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 Algeria. The journey failed, and she was stranded in Morocco 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.
In 2019, through FatOedo Productions, Alex released “The Solution” a half hour short film/television comedy pilot that he wrote, co- directed, produced and acted in that was nominated by the prestigious Edinburgh TV Festival's New Voice Awards for Best Pilot Award in 2019. It was also nominated by the Pilot Light TV Festival in 2020 for Best Pilot. It has additionally been selected and recognised at several international TV and Web Festivals ranging from Asia to South America. It will next be screened on the festival circuit at the New Jersey Web Festival later in 2021. The Solution was also successfully screened online on the biggest UK based Youth Media Channel, Million Youth Media. The poster and trailer for The Solution can be seen below. Aside from writing and directing The Ballad Of Olive Morris, Alex currently also has television projects in development at Chalkboard Television Productions, who produce scripted and non-scripted content for Channel 4, BBC One & Channel 5 (https://chalkboardtv.com/)
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).