The Road To Guantanamo gains followers
by Annika Pham
Michael Winterbottom and Mat Whitecross, who shared the Silver Bear for Best Director in Berlin for their controversial docudrama The Road to Guantanamo [+see also:
film profile], will be promoting the film in over a dozen territories after its historical UK March release across all platforms.
The film about the Tipton Three, the three British Muslims who were held at the US military base of Guantanamo for two years without being charged or tried, was sold by The Works, most notably to CTV (France), Fandango (Italy), Falcon Media (German speaking territories), Prooptiki (Greece), Alta Film (Spain), Budapest Film (Hungary) and Pi Film (Turkey), with deals pending for Scandinavia and Benelux.
Produced by Winterbottom’s Revolution Films partner Andrew Eaton, along with Melissa Parmenter, the film was made for less than £1.5m for UK broadcaster Channel 4, which will air it on March 9. The following day, The Road to Guantanamo will be released in 30 UK cinemas (using the UK Film Council’s Digital Network), online and on DVD. “With a film like this, which is starting with what would traditionally be the last outlet, a television broadcast, we thought it would be better to go with everything at once”, said Eaton in Berlin.
Winterbottom’s previous Golden Bear winner at the 2003 Berlin Film Festival, In This World, had a smaller theatrical release in the UK than in foreign territories because, according to the director, it was partly filmed in a foreign language and “the UK is more resistant to films that are in a foreign language”. In the case of The Road to Guantanamo, part of the appeal of working with Channel 4 for Winterbottom was that it would go to Berlin and would be shown abroad in cinemas. “Because it’s about Guantanamo and about what’s happening now, the sooner the widest possible audience sees it, the better”, he said. “And I think probably there’s a bigger audience for this type of story on TV than there is at the cinema in Britain”, he added.
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