The Ballad Of Olive Morris
The Ballad Of Olive Morris is a short film based on real life events that took place in the South London neighbourhood of Brixton in 1969. 17 year old Olive Morris gets violently caught up in an incident of police brutality as she intervenes to help a Nigerian diplomat being wrongly arrested for stealing his own car.
The Ballad Of Olive Morris
The Ballad Of Olive Morris will be an approximately 10 minute long dramatic short film, based on true life events.
The film will follow a pivotal event in the life of Olive Morris, a womens rights and civil rights activist the UK in the 1960's and 1970's and a member of the British Black Panther Party.
The brilliant team behind this short film includes BAFTA nominees, artists whose work has been selected, screened and recognised by major international festivals ( including London Short Film Festival, Edinburgh TV Festival, British Independent Film Festival, Pilot Light TV Festival, Underwire Film Festival, Austin Film Festival etc). The aim is to raise £15,000 ($19,500) to produce the film to completion.
We want as many people as possible to help us bring this incredible story about this amazing woman to life.
The Ballad Of Olive Morris will follow events based on an incident that happened in 1969, where 17 year old Olive Morris bravely stepped in at great personal risk to herself, to try and prevent a Nigerian diplomat named Clement Gomwalk from being arrested and assaulted under false pretenses by police officers in Brixton. While this incident barely scratches the surface of Olive's incredible life and accomplishments, it serves as an introduction as to the core values that made her such a remarkable person and leader and also is arguably an "origin story", in the sense that this incident could be considered a strong inciting point that galvanized her activism for the rest of her life.
Storyboards by Cong Nguyen
A visual collage representation of images from various movies that give an overall feeling of the style, theme or content of The Ballad Of Olive Morris
BRIXTON IN THE LATE 1960'S & EARLY 1970'S
A short video showing Brixton as it was during the time period the film was set, including footage of Desmond's Hip City, a local record shop and key location in the events of the film.
The Ballad Of Olive Morris is an examination of a specific moment in time in the life of a significantly important British cultural figure, who is perhaps unfairly obscure in mainstream British culture. Olive is about Olive Morris, a black British activist, squatter, freedom fighter and British Black Panther party member. Though she died at only the age of 27 from non-Hodgkinson’s Lymphoma, Olive accomplished a huge amount in her brief lifetime. Her activism was tireless fighting against racism and police brutality, for womens and squatters rights. Olive also founded several political and activist groups in her lifetime. Such was her impact in Brixton where she lived, that in 1986, seven years after her death, a Lambeth council building was named after her, becoming known as Olive Morris House. There was something of a Che Guevara revolutionary spirit about Olive. Like the famed Cuban revolutionary, Olive was also an academic on a constant quest to journey the world to learn more about socialist principles and revolutionary struggle. In 1972, she led a journey to meet the American Black Panther Party leader Eldridge Cleaver in Morocco. The journey failed, and she was stranded in Algeria with a friend, but these were the lengths she went to find those who could teach her and in turn allow her to inspire others. Olive would travel to Northern Ireland and China for similar learning expeditions which she would put in her writings.
The Ballad Of Olive Morris is not is not a feature or an extended long form project, so there is no way to do the rich tapestry of a life like hers justice without that kind of extended format. What we can do in a short film, is take a slice of that life and a truly formative and key experience in that life, to show what made Olive Morris such a special individual, whose story deserves to be far more widely known, if not essentially taught. And I hope this short can galvanize interest for a feature or a limited series on her life. The incident the short film covers took place in 1969 when Olive intervened in the arrest of a Nigerian diplomat in Brixton by police officers. Accounts vary of exactly how things escalated, but Olive was beaten up and arrested (alongside six other people) and faced racist abuse from the police and was threatened with sexual assault while in custody. This was arguably the key formative experience that drove Olive to dedicate her life to activism.
This story covers a lot of quite heavy ground. Racism, police brutality. Even intersectional feminism, as Olive has an encounter with a somewhat sympathetic white policewoman who has their own internal struggle in regards to maintaining the patriarchal status quo of her male colleagues. But there is still a sense of hope and optimism by the end of the short, as Olive has become strengthened by her ordeal and begins her journey towards being a civil rights leader.
From a visual and storytelling perspective, because this is a period drama, mise en scene is hugely important in setting the scene and pulling the viewer directly into the time period the film is set in (1969). This can be achieved with an effective combination of cinematography, music, production and costume design. For the style of cinematography, we can reference HBO’s Watchmen (2019) series (historical scenes). Spike Lee’s BlackKkKlansman (2018) can be used as a visual reference point for the time period
From a psychological context, most of this film is told through Olive’s point of view, so a lot of tightly framed close-ups on her character in particular will be important to put the audience into her perspective.
In conclusion, The Ballad Of Olive Morris is a period short that is extremely timely and relevant to issues still facing our society today. It’s empowering for people to know singular activists against forms of oppression like Olive Morris did so much to improve civil rights in Britain in that era when stories like hers have often been under-examined. Olive's story may be in our historical past, but it still says everything about our present.
Alex is a director, writer, producer and actor who graduated from London Metropolitan University with an BA (Hons) in Film And Broadcast Production. He then went on to study acting Identity School Of Drama going on to work as a professional actor on stage and screen (stage credits include 13 at the Omnibus Theatre in Clapham). In 2017, Alex wrote, directed and performed in “Make America Black” again, a series of satirical political campaign infomercials that spoofed the election of Donald Trump. These spots successfully went viral and attracted audience impressions of over 1 million views on various social media, including Facebook.
Rami is a versatile producer who has quickly built a reputation for producing short films of exceptionally high quality and production value . He has produced five shorts, sci-fi comedy If: Girlfriend Deluxe, winner of the 2018 Homespun Yarns short film competition and selected at over a dozen film festivals including BAFTA qualifying Norwich and PÖFF Shorts. Maneater (2017) a modern romance starring Ella Loudon. And two drama shorts in post-production due for release: Layla and The Silver Mask. Rami was associate producer on upcoming independent thriller feature Summer in the Shade. In 2019 he started Rasp Films as a company for all of his independent projects to live under. He is currently developing 2 features, secured funding for a short documentary following VC collective a group of female motorcyclists, and a music video. Rami began work in the TV industry as a production runner in 2011 and has since worked for companies such as Endemol, Objective Productions, ITV and BBC. Notably he spent two years on Wes Anderson's Isle of Dogs, Disney's 101 Dalmatian Street and most recently Warner Brothers Pennyworth series two as Post Production Coordinator.
Rami's latest short film as a producer Lucky Break (2020) a comedy starring Steve Oram and Jessye Romeo was nominated at the 2021 BAFTA awards in the category of Best British Short Film, cementing Rami as one of the most exciting and talented young producers in the UK. Below is the trailer for the BAFTA nominated Lucky Break:
Director Of Photography
Nathalie is a London based cinematographer who has worked across film (16mm & 35mm) and digital in short fiction, documentary, fashion promos, commercials, and music videos in the UK and abroad.
She trained on the MA Cinematography course at the National Film & Television School in Beaconsfield under the sponsorship of Channel 4. In 2015 Nathalie was awarded the CTBF John Brabourne Award for Emerging Talent sponsored by the British Cinema and Television Veterans (BCTV). Previous clients include Stink Films, Pulse Films, Partizan, Black Dog Films, Greatcoat Films, The Guardian, My Accomplice, Louis Vuitton, Tate, Nike, ASOS, Mulberry, Nowness, Dazed, and i-D, among others. Nathalie's work has played at international film festivals, has been broadcast on BBC4, and has been shown on the main stage at the Glastonbury Festival. Nathalie is a member of Sporas - a collective for Black and POC cinematographers and crew, Women Behind The Camera, ICFC (International Collective of Female Cinematographers) and Illuminatrix Rising - a collective for up and coming female cinematographers.
Among Nathalie's recent work as a cinematographer includes the music video "New Love" from Silk City ft Ellie Goulding, the BFI Soul selected and San Francisco Black Film Festival winning short film "We Do What We Can" and the experimental short film The Four Temperaments, starring two-time Academy Award winning actress Cate Blanchett (which can be seen below, alongside stills from Nathalie's other projects).
Still from Again/Again---Cinematography by Nathalie Pitters
Still from "Torchlight"---Cinematography by Nathalie Pitters
Rana Fadavi is a French-Iranian freelance art director and set designer from Paris. She completed her MA in Strasbourg at HEAR, higher education in Visual Arts in 2016. Rana works in film, fashion, theatre and exhibitions. She has been based in London since 2018.
Companies she has worked with include: Untold Studios, Agile Films, Knucklehead, Fox digital, Pulse, StudioPOW, Riff Raff Films, Rattling Stick, Greatcoat, Nina Ricci, Issey Miyake, Microsoft surface, Tara Jarmon, Centre Pompidou, Sadler’s Wells.
Rana's most recent projects includes design work on a documentary for HBO. Some examples of her Production and Set Design work are below:
Gaby is a production co-ordinator for ITN. From music video shoots, to documentary-filmmaking and studio-based productions, Gaby has thrived in a range of environments and excelled in positions where creativity, organisation and teamwork are essential. Gaby was awarded a scholarship from the David Lyle Foundation at the end of 2019, and has since begun to explore international television markets, understand what drives the business and develop ideas for broadcast which reflect underrepresented experiences. Gaby works in all spheres of production...as a producer, a production co-ordinator and as a production manager.
In 2020, Gaby founded Line Light, an employment and talent resource dedicated to creating viable opportunities for black and brown creatives in the British television industry. In 2021 Line Light entered into a creative diversity partnership with iZen UK and it's subsidiary production companies to identify new talent in black and brown communities in the UK, provide workshops and fund and develop script ideas.
In addition to her work with ITN and Line Light, Gaby is also currently producing "Save Me", the next short film from Amani Simpson, filmmaker behind the award winning and hugely succesful short film based on his own life, "Amani", which starred Joivan Wade
Cong comes from an animation background, holding BA Animation and Screenwriting Hons, where he found interest in storyboarding and went on to gain his MA Animation Distinction from Arts University Bournemouth, specialised in storyboarding for animation. He now works full-time as a freelancer providing storyboard, concept art, poster for film and television. Selected credits for Cong's extensive storyboard work include:
NGX Interactive NASM (exhibition) Papaya Coca Cola ‘Come together’ (ad) Mulberry MC RCP series (promo) Essay Pictures ltd A Woman’s World (feature) FFT Presents Liverpool F.C. Women (promo) Holster Films Slovenia tourism (promo) Hubbub Foundation UK Treasure your river (promo) Kode Media Represents FW19 (promo) Cardboard Llama Jump (short) Christopher Hood Harry Potter cloak (ad) Siskamedia Keep Breathing (short) Story Lab Harry Potter figurines (ad) Vermillion Films MTR Crossrail (ad) Vermillion Films Virgin Care (ad)
Ensuring the health and safety of the cast and crew is is paramount during this ongoing pandemic, so a Covid-19 supervisor will be consulted and the production itself will work to adhere to the Covid-19 guidelines for film and television productions that the government and the British Film Commission laid out.
A breakdown via chart of how the money will be distributed during the production process:
Any support for The Ballad Of Olive Morris will be gratefully received. Whether it's making a contribution for the price of a cup of coffee or spreading the word about this project on your social media or to your friends...it all helps. But we want to be able to show our appreciation for those backing the project, and here is how we can do that
A Shout Out and a Thank You!--£5.00
Anyone who supports this project for up to £5 can expect to receive a very APPRECIATIVE thank you on our social media platforms!
End Credit Thank You---£20.00
For a contribution of £20, you will be mentioned in the "Special Thanks" section of the film itself during the end credits and on the IMDB page of the film. (This reward also includes A Shout Out and a Thank You)
Digital Copy Of Film Poster---£25.00
For those who make a contribution in the tier of £25, you will receive a digital copy of the film's poster (This reward also includes A Shout Out and a Thank You and End Credit Thank You)
Digital Copy Of Film Script---£50.00
Supporting this project with £50.00, and you will receive a digital copy of the script for The Ballad Of Olive Morris (This reward also includes A Shout Out and a Thank You, End Credit Thank You and a Digital Copy Of Film Poster)
Early Access To Film---£75.00
With a £75 contribution, before the film is officially released, through a private link you will be able to see the finished film before the rest of the world (This reward also includes A Shout Out and a Thank You, End Credit Thank You, Digital Copy Of Film Poster and a Digital Copy Of Film Script)
For anyone who supports this project with £100 will receive a digital copy of the film's Storyboards (This reward also includes A Shout Out And A Thank You, End Credit Thank You, Digital Copy Of Film Poster, Digital Copy Of Film Script and Early Access To Film)
Zoom 1 to 1 with Filmmakers-- £150.00
With support of £150, you can attend a 30 minute Zoom session with writer/director Alex Kayode-Kay or a member of the production team to discuss the process of making the film, working in the industry in general or anything that takes your fancy (This reward also includes A Shout Out And A Thank You, End Credit Thank You, Digital Copy Of Film Poster, Digital Copy Of Film Script, Early Access To Film and Storyboards)
Behind The Scenes Materials---£250.00
For support of up to £250, a selection of behind the scenes materials (set photos, select BTS footage, cast & crew interviews etc) will be digitally compiled in a package and make it's way to you (This reward also includes A Shout Out And A Thank You, End Credit Thank You, Digital Copy Of Film Poster, Digital Copy Of Film Script, Early Access To Film,Storyboards and Zoom 1 to 1 with Filmmakers)
Associate Producer--- £600.00
With this contribution, you can become one of our Associate Producers and be credited as such wherever the film's credits are shown, such as in the films credits or on it's IMDB Page (This reward also includes A Shout Out And A Thank You, End Credit Thank You, Digital Copy Of Film Poster, Digital Copy Of Film Script, Early Access To Film and Storyboards , Zoom 1 to 1 with Filmmakers and Behind The Scenes Materials).
Become one of our Executive Producers with a contribution of £1000 or more. You'll be credited as such wherever the film's credits appear (end credits, IMDB etc). An Executive Producer is often one of the most valued parts of a film, so it's a big one (This reward also includes A Shout Out And A Thank You, End Credit Thank You, Digital Copy Of Film Poster, Digital Copy Of Film Script, Early Access To Film and Storyboards , Zoom 1 to 1 with Filmmakers and Behind The Scenes Materials).