Journalist turned film-maker Howard Webster has come up with an innovative way to fund his first feature, a British musical comedy called Meet PursuitDelange which began life as a column in Broadcast magazine.

Webster is inviting advertising companies to integrate their campaigns into the film, which he is billing as a “male Bridget Jones”, in return for a part investment in the finished feature. 

There are up to 11 slots available for advertisers to fill, including the title and end sequences and during the song and dance numbers which form natural ad/viral breaks.

Advertisers will have the chance to recoup the money it has spent on buying the slots, as well as sharing in the film’s profits.

Webster has already shot a 25 min pilot for Meet Pursuit Delange, which he screened to film and advertising execs at the Empire Leicester Square in London yesterday. Based on his own experiences of the London media set, it stars James Callis, alongside ex EastEnders star Craig Fairbrass.

Since the screening, he has already had an offer of a distribution deal for the 25 minute short promo alone. Cinema advertising company Pearl and Dean are onboard to put together the deals with the advertising agencies and brands.  

“Think of the Cadbury’s Gorilla, the Drench Hamsters, the Evian Babies or the Shake and Vac ad appearing as bespoke song and dance numbers within a Four Weddings and Funeral type movie and you’ve got what we’re doing,” said Webster.

He added: “”The film business in the UK has become too reliant on public subsidies for too long. It needs to evolve and become relevant as a commercialised activity. We’ve introduced one new business model working with advertising agencies and media agencies that actually puts the needs of the investor (in this case the brand) first.  We have two more models to bring on stream later in the year.  It is about making money and making sense commercially from the start.”