Ben Wheatley’s A Field in England – the first feature film commissioned by Film4.0 – will be the first ever film to be released in UK cinemas, on freeview TV, on DVD and on Video-on-Demand on the same day – with Film4, Picturehouse Entertainment, 4DVD and Film4 Channel partnering for this innovative watch-it-where-you-want experiment on Friday 5th July. The film is one of the first to receive funding from the BFI’s New Models Distribution Fund strand, which was recently set up to support experimental and ambitious release models.
The unique release will give audiences and fans of Ben’s previous films (Down Terrace, Kill List, Sightseers) the choice of how and where to experience his brilliant new psychedelic trip into magic and madness – whether it’s amidst an audience in the cinema, followed by a satellite Q&A with Ben and the cast; delving into multiple extras on a special edition DVD; from the comfort of the sofa showcased with a director’s intro and interview on TV; or the freedom to watch when they want on VoD. Particularly intrepid film fans can also follow in the footsteps of the film’s characters, with screenings planned in a field (or few) in England across the summer.
It will be interesting to see how this block release works.
England during the English Civil War. A small group of deserters flee from a raging battle through an overgrown field. They are captured by two men: O’Neil and Cutler. O’Neil (Michael Smiley), an alchemist, forces the group to aid him in his search to find a hidden treasure that he believes is buried in the field. Crossing a vast mushroom circle, which provides their first meal, the group quickly descend into a chaos of arguments, fighting and paranoia, and, as it becomes clear that the treasure might be something other than gold, they slowly become victim to the terrifying energies trapped inside the field.
A Field in England is the first feature to be developed and fully financed through the innovation hub Film4.0, and was conceived as a film which would be funded, shot, edited and distributed in a way that challenges traditional models and sets out to break the mould. A digital masterclass designed to immerse audiences in the making of the film will also launch around release, developed by Film4.0 in partnership with the filmmakers. Through behind-the-scenes interviews, on-set videos, and unseen rushes, Ben Wheatley, cast and key crew will take the audience on a unique journey through the creative choices that determined the final cut.
Ben Wheatley says: “It’s great to team up with Film4 to make this film and to work with new partners such as Picturehouse and 4DVD. We have tried to innovate with this film, in production and distribution. I’m very proud of the results and look forward to sharing the film with the audience.”
Anna Higgs, Film4.0 Commissioning Editor, says: “From the word go, A Field in England was a hugely original idea – you’d expect no less from Ben and Amy – so we wanted to build the project with the team in a way that was true to that. The film is a really exciting next step in the progression of Ben’s work as a director and will be something the likes of which a whole generation of audiences won’t have ever seen. I’m incredibly pleased we’ve formed this innovative partnership to take this brilliant film out to them in a truly ground-breaking way.”
Sue Bruce-Smith, Film4’s Head of Commercial and Brand Strategy, says: “Ben is undoubtedly one of our boldest, brightest and most audience savvy filmmakers and so it made complete sense to look to develop a project with him that would lend itself to this kind of daring and innovative release. We’re lucky to have found in Picturehouse Entertainment, 4DVD, the Film4 channel and BFI partners who share our vision to disrupt the status quo and experiment with new distribution patterns, to create this exciting event style release.”
Clare Binns, Director of Programming and Acquisitions, says: “We’re proud to have an intimate understanding of our audience, as are Film4, which is what makes this collaboration so exciting. Our eagerness to explore and experiment with new platforms of distribution in an evolving film landscape makes us all the more thrilled to be able to get this innovative film out there to the audience it so readily deserves. Ben Wheatley is a genuinely unique British talent and we could not be happier to be working with him on this film.”