates a vibrant, living and breathing world in which to set DB Morgan's urban vengeance story.
Filming in Essex - October 2021
"Morris Men" is almost fully funded (EPs - feel free to get in touch) and scheduled to film in Clacton-on-Sea, Essex, from October 1st this year. Upon completion, the producers aim for "Morris Men" placement on all major Video on Demand platforms, including Netflix, Amazon Prime, I-Tunes, and gaming platforms.
The film is expected to do very well on the festival circuit and beyond, if DB's debut movie "Faith" (budgeted at just £45,000) is anything to go by. Delayed due to Covid-19, the film hit international festivals last month.
With four awards for best actress, runner up best feature and several other accolades and official selections, "Faith" is expected to continue garnering awards and prestige throughout its festival run. VIEW FAITH TRAILER HERE | REQUEST SCREENER HERE
Amidst recent controversy about blacked out faces, archaic, male centric exclusivity and the public’s perception of traditional Morris dancing, DB Morgan made public his plans to produce his third feature film, "Morris Men". Suddenly, the internet became awash with assumptions and misinformation about the film. Within a week, every Morris dancing ‘side’ in the UK was aware of the film… and many were not too pleased about it!
"I only wanted to make a cool urban vengeance movie, set in the shadowy world of Morris dancing, then all of a sudden I'm defending myself from all sides. Luckily, as more people researched my plans and I spoke to leading bodies within the separate guilds, there has been a status quo. I'm certain people are concerned that I'll just be another line of ridicule to this ancient piece of our Heritage. But no, I'm taking Morris dancing and making it the coolest kid on the block! They'll see." - DB proclaims.
The Morris dancing community, it transpires, has recently been embroiled in these issues, due to certain Border Morris sides (groups) using black face paint to represent the traditions of anonymity, based on parishioners dancing for money whilst supposed to be working, centuries ago. Several other traditional sides also still maintain male exclusivity to their ranks so, rightfully, are under the eye of scrutiny to modernise and evolve.
Reinventing Morris dancing for a new audience as a high impact pursuit, DB hopes that younger audiences will want to join local sides, to ensure this little slice of British heritage stays and continues to evolve as a modern and inclusive form of folk dance and festival tradition.
A Glittering Cast
The industry has embraced the adventurous world of "Morris Men", attracting huge names and multi-award winning actors keen to be part of the kick-ass 'Morris Dancing Guild'. Alongside world leading parkour athlete Lynn Jung, who will conduct much of the leading lady's parkour and stunt work, "Morris Men" stars Ross O'Hennessy (Game of Thrones/Davinci's Demons/Hanna), Leona Clarke (Faith/An Inspector Calls/The Academy), Jon Campling (Harry Potter/Final Fantasy/The Festival), Sean Earl McPherson (Room Sixteen/Gatwick Gangsters), Ray Whelan (Soft Hands/Red Army Hooligans), Charlie Bond (Vendetta/Strippers vs Werewolves), Jamie Chambers (Room Sixteen/Fury/The Brothers Grimsby), Katie Jarvis (Fish Tank/Eastenders), Jon-Paul Gates (The Howling/Borstal) and several other highly regarded British actors.
Multi award winning actress (courtesy of DB Morgan's Faith) Leona Clarke, explains her evolving work relationship with DB Morgan, together with her excitement at getting involved with his latest project.
“I think Morris Men has the potential to be very well received all across the country, possibly even across the world. It highlights relevant, important issues such as diversity and prejudice and the importance of equality. It embraces a true British tradition. It’s adventurous, fun and full of talent. And definitely something that hasn’t been seen before.
Working with DB Morgan is an entirely different ballgame. He welcomes people’s visions and ideas with open arms, allowing people the space to grow and develop their craft. I knew from our first day working together that we’d created a friendship for life. His positivity is inspiring! What I respect the most about DB is that he can’t be defined by convention. He embraces everyone, especially those considered the ‘underdogs’ of the world. He is multi-talented and a joy to be around. I’m grateful every day to be on this journey with him.
I love working on indie films because of the creative freedom they allow within both the story and character development. We’re not tied to strict storylines or “blockbuster” action sequences. It’s within these indie films that we’re able to find pure movie gold.
For me, ‘Faith’ was my baby. It touched me on such a personal level, and even though I faced some personal struggles filming it, the outcome outweighs it all. I am so proud of what we have achieved and on such a tiny budget. Seeing it being acknowledged and winning awards the world over is an incredible feeling. I can’t wait to share it with as many people as possible. Something I’m incredibly excited about this year is filming ‘Morris Men’! We have the pleasure of being instructed in a beautiful form of martial art by a true Eskrima Master, which is incredibly humbling. This film is definitely a huge step up for us in terms of budget and cast attachments, and it’s inspiring to see the successes we have already achieved with this. It’s a brilliant story and so good to see some British Heritage brought to glory!”
#mentalhealth #autism #allequal #nevergiveup
DB Morgan, as an autistic, mental health survivor, proudly created ‘The Underdog Crew’ for his first feature film, "Faith". This initiative allows teenagers with autism, mental health issues or from at-risk backgrounds to work as crew members alongside professional crew.
“Seeing these kids turn up on day one - introverted, minimal eye contact - to flourishing throughout the shoot and leaving full of confidence and optimism, is an awesome feeling. From each film, we choose the top three participants who become paid crew members and Underdog Crew mentors for the next project. It’s an epic concept and every production company in the UK should embrace it!” DB explains.
Jamie Wright (17), intern on DB Morgan’s first feature film says:
“When I was younger, I never really believed in myself, I never really had confidence in many things, from issues from my childhood. My parents suffer from mental illness and it was really tough. I always felt like I couldn’t achieve anything and that I have nothing to show to the world. I had a dark stage in my life dealing with a lot of suicidal thoughts. But I overcame it. This experience has given me faith. Writer and director, Dom Morgan, I have thanked a lot. He has really inspired me. He has shown me that you can do what you love from any background. I’m looking forward to sharing my experiences as a fully fledged crew member with the next round of Underdog Crew members.”
VIEW BEHIND-THE-SCENES mini-doc
A crowdfunding campaign is now live for "Faith Movie", to complete the transition from festival to worldwide release. Rewards include signed merchandise from the film, credited producer roles and exclusive hand-signed first edition DVD's and Blu-Rays.
"I'm blown away every day how my work attracts such amazing people," DB explains, "and now by the reception at renowned film festivals around the globe for my little debut disaster horror movie. Without any industry backing and only a couple of short courses at Raindance London, I've broken every barrier, both internally and externally, to fulfil my lifelong dream. I pay this forward by bringing other marginalised youths onto my film sets and showing them the possibilities of self belief and pushing against their own pre-conceived and societal barriers. Without industry backing I am always beating that elusive path for funding. It's part of the game I'm learning to be comfortable with. Our final "Faith" funder is already 70% funded at day two. I'm so grateful for every individual and company who continues to support our journey and cause."
Perhaps you might like to join their micro budget revolution and help DB Morgan and the Underdog Crew to inspire other UK production companies to review their own inclusivity and diversity policies. DB Morgan shows what can be done with the tightest of budgets and his productions lead the way in sustainable, ecologically friendly feature film production. He is also, as an ex-chef, regarded as the leading crew caterer in the UK :)
Signed DVD/Blu-Ray pre-orders & Video-on-Demand. Signed merchandise, producer credits, exclusive VIP UK premiere tickets and much more.
For all information please contact: Dominic Beresford-Morgan
Morris Men Director | Producer
07950 593982 | (01206) 862764
Guild of the Night Ltd | Faith Movie UK Ltd
Press release distributed by Pressat on behalf of Guild of the Night Ltd, on Wednesday 3 February, 2021. For more information subscribe and follow https://pressat.co.uk/