EXCLUSIVE: Kickstarter fundraising paves the way for theatrical release after Revolver’s shuttering.

Following the collapse of its distributor in March, Bristol-set indie comedy 8 Minutes Idle has now secured a 2014 Valentine’s Day release in the UK thanks to fundraising on Kickstarter.

The film, a dark romantic comedy based on a novel by Matt Thorne (who also co-wrote the screenplay with Nicholas Blincoe), was initially set to be distributed by Revolver, but the company’s collapse in March shortly before the planned release date left the project’s theatrical release plans in limbo.

The producers decided to launch a Kickstarter campaign to raise £20,000 with a promise of matched funding from Creative England, in order to fund the P&A costs for a theatrical release (the film will get a TV airing via its BBC Films deal).

Two weeks and six days into the campaign, 277 national and international donations meant that they surpassed their target by £1,000, and 8 Minutes Idle will now screen in key cities across the UK from February 14. Backers on Kickstarter include Peter Lord of Aardman, actor Stephen Merchant, musician Peter Hook, comedian Dom Joly and authors Jenny Colgan, Liz Jensen, Sarah Waters and Lisa Jewell.

Shear Entertainment (run by former Revolver Head of theatrical distribution David Shear) and Deborah Rowland’s We Are the Tonic will manage the marketing and distribution on behalf of producers ArthurCox.

Speaking to ScreenDaily today, the filmmakers expressed relief that the Kickstarter campaign had yielded such a positive result.

Sarah Cox, who produces the film for ArthurCox, said: “Now we have a release date in a weird way it feels like closure - although in many ways its a beginning. We chose Kickstarter to raise the funds because we felt that it would give us a gauge of how successful the project could be - if we didn’t raise the funds then maybe there wasn’t a demand for the film. The fact that we have raised more than the total before the deadline gives us the courage to continue.”

Director Mark Simon Hewis said: “This has been a really humbling experience. You can either be really disappointed that film funding is becoming more complicated, or you can see it as a real benefit.

“This process forces you to think about who it’s for, and why it’s worth you fighting to convince people that they should help you get it seen. It’s great.”

Writer Matt Thorne added: “I’m absolutely delighted. It’s something I’ve been hoping for and looking forward to for some time, so I’m really relieved and really pleased that people will finally get to see the film. Who knows, maybe if we’d had a more conventional release we wouldn’t have been able to build up an audience.”

Chris Moll, Head of Film at Creative England said: “The landscape for lower-budget films out there is very hard at the moment. My view is you make films for an audience, so in some way you have to get them out there. This film is great because despite the delay it’s still relevant; it captures people at a certain point in time of their lives.”

8 Minutes Idle was made during the first round of iFeatures, the low-budget filmmaking scheme from Creative England that produced three feature films in Bristol from 550 entries. iFeatures is now in its third year and UK wide.

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