Crowd-funding Kickstarts U.K. Release 'Time'

Sales company High Point takes international rights

LONDON — Parkville Pictures’ “Borrowed Time” has become the first U.K. film to use crowd-funding to secure a theatrical release.

The filmmakers behind the micro-budget film turned to crowd-funding site Kickstarter to raise a budget that will allow them to self-distribute, and increase their film’s value in other rights areas. The gamble paid off and now sales company High Point Media Group have taken on all sales rights, excluding U.K. theatrical.

Funded through Film London and BBC Films’ Microwave scheme, the £120,000 ($180,000) film was shot in 18 days in 2011 on location in East London. The film was selected for the Edinburgh Film Festival and the London U.K. Film Focus in June 2012, the four-day export event that brings 120 buyers from international territories to view new British pics. High Point first saw the film at the event.

Many micro-budget films are made in the U.K. each year — in 2011 124 of the 274 U.K. productions and co-productions made were budgeted below $750,000 — but the majority fail to find U.K. theatrical distribution. With this in mind, the filmmakers decided to take the initiative, and increase their appeal to sales companies by distributing themselves.

Producer Olivier Kaempfer of Parkville discussed the idea with High Point’s Carey Fitzgerald, who agreed it could boost the pic’s value in the international market. “Having a U.K. theatrical release increases the value of the film’s television and additional rights,” Fitzgerald told Variety. “It serves as an ad campaign for the other rights.” She also says it helps to get better scheduling positions on pay TV channels.

With High Point interested, Kaempfer turned to Kickstarter to secure his distribution budget of $30,000, and raised $32,700 from 360 backers to cover p&a, hiring a cinema booker and PR.

The pic is helmed by Jules Bishop and stars Phil Davis and Theo Barklem-Biggs.

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