Vertigo may be best known for its lad-friendly hit productions by Nick Love, including The Football Factory, The Business and Outlaw, but that is only one part of the story.
The financing, production and distribution company, founded in 2002 by producers Allan Niblo and James Richardson, distribution veteran Rupert Preston (formerly of Metrodome) and Love - has had successful theatrical releases for period drama A Good Woman starring Scarlett Johansson, space documentary In The Shadow Of The Moon, horror film Shrooms and Joe Strummer: The Future Is Unwritten.
After releasing only three to five theatrical projects per year so far, Vertigo is releasing 12 in 2008. 'Our productions are commercial multiplex films, some are genre,' says Preston. 'For acquisitions, we're working on much more reviews-driven indie films. So there are two different kinds of films.'
Current productions include Tom Shankland's WAZ follow-up The Day, just wrapped on a budget of under $4m in the West Midlands, and Nicolas Winding Refn's prison story Bronson, also shooting now for less than $4m.
Theatrical releases this year include Vertigo-backed films Vito Rocco's comedy Faintheart (made with MySpace, Film4, Ukfc and Screen WM); Simon Ellis' charmingly titled feature debut Dogging: A Love Story; and Kenny Glenaan's Summer, starring Robert Carlyle. Third-party acquisitions to be released in 2008 include The Escapist by Rupert Wyatt starring Brian Cox, a hit at Sundance; Jeff Nichols' Shotgun Stories; and Alex Holdridge's In Search Of A Midnight Kiss.
Michael Wailes, who joined Vertigo from Tartan in 2007 to head theatrical sales and acquisitions, notes that the size of releases varies greatly, from 10 prints up to 350.
The company is also one of the partners (with Film4 and Ingenious) in new sales company Protagonist, which will start to sell select Vertigo productions in Cannes (Contender recently signed up to handle Vertigo's DVD releases.) In addition to its post equipment in London, Vertigo has a post-production company based in Berlin - The Post Republic.
The company is also establishing itself as a home for film-makers to grow. Wyatt will soon follow The Escapist with New Mexico-set drama The Trail, while It's All Gone Pete Tong director Michael Dowse will work with the company again on his next film, Blue Movie. 'It's very important for us to build relationships with talent,' Preston says. 'We're also starting to develop relationships at an earlier stage with producers, not just in the UK.'
Vertigo, which has about 25 full-time employees in its north London office, is known for its innovative marketing - including online campaigns, guerrilla initiatives and music-friendly promotions. Vertigo's veteran head of marketing and publicity Wahida Begum and MySpace UK's James Fabricant developed the idea for the MyMovieMashUp contest (which launched Faintheart) after MySpace worked with Vertigo on promoting Dirty Sanchez: The Movie.
And, of course, the company is not forgetting its golden child, Nick Love. Depending on the potential US actors' strike, Love's contemporary version of classic TV detective series The Sweeney - Vertigo's largest production to date - could shoot later this year.
Ramping up so significantly in 2008 does not have Preston worried. 'People always say it's a tough market, but if you've got films that have a voice and can find an audience, they will work.'