The future of a feature film by an acclaimed Birmingham-bred director is dangling by a thread after the credit crisis forced its US backer to pull out.
Ben Fellows, whose talents have been supported by film legends Stanley Kubrick and Mike Leigh, is desperately searching for an investment angel to fund the final stages of his film The Greenwich Village Massacre.
He said: “We’re so close to completion. We only need to complete sound design and prepare it for screening and festivals.
“Because of the credit crunch we’re stuck and it’s heartbreaking. But we are determined to finish the film. I’m just signing with a Hollywood agent and they want to see it so they can start selling it.
“I’ve had two offers from distributors but obviously if I can’t finish it then I can’t give it to them. We’re really in a conundrum about what to do next.”
Although the film has been shot and edited it still needs a further £57,000 to complete the sound design, grading and mastering and to enable its makers to take it round the film festivals.
Distributors Lionsgate intend to do a small cinema release as well as a DVD release when the film is complete.
Mr Fellows said he was “pretty gutted” about losing the funding, but was determined to stay upbeat about the prospects of finding another backer.
“I’m sure there is someone out there who wants to take a punt on us. If we can’t that’s the end of the film.
“It will have to sit on the shelf and the longer it sits there the less likely it is that somebody will come along in the future and say yes, I’ll finish it for you.”
The Greenwich Village Massacre is based on a true story of a series of murders that occurred in 2001 and stars Tony Mortimer, the founding member of 1990s band East 17.
Mr Fellows met the US backer, who he did not want to name, during the release of his first film in New York, a feature documentary called I Was Jonathan Pitt dealing with his search for his birth mother who put him up for adoption.
The backer, who had an interest in supporting new filmmakers and had helped with Guillermo del Toro’s first film, offered to invest in Mr Fellows’ next film which was shot this summer.
But in September Mr Fellows received a call from the investor saying he was going to have to pull out owing to the financial crisis.
“Most of the film business is based on loans,” said Mr Fellows. “When someone wants to buy a film they get a loan and buy it. The whole business is based on borrowing so if it collapses no films can go into production.”
Mr Fellows described the kind of person who might come forward as an angel.
“It’s somebody who wants to take a punt, who likes films and who would like to see their name on a credit as executive producer and who would like to rent their own film.
“It’s not just about handing over a cheque, they are also involved in the process of making the film. It’s an exciting journey.
“But if we don’t get an angel, by hook or by crook we’ll get it done somehow.”
Mr Fellows grew up with his adopted parents in Birmingham, becoming a child actor and a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company at the age of 11.
He appeared in numerous TV and theatre shows including Starlight Express, EastEnders, Model Millie and The Bill while attending the Sylvia Young Theatre School. He also performed at The Birmingham Rep, Alex and Hippodrome on many occasions.
He moved into filmmaking in his late teens and was mentored by the late Stanley Kubrick and more recently Mike Leigh as well as winning a Channel 4 scholarship to attend film school.