Film production can be pretty gruelling. From raising the finance, to bringing the stars on board and overseeing the smooth running of the shoot, the buck stops with the producer. Normally, it doesn't involve having to pass A levels at the same time. Yet, not much is normal about the production of Dardentor. Producers Adrian Bliss, Benjamin Robbins and Toby Stubbs are all in their teens for a start. They are currently attempting to raise £1m for their first feature film with an unorthodox financing plan.
The three school friends came up with the idea for the movie after hearing the plot of the little-known Jules Verne novel Clovis Dardentor. The book has been out of print in English for over a century and the trio had to research the manuscript in the British Library. It follows two best friends who go on an adventure to win fame and fortune. They meet the tycoon Clovis Dardentor who plans to give his wealth away to the person that saves his life. Their schemes to do just that rapidly spin out of control.
The three young men call the movie a "golden-age adventure", and they're hoping to throw "a bit of Four Weddings and a Funeral in there as well". So how do these three differ from thousands of teenagers with dreams of Hollywood?
First, there's an innovative financing scheme that they hope will raise £1m this year. "We found the idea and really wanted to make the film, and there was little chance a production company would make it", says Bliss. "We thought we had to do something special." So, following in the footsteps of other entrepreneurs, the three young men turned to the internet. They set up buyacredit.com, which allows people to donate as little as a pound. Those who do will have the thrill of seeing their name roll on the end credits. What started with classmates and parents has extended to celebrities (including Joanna Lumley) and across the world, raising £100,000 so far.
Casting is about to start, and not ones to settle for second best, the three producers hope to convince Pierce Brosnan and Timothy Spall to come on board. Raising a cool million and convincing the A-list stars to join in, after that, finishing school should be a doddle.
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