Andy, Steve the farmer, John Cooper (Sundance Festival director), Phil (Steve’s dad) and Heike Bachelier (co-director of The Moo Man)
Andy, Steve the farmer, John Cooper (Sundance Festival director), Phil (Steve’s dad) and Heike Bachelier (co-director of The Moo Man)

THE MOO MAN - Kickstarting Life After Sundance

07 June 2013

Following THE MOO MAN’s huge festival success, former Guiding Lights mentee Andy Heathcote provides an insight into self distribution, crowdfunding and life as an independent filmmaker.

Six years ago we made the decision to self fund our films and do it all ourselves. Now we sit with bated breath gripping the edge of our seats. Our tiny outfit Trufflepig Films is on a roller-coaster ride – 5 days left on our Kickstarter campaign, and still 34% to find…

It all began with Sundance Film Festival, when The Moo Man was picked from obscurity to play in competition in January. The film is set on a dairy farm in the remote Pevensey Levels of Sussex, which in the lead up to the festival were choked with newspaper, radio and telly, all descending on the farm to hear the story of a dairy farmer and his dad about to jet off to Sundance.

Taking Steve and his dad to the festival was one of the best decisions we could have made – everyone loved them! After each of our screenings it would take longer and longer to walk down Main Street. In the end we had to give up walking, it took too long.

When we initially tried to pitch our project about a farmer and his cows, the reaction was “who on earth will want to watch that?” But we find that if it’s an emotional film with a good story, it will find its audience. And so Berlin and True/False film festivals followed Sundance, and all had packed screenings.

Following the festivals, we looked at the offers for distribution. Being so passionate about our story, we decided to distribute it ourselves, and are now doing a DIY release with November Films. Why? Because we know nobody else will put as much energy as us into working our film around the country. The Moo Man is a very touching film, but it’s also a touch-paper for a bunch of issues to do with our disconnection from the countryside, where our food comes from, how we farm animals, and what will happen if family farms close down. We can push those messages like nobody else.

We self funded The Moo Man, so we still own it. By self-distributing our film, one day some money might even come back to us. But distributing a film without a marketing budget is virtually impossible, and having sunk everything into the making of the film, what are the options?

Fortune shined with the perfect timing of Kickstarter’s launch here in the UK. It’s a great tool for the DIY filmmaker. Especially when you have a finished film, as people can see what they are crowd-funding and what they are buying into.

The genius of Kickstarter also is that you’re not just funding your project – you’re discovering your audience too. These early adopters get something they want, and brilliantly, they become your champions too, and help to spread the word.

At time of writing, we still have £6,811 to raise. They say the last 48 hours are make or break on Kickstarter. So the clock is ticking and I feel like Sidney Greenstreet in a sauna! If we reach our target of £20k, it will all go into promotion, including taking Steve around the country for Q&As. The nightmare is, if we only get £19,999 by 11.00am Wednesday 12th June, then we get nothing. Which means no The Moo Man theatrical release. That’s the deal, that’s Kickstarter.

So if you’d like to jump on our roller coaster, and help take a self made film all around the cinemas of the UK, please check us out. And if we succeed, we’ll see you in cinemas from July 12th.

Andy Heathcote and Heike Bachelier, Trufflepig Films



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