Carol Morley

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Carol Morley
Carol Morley at the 58th BFI London Film Festival Awards.jpg
Morley at the 58th BFI London Film Festival Awards in October 2014
Carol Anne Morley

(1966-01-14) 14 January 1966 (age 57)
Occupation(s)Director, producer, screenwriter
Years active1993–present

Carol Anne Morley (born 14 January 1966)[1] is an English film director, screenwriter and producer. She is best known for her semi-documentary Dreams of a Life, released in 2011, about Joyce Carol Vincent, who died in her North London bedsit in 2003, but was not discovered until 2006.[2]

Her older brother is the music journalist, critic and producer Paul Morley.

Early life[edit]

Born in Stockport, Manchester, Morley left school at the age of sixteen to be a singer in various bands.[3] When she was thirteen she was in a band called The Playground, and later she was a part of a band called TOT.

Morley's father took his own life when she was eleven and at the age of twelve she started drinking alcohol. After a traumatic experience due to alcohol Morley stopped drinking until she was sixteen. In 1982, the same year Morley left school, the nightclub The Haçienda opened in Manchester. Morley spent a lot of time at the Haçienda until she was 21 and left Manchester.

Somewhere in between 1986 and 1987 Morley left Stockport and Manchester to live in London. She decided to attend Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design where she studied Fine Art Film.[4] Morley graduated from Central Saint Martins in 1993 with an honours degree in fine art film and video.[5] She did not return to Manchester for twelve years and when she did it was to make her documentary The Alcohol Years.[4]


Morley has written and directed a total of 12 films from 1993 to 2011, ranging in length from 3 minutes to 93 minutes. Morley made two degree films at Central Saint Martins, one of which is called Girl. Shot with 16mm film, this short film uses cross-cutting and devices of the genre melodrama to create a feeling of conflict and crisis.[6] The other degree film was Secondhand Daylight which was set in a fast food restaurant, and in which a group of young people talked about their problems. It too was shot on 16 mm film.[7]

I’m Not Here was inspired by the letter Sir Alec Guinness wrote to The Times in which he complained about how little attention customers got in shops. The film concerns boredom and shop assistants.[8] In the short film The Week Elvis Died (15 mins), written and directed by Morley, we see 11-year-old Karen (played by Jennifer Williams) meet Tony Blackburn, played by Blackburn himself. Also shot on 16mm film.[9]

During her years at Saint Martins her real debut film, The Alcohol Years, began taking shape. It is a documentary based on her years as a troubled youth (age 16-21) during the early eighties in Manchester, in which she spent a lot of her time in the Hacienda.[3] Five years of her life were lost due to heavy drinking and in the documentary Morley seeks to find out what really happened during this time.[10][4] It is directed and filmed by Morley and produced by Cairo Cannon, who produces Morley’s films. Together they own the company CAMP, Cannon and Morley Productions.[11]

Everyday Something is a short film (14 mins) from 2001 shot on 35mm. It is based on Morley's collection of newspaper cuttings and explores the unusual happenings in ordinary people's lives.[12][13] In Return Trip (24 mins) Morley tracks down an old friend, Catherine Corcoran, and together they revisit India where they once travelled as teenagers.[14] Stalin My Neighbour (15 mins) deals with Morley's obsession about missing people. The main character Annie is obsessed with local history but trying to forget her past.[15] It was included on the same DVD as The Alcohol Years.[4]

The Fear of Trilogy (3 mins) was filmed with a mobile phone and was shot and edited in one day.[16] Her short film called The Madness of the Dance (18 mins) was finished in 2006. It looks into mass manias and individual obsessions like the "biting mania" and obsessive compulsive disorders like trichotillomania.[17][18]

Morley’s first fictional film Edge was released in 2010 and tells the story of six guests trapped at the Cliff Edge Hotel during winter.[3][19]

In 2006 the remains of 38-year-old Joyce Carol Vincent were found in her apartment, three years after her death. This inspired Morley to make the docu-drama Dreams of a Life, where actress Zawe Ashton portrays Joyce Vincent.[20]

She was a guest at the 4th annual Screen Stockport Film Festival, answering questions on her new film The Falling.[21] Morley's young-adult novel 7 Miles Out was published in 2015.

In May 2017 it was announced that Morley would be directing Patricia Clarkson in Out of Blue, an adaptation of Martin Amis' Night Train. Shooting began in October in New Orleans, Louisiana.[22] The film was released in 2018.

In 2021, filming began on Typist Artist Pirate King, a film written and directed by Morley based on the life of artist Audrey Amiss. The screenplay was written following Carol's extensive research on the Audrey Amiss archive at Wellcome Collection.[23] The film features Monica Dolan, Kelly MacDonald, and Gina McKee, and is produced with long-time collaborator, Cairo Cannon, alongside Jane Campion, Anne Sheehan, Reno Antoniades and Ameenah Ayub Allen. [24]



  • Girl (short) (1993) – Graduation Film
  • Secondhand Daylight (short) (1993) – Graduation Film
  • I'm Not Here (short) (1994)
  • The Week Elvis Died (short) (1997)
  • The Alcohol Years (2000)
  • Everyday Something (short) (2001)
  • Return Trip (short) (2001)
  • Stalin My Neighbour (short) (2004)
  • The Fear of Trilogy (short) (2006)
  • The Madness of the Dance (short) (2006)
  • Edge (2010)
  • Dreams of a Life (2011)
  • The Falling (2014)
  • Out of Blue (2018)
  • Typist Artist Pirate King (Filming began 2021)


  • Forgotten Pilots (1999)


  • True Blue Camper (1996)

Awards and nominations[edit]

I'm Not Here[edit]

  • Winner of Gold Plaque Chicago International Film Festival

The Alcohol Years[edit]

  • BAFTA nominated in the category Best New Director
  • Winner of Best Short Documentary, Melbourne International Film Festival
  • Winner of Special Grierson Award


  • Selected for the London Film Festival in 2010
  • Selected for the Shanghai International Film Festival in 2011

Dreams of a Life[edit]

  • Nominated in the category Best Documentary, Grierson Award, London Film Festival
  • Nominated in the category Best Documentary, London Critics Circle
  • Nominated in the category Best Documentary, London Evening Standard Film Awards

The Falling[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • "Woman's body in bedsit for years". BBC News. London: BBC. 14 April 2006. Retrieved 21 April 2015.
  • Morley, Carol (9 October 2011). "Joyce Carol Vincent: how could this young woman lie dead and undiscovered for almost three years?". The Guardian. Retrieved 21 April 2015.
  • Morley, Carol (20 November 2016). "The amazing undiscovered life of Audrey the artist". The Guardian. Retrieved 28 January 2022.


  1. ^ "England & Wales Births 1837–2006". 2015. Retrieved 21 April 2015.
  2. ^ "Dreams of a Life". CAMP Films. 19 May 2013. Retrieved 21 April 2015.
  3. ^ a b c "Profile: Carol Morley". The List. 9 December 2011. Retrieved 21 April 2015.
  4. ^ a b c d "Carol Morley Interview". Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 21 April 2015.
  5. ^ "Carol Morley". Archived from the original on 23 September 2015. Retrieved 21 April 2015.
  6. ^ "Girl". CAMP Films. 27 May 2013. Retrieved 21 April 2015.
  7. ^ "Secondhand Daylight". CAMP Films. 27 May 2013. Retrieved 21 April 2015.
  8. ^ "I'm Not Here". CAMP Films. 27 May 2013. Retrieved 21 April 2015.
  9. ^ "The Week Elvis Died". CAMP Films. 27 May 2013. Retrieved 21 April 2015.
  10. ^ "The Alcohol Years". CAMP Films. 19 May 2013. Retrieved 21 April 2015.
  11. ^ "About CAMP". CAMP Films. 14 May 2013. Retrieved 21 April 2015.
  12. ^ "FLAMIN – Everyday Something". Retrieved 21 April 2015.
  13. ^ "Everyday Something". CAMP Films. 27 May 2013. Retrieved 21 April 2015.
  14. ^ "Return Trip". CAMP Films. 27 May 2013. Retrieved 21 April 2015.
  15. ^ "Stalin My Neighbour". CAMP Films. 27 May 2013. Retrieved 21 April 2015.
  16. ^ "The Fear of Trilogy". CAMP Films. 27 May 2013. Retrieved 21 April 2015.
  17. ^ "FLAMIN – The Madness of the Dance". Retrieved 21 April 2015.
  18. ^ "The Madness of the Dance". CAMP Films. 27 May 2013. Retrieved 21 April 2015.
  19. ^ "Edge Movie Official Page". Archived from the original on 18 December 2014. Retrieved 21 April 2015.
  20. ^ French, Philip (18 December 2011). "Dreams of a Life". The Guardian. Retrieved 21 April 2015.
  21. ^ "Screen Stockport Film Festival". Retrieved 21 April 2015.
  22. ^ "Carol Morley to shoot Martin Amis thriller in US with Patricia Clarkson".
  23. ^ "The amazing undiscovered life of Audrey the artist". the Guardian. 20 November 2016. Retrieved 28 January 2022.
  24. ^ "'Typist Artist Pirate King': Monica Dolan, Kelly Macdonald & Gina McKee Set For Carol Morley Road Movie; Jane Campion Among Exec Producers — AFM". Metro International Entertainment. 4 November 2021. Retrieved 28 January 2022.

External links[edit]