Travel is not always about physically going somewhere, sometimes travel is about being transported to another place in your mind. It’s a spiritual and emotional form of movement that takes you to a different world, where you forget your troubles and can believe in the magic again.
It may be from reading a book or watching a movie, even from hearing a good story being told. In this way, Iris Warriors takes you on a mystical journey. A story so fantastical it can’t be true, yet the characters with their virtues and vices speak to each of us and remind us about our personal battle to fight the shadows and embrace the light.
Visit http://iriswarriors.com/ to learn more. This post has been updated from original June 2016 introduction.
Iris Warriors is many things – a film, a ballet, a brand, but above and beyond all, it’s a myth that will become a legend. When Light woos Darkness, colour is born as Darkness gives birth to the dazzling Iris Warriors, the seven colours of the rainbow that brighten and illuminate our world. But when they leave her, she vows revenge, threatening to plunge the world back into the everlasting night. Can the Iris Warriors set aside their petty squabbles and unite, or will Darkness destroy them all? Which will win, their virtue or sin.
Iris Warriors starts its journey as a classic fable. A succinct fictional story, with prose and verse, that features animals, mythical creatures, plants, inanimate objects and forces of nature, which are anthropomorphised and lead to the primary moral lesson. Life is about balance, too much of one thing, one force or one substance always leads to destruction. The Iris Warrior fable is one that aims to be told over and over again without boundaries or borders set by class, culture and religion. Simple enough to tell as a campfire story; complex enough to appeal to a very wide audience. In time the myth would become a legend.
There are two integral parts to Iris Warriors. First and foremost there is the ballet, the myth of the Iris Warriors, born from the union and conflict of Darkness and Light, bringing light and life to our world. But framing this, making it more accessible and opening the story up to a wider audience, is another fable, set in an almost mythical place – a small orphanage during World War II.
As the children huddle in the cellar, bombs crashing down above them, their teacher, Miss Shaw, tells them the story of the Iris Warriors. As they react to the unfolding tale – laughing, crying, hoping, fearing – their reactions draw in the audience, helping us to become involved in both stories, breathlessly awaiting the explosive finale.
There are two sets of characters, two stories. Individually, they have their merits. Together, they are stronger, more powerful, more engaging. Together they are the Iris Warriors who introduce us to three overriding themes – Hope, Unity and Balance.
Hope: There are many occasions when darkness and despair seem to overwhelm us. The Iris Warriors face this challenge when Darkness rises up against them and threatens to extinguish them from the world, plunging them into the inky void for all eternity. But as long as one Warrior remains, as long as one Warrior has hope, the others can eventually be saved, and Darkness can be defeated.
Unity: Like all of us, each of the Warriors has its strengths and its weaknesses, its virtues and their sins. Alone, they are frail, ephemeral, prone to distraction and defeat. It is only when they come together and unleash their combined power – the power of the rainbow – that they are able to defeat Darkness.
Balance: Too much of anything can be bad, whether it is the peaceful darkness of night or the dazzling beauty of light. When the Iris Warriors defeat Darkness they restore balance to their world. Their sacrifice leads to the birth of the sun, so now the days are filled with warm rays of sunshine, while Darkness still rules the cold reaches of the night.
A Brand New Genre for Film and Dance
Forget everything you thought you knew about dance films. Roydon Turner’s breakout movie, Iris Warriors, boldly goes where no other feature-length film has dared to go before: bringing the classical beauty and tradition of live ballet to vivid life on screen. Juxtaposing a magical world of dancing colours, a parallel story plays out in our world: set in the 1940s, it tracks a group of London orphans and their teacher (played by Jessica Brown Findlay of Downton Abbey acclaim) who have been trapped in a basement after their orphanage has been bombed during the Blitz.
With breath-taking choreography, an original score and sensational cinematography too, the cast of dancers (from some of Africa’s leading ballet troupes) are afforded the space and expansive plot needed to really bring their true colours and characters to life. Not only the genre, but the film’s message is an inspiring and timely one: that hope always outlasts despair, just as darkness always gives way to the light.
A family-friendly film, prepare for a visual and musical spectacle that’s sure to light up your screen and foster a fresh love of classical ballet for all ages. While countless musicals have successfully sashayed their way from theatre onto our screens, how many ballets have done the same? This was the question that first got Turner thinking about a whole new genre of film: ballet drama. It is one in which the magic of live ballet performance intersects with the drama and rich story range of film.
About Roydon Turner
South African born, Roydon Turner is the London based film director, writer and producer of Iris Warriors. Roydon is an award-winning film director having won the London Independent Film Festival with his debut feature film “Stones”. Roydon also wrote, directed and produced “Heart of Hope” during Covid 19 lockdown, a film about a young girl waiting for a heart. Roydon’s passion is about bringing the difficult subject matter to the fore in an entertaining, uplifting way. He is also a trustee for the charity Live Life Give Life and runs a non-profit programme “The Orgamites” in partnership with the Onassis Foundation and Canadian Blood Services. Iris Warriors is his third film.
Where to Watch Iris Warriors
With the global COVID pandemic having dealt a real blow to theatres and live performers everywhere, perhaps this innovative new genre is a silver lining for many dancers who might still be able to share their performance art, only now for a much larger audience than could ever fit into (or afford) the theatre. Iris Warriors is available across the USA and Canada on Cable and VOD from the 4th January 2022 and Worldwide from 2 April 2022, to buy or rent for as little as £4.99.
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Filmed in Cape Town with Red Petal Productions and local cast and crew. What a pleasure to be working on this exciting and unique project with such an inspiring team.