Two star-driven UK films on display
by Annika Pham
UK film Driving Lessons by first-time filmmaker Jeremy Brock and the UK/Canadian film Snow Cake [+see also:
film profile]are taking their chances on UK screens today, launched on a similar print run (approximately 30) by Tartan Films Tartan Films and Momentum Pictures, respectively.
For his first feature film, established UK scriptwriter Brock (Mrs Brown, The Last King of Scotland), the son of a vicar, drew from his personal life to write the coming-of-age story of 17 year-old Ben (Rupert Grint), who lives with his overbearing mother (Laura Linney) and quiet vicar father. The youngster spends his summer attending Bible classes and having driving lessons with his mother, but his world is turned upside down when he meets eccentric retired actress Evie (Julie Walters).
According to Jules Hartung of Tartan’s marketing department, having stars Rupert Grint and Julie Walters from the Harry Potter series really helped market the film. “Both were our main selling points. We spent the majority of our budget on publicity, and the coverage of the film was very good because both actors are still busy shooting the new Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix in the UK”.
The film – produced by Julia Chasman (Rubber Tree Plant) and executive produced by Robert Jones, Edward R. Pressman, Alessandro Camon and Alexandra Ferguson – had its UK premiere in Edinburgh in August and a London premiere last Monday. The US release through Sony is scheduled for October 13.
Launched at the Berlinale last February in the official competition programme, Snow Cake was also built around the popularity of the film’s main actors, Sigourney Weaver and Alan Rickman, to attract much publicity. Marketing of the film included a big outdoor and underground campaign. The film by the director of My Little Eye was produced in the UK by Revolution Films in co-production with Canada’s Rhombus Media and sold by Fortissimo Film Sales.
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