MORRIS: A LIFE WITH BELLS ON – FROM RURAL VILLAGE HALLS TO SUCCESS IN THE DVD CHARTS
THE LOW-BUDGET BRITISH FILM, MADE AND RELEASED THEATRICALLY WITHOUT UK FILM COUNCIL SUPPORT OR CONVENTIONAL DISTRIBUTION WENT STRAIGHT INTO THE TOP 50 OF THE DVD CHART ON ITS FIRST DAY OF RELEASE – REACHING NO. 47 IN THE UK CHARTS WITH DAY 1 SALES OF 1,731 (DUS)
MORRIS: A LIFE WITH BELLS ON is a home-grown independent British feature film made by director Lucy Akhurst (star of cult-TV series Spaced) and writer/producer Charles Thomas Oldham of Twist Films and starring a host of British acting talent including Sir Derek Jacobi, Ian Hart, Greg Wise, Naomie Harris, Sophie Thompson, Harriet Walter and the filmmakers themselves.
After distributors initially turned the film down the filmmakers struck a deal with Moviola, the mobile multiplex service of rural South-West England, to play the film at village halls and other rural venues. As word of mouth spread, the public demand to see the film grew and led to the Picturehouse cinema chain booking the film and giving it the opportunity to reach a wider audience. After a successful theatrical run took £134,000 at the Box Office it was then picked up by Safecracker Pictures who gave it a DVD release on Monday 26th July.
The DVD went straight into the Top 50 on its first day of release – reaching number 47 in the UK Charts with day 1 sales of 1,731 (DUS) to which Nigel Horne, Managing Director at Safecracker Pictures has said: "What a fantastic result, proving that there really is an appetite for British Independent Films in the UK. We at Safecracker Pictures are passionate about British film, and strongly believe in championing British producers who create world class movies. We are delighted for Twist Films; with 'Morris: A Life With Bells On' they have produced an exceptional feature that holds its own against any Hollywood blockbuster."
The film’s director Lucy Akhurst says: “Morris's phenomenal success in cinemas and now on DVD is down to the ordinary people who heard about it, liked the idea, lobbied for it and shouted so loudly that they couldn't be ignored. It proves that there is a market for more than the usual, tired, formulaic old stuff that studios churn out. It is time for a new model, one that respects the audience instead of patronising them. I am thrilled and honoured that people love the film so much."
MORRIS: A LIFE WITH BELLS ON IS OUT ON DVD NOW FROM SAFECRACKER PICTURES (Cert. 12, RRP £15.99)
Morris: A Life With Bells On follows the fortunes of an avant garde folk dancer, Derecq Twist (Charles Thomas Oldham) and his team in their struggle to modernise folk dance. In doing so, they antagonise The Morris Circle (the political and sinister governing body of Morris dance in England). They are followed by a film crew who chronicle their highs and lows. After tragedy strikes the team, both in dance and personally, Derecq decides to give up dancing. The producer of the documentary has come to see Derecq as a friend and cannot leave his story on such a low note, he decides to intervene and change Derecq's life. From the gentle rolling hills and slow paced life in the West Country of England, Derecq is plunged into the glamour and buzz of California where he finds artistic freedom with a group of flamboyant Morris dancers sponsored by a billionaire philanthropist. For the first time in his life, Derecq discovers love. However, life is rarely as simple as the movies, and as Derecq discovers, you can search for answers all around the world, only to find them on your own doorstep. From England to America, through tragedy to love, Morris is a celebration of rural England, eccentricity and the triumph of individuality.