‘Tormented’ to see wide release

Slingshot film to open in the U.K. on May 21

British producer Arvind Ethan David’s digital studio Slingshot is making a little go a long way.

Slingshot’s teen horror pic “Tormented” will become the first British feature with a budget under £1 million ($1.5 million) to get a wide studio release. It will open in the U.K. on May 21 on 250 screens through the new Pathe-Warner Bros. distribution partnership inked in March.

Pic was co-produced by Tracy Brimm and Kaye Myers of Forward Films and is backed by BBC Films and Screen West Midlands, which co-financed Slingshot’s slate. Firsttime helmer Jon Wright is directing from a script by Stephen Prentice. Three members of cult Brit teen TV skein “Skins,” including April Pearson, appear in the cast.

“The challenge with low-budget filmmaking is how do you cast it without compromise. Even though they’re getting paid Equity minimum, these actors from ‘Skins’ have hundreds of thousands of friends on Facebook alone,” said David. “They have a real following from their audience.”

David’s prowess with digital marketing is helping the pic track as highly as a studio offering. Its online campaign, jointly conceived with Pathe execs, led more than 100,000 people to sign up at the pic’s website and Facebook page before a traditional ad campaign had even begun.

“Tormented” is only the first of Slingshot’s slate, which focuses entirely on teen pics. Slingshot is already working with Wright and Prentice on a “Tormented” followup. “Come to Daddy” will follow a teenage girl who discovers her parents were Satanists in their youth and that her real father is, in fact, the devil.

Slingshot is also developing a number of teen comedies and thrillers, which will be piped through its four-picture output deal with Pathe-Warner Bros.

“Usually with British teen high school films they’re either set in posh schools or in really grimy, inner-city schools. But that is not a recognizable experience to most people,” said David. “We want to create settings which are fun and sexy.”