A crowd funding campaign for a film using actors with special needs and learning difficulties from Aylesbury has raised £3,601 for its production and release.
The production company behind the project, Creating Freedom, said they were hoping to raise around £2,900 through Kickstarter, but surpassed their expectations on June 7 when they announced that the film will now be able to hold a full cinema premier by the end of the year.
Artistic Director and Company Founder, Alex Dower, said: “Just having people come every week and watch them slowly starting to trust one performing was just wonderful to see.”
The film, entitled, 'The Fortunate Mr Spencer', stars local residents of mixed special needs and learning difficulty backgrounds in an Agatha Christie-style murder mystery.
With the help of the money raised from the Kickstarter funding page, the film will undergo full, professional post-production treatment for its release in December 2016.
Mr Dower started the company over seven years ago, after helping to produce a play with inmates at a Russian prison in Perm.
He quickly saw that his chosen methodology, called 'The Science of Acting', was very effective in bringing novice performers to a high standard, and that it was effective in providing a range of other benefits to its participants.
He said: “We work with people who have special needs, learning difficulties, or those in special circumstances, such as refugees and prisoners. We teach them how to act and then direct them in high-standard productions – and from the process of learning how to act they gain a huge amount of benefits.
“They develop an awareness of their own thinking because they have to understand the character is thinking. And from that they get another level of understanding of how to act and behave if they want to. We have a philosophy that anyone can learn how to act.”
Despite a career's worth of work in the west end and other professional acting roles, Mr Dower said that working on projects with Creating Freedom still tops his highlight jobs.
“I love working with people who have never acted before because they don't have any pre-conceptions. The biggest thing for me is seeing the parents and carers coming forward to say what a change they've seen in the actors – it's wonderful.”