24 Aug 2021
A Derby-born filmmaker who has starred in Peaky Blinders is making a feature-length documentary about a historic marching band community in the East Midlands.
David Chabeaux, from Spondon, will direct Moz’s Band, which tells the story of the “banding” movement born in Derby during the mid-1930s that involved 10,000 people and 100 bands at its height.
The community was pioneered and inspired by David’s grandfather Maurice “Moz” Ward and, for six decades, would converge every spring and summer at a carnival or festival somewhere in England to compete in band contests – all while kitted out in weird, wonderful and garish uniforms.
Described as being like “one enormous family”, they would also gather throughout the year at discos, sports tournaments and social events, before slowly dying out after Moz passed away in 1994.
There are hopes the film, which is being produced by a consortium of individuals, foundations and businesses in the region, will be screened at international film festivals to showcase a strong part of East Midlands heritage to the rest of the world.
David is now seeking further funding from firms based in the region to take it to the next stage of production.
The 45-year-old said: “Moz is my grandfather so I literally grew up around this extraordinary man and musical community.
“For nearly 40 years, while working as a welder for British Rail in Derby, he spent his nights and weekends inspiring this thousands strong marching band movement – also leading his own band The Derby Serenaders to three European and 23 UK marching band titles in 27 years and an appearance to 19 million viewers on the BBC’s Generation Game.
“I’ve been attracted to the idea of this project for a long time because the subject matter has never left me.
“We all want to belong, to have purpose in our lives, and in this hyper-materialistic world, the more we discover that trying to fill the void inside us with ’stuff’ doesn’t work, the more there’s a tendency to search for authentic ways to find belonging and purpose without it.
“My grandfather’s story is obviously very important to me and I’m interested in the journey he took – as a musician, leader and a working-class man – inspiring me and so many others, with the promise of money and ‘stuff' nowhere in sight.
“The film is an exploration of what it really means to belong, and what that might mean in today’s world.”
David, who is also an actor and musician who starred in Hollyoaks and Sky Atlantic show Bulletproof, recently wrapped up filming for series six of Peaky Blinders, where he stars in two episodes.
In Moz’s Band, he aims to tell the historical story of Moz, his Derby Serenaders and the banding movement – while bringing the narrative into a present-day focus.
Working with modern communities, bands and schools in the East Midlands – as well as in the US and Scandinavia – the film will bring together generations and cultures around the rich philosophy of belonging that music and marching bands gave, and still give, to millions of people globally.
Marching bands continue to play a key role in global pop culture – used by some of the biggest music acts in the world, from Taylor Swift and Beyoncé to Kanye West and Björk – and more than 30 million people in the US alone have been involved in them over the past 30 years, according to David.
Band website Marching.com states there are large marching band communities today in at least 24 other countries including Canada, Japan, South America, Australia, Africa, India and Scandinavia
David has been joined in producing the upcoming film by Darren Hutchinson, a former freelance ITV and Sky director and producer, and ex-BBC commissioning executive Marc Jaffrey OBE.
Marc said: “Belonging and community are vital now more than ever and this film speaks directly to universal themes of isolation, depression, anxiety, and loss of community, while actively seeking to reignite belonging today.
“Our vision is that Moz’s Band will protect and preserve the precious East Midlands voice and heritage that is ‘banding’, yet also act as a catalyst – a spark to ignite a wider social change in the East Midlands that stretches out globally.”
The team has already raised an initial £25,000 of seed funding for Moz’s Band and pre-production is almost complete.
It is now fundraising for about £250,000 for the production, post-production and distribution of the film, which is earmarked for a full UK cinema release and submission to all the major international film festivals, perhaps as early as summer 2022.
Sponsorship and film credit packages are being offered to businesses that offer financial support.
David added: “We’re actively looking for strategic partners to come on board who, like those pledging support already, see this homegrown yet globally-reaching project as a great community engagement opportunity.”
East Midlands Chamber chief executive Scott Knowles is among those to throw his support behind the project.
He said: “We’re hugely excited about the opportunity this film offers for the region by showcasing another great element of our heritage that people may not know about.
“It’s a film made for, with and about our community, and we feel it could act as a force that galvanises our region around a common purpose.”
Other organisations that have backed the project – with support ranging from offering expertise to promoting the project – include Severn Trent Water, Alstom, Derby Quad, Derby City Council, Derbyshire County Council, the University of Derby and BBC Radio Derby, while Culture Minister Caroline Dinenage and Mid Derbyshire MP Pauline Latham OBE have also endorsed it.
Mrs Latham OBE said: “As a champion for the arts, I see both the content and the creation of this film as great examples of the region’s creativity, innovation and community spirit. I heartily endorse the project and will support it in any way I can.”
East Midlands Chamber and Marketing Derby will jointly host a breakfast networking event at Derby QUAD on Tuesday 14 September from 8am to 10am. It will involve an exclusive cinema screening of the Moz’s Band sizzle reel trailer, followed by an on-stage Q&A with David Chabeaux and Derby QUAD chief executive Adam Buss. To register a place, visit bit.ly/EMCMozsBand
To view the Moz’s Band sizzle reel trailer, visit www.mozs.band. For more information on supporting the project, contact David on 07590 850266 or email@example.com.