FORGET Bridget Jones’ Baby. Ignore The Girl on the Train. The film to catch is Hell’s Bells, a tale about the dark side of Morris dancing by young Newton Abbot-based director Luke Jeffery.
His offbeat film - described as a psychological thriller – premieres at the Exeter Phoenix on December 2 as part of the venue’s Two Short Nights film festival.
It has the distinct advantage of being refreshingly short at just 14 minutes – and homespun, with all the action shot in Devon this summer.
Among the backdrops recognised by sharp-eyed observers will be The Tally Ho community pub in Littlehempston, Poltimore House, The Boat Shed and Hearn Field in Combeinteignhead where the crew shot a village fete scene.
Red Rock Brewery in Bishopsteignton sponsored the venture and created a custom Hell’s Bells beer for the cinematic occasion.
The film tells the story of a young woman who has been brainwashed by a secret society of Morris dancers.
The enterprise caught the imagination of film buffs and Morris dancers alike who backed the project via a Crowdfunder campaign which allowed the film-making company Wandering Tiger to pursue the venture.
In keeping with its spooky overtones, the film will enjoy a trailer release on Halloween via Wandering Tiger’s website and social media.
Hell’s Bells was made with the support of Creative England through the British Film Institute’s NET.WORK.
The Dartington Morris Men are featured in the film, providing costumes, props and playing traditional music for the soundtrack.
The film also features a dance routine with Josh Fedrick, a former West End Billy Elliot, who plays the part of a Morris dancer.
Writer and director Luke Jeffery said: ‘I would like to thank all the people who have supported us in bringing Hell’s Bells to the screen.’
He added; ‘I also want to clarify that the story is entirely fictional. I’ve spent a lot of time with the Dartington Morris Men, and they’re all very nice, ordinary, respectable people. Nothing suspicious to report!’
Hell’s Bells is being submitted to film festivals across the country, including Aesthetica, Raindance, London Short Film Festival and Encounters.
Tickets for the ‘Local Talent’ screening of Hell’s Bells tomorrow, from 4pm to 5.30pm, are available from www.exeterphoenix.org.uk