The director of a low-budget coming of age film has said he cold-called the box office of local cinemas to get them to show his movie after the latest James Bond film was delayed.
Guy Davies, 29, from Stroud, Gloucestershire, said while Cineworlds and Picturehouses have temporarily closed, the delay of No Time To Die until 2021 has left cinemas that remain open in need of new releases – and so he decided to try his luck with his feature debut Philophobia.
He told the PA news agency: “It happened that it just created more space for us when cinemas decided to stay open.
“It’s worked out really well, I got a little bit frustrated or tired of trying to work the distribution process, we had offers but they weren’t necessarily going to be doing all the things I wanted to do with the film, so I thought ‘Why not?’
“There is a space in the cinemas right now because studios are pulling their films out and we’ve got a film that has done well on the festival circuit, so I just thought I would have a crack.
“I started with local cinemas because I was only trying to get four or five to be honest, and then once I had a few I thought maybe I should try and expand this so I went a little bit further afield.
“Then once I got a few more I started receiving phone calls from cinema programmers saying ‘We have seen the trailer, it looks good, can we check it out?’, and it spread really quickly in matter of a few days after I got the first few.”
The film will now open in almost 50 cinemas around the UK, including in London’s Leicester Square.
He said: “I made a list of cinemas, starting with independent cinemas, that I thought would be good for the film, and scoured the internet for the contact details of the people who book the films and if I couldn’t find them I just rang the box office at the cinema and asked who to talk to.”
Davies has taken a DIY approach to everything about the movie, including securing funding.
He said: “The Stroud News And Journal have been incredibly supportive the entire way through this process.
“I got in touch with them and they wrote a little piece saying I was doing this film, someone read it and got in touch and we went to a cafe and that is how I got my first chunk of money, and then I just went from there.
“I made a list of local people that had some kind of influence or might know people that might want to invest and politely got in touch, but 90% of the money was funded locally, maybe even 95%.”
While many films have skipped the theatrical release and gone straight to streaming, Davies said he was always determined to show his debut in cinemas.
“It was important because it was my first film and it was shot for cinema, that is just what I did.
“I really had cinemas in mind from the beginning, it was always part of the goal and I feel the film plays a lot better in cinemas because I made it for there.”
Philophobia is out now in UK cinemas.