Jun 01, 2012 10:05 AM EST

Fat Kid Rules the World: From Crowd Favorite to Crowd Funded

Fat Kid Rules the World: From Crowd Favorite to Crowd Funded
"You have to create your own material, now more than ever" - these poignant words are from Matthew Lillard, who has kept true to his own message.  His directorial debut film, Fat Kid Rules the World, was a very personal project to him, and a dream of his for ten years.  "[It is the story of a] kid lost.  I was a kid lost.  I found punk rock music.  I found acting and drama. I stayed with [the project] for so long because I got that kid." 

The movie is based from the novel of the same name by author K.L. Going, which is the story of a "fat kid" who is lost and finds his way in the world through friendship developed around punk rock.  FlickDirect.com had an opportunity to sit down and visit with her at SXSW.  When asked about her feelings that her book had not only been optioned for a film but actually made into one, she replied "I knew the odds {where quite low} to get the book picked up….but it's tremendously exciting!"  But how did she handle the inevitable changes that happen when a book is translated to the screen? "The characters could have walked right out of my brain. The dad {played by Billy Campbell} was incredible.  He did a great job and added an extra layer to {him}."  The character Isabel is not in the book, but is portrayed on screen by Lili Simmons, and her involvement in the plot was added, and K.L.'s response to that addition was "I embraced the idea that they would make changes: make it their own. I'm excited that they took it and made it their own vision - because they didn't lose anything in the process. …There is always a cliché of the book being better than the movie, but Matthew did such a great job.  It's a bit of a tricky story with so many different things going on at once.  One of my fears as an author is that the movie would only be comedy, or only be a drama.  But {they} captured it all."  Lastly she was asked if she had any advice for future authors: "If you're going to be a writer, have a good life - because everything you experience is going to infuse into your stories."

Fat Kid Rules the World won the Audience Award for Narrative Spotlight at SXSW this year but has been unable to find a traditional distribution model to allow audiences nationwide to view this film.  "It's as hard to make a movie now as it's ever been.  It's even harder to find a distribution channel."  Matthew has remarked but the film may have found an opportune method to get the film distributed. 

Crowdfunding/sourcing is increasing in popularity, especially with films and electronic entertainment.  Iron Sky was partially crowd-funded and Fat Kid Rules the World seeks to do the same.  The creators are asking the general public to chip in towards a $150,000 goal at Kickstarter.com to fund a marketing plan revolving around the Vans Warped Punk Rock Tour this summer.  Word of mouth is continuing to spread about using crowdfunding to get this film around the country and hopefully into theaters.  Celebrities who are both involved in the project such as Mike McCready (Pearl Jam) and those who aren't, like Joan Rivers have been tweeting about this project.  Through May 15 they have raised almost 13% of their goal but it's not over yet.  I'm sure that Matthew Lillard's direction that he gave the actors in this movie would apply here but for anyone who is interested in seeing a powerful film succeed: "You have an opportunity right now to be brilliant.  We're not coming back tomorrow - there is no other chance.  There is no fear and nothing stopping you from being a genius and amazing right now.  You have this one moment to be fucking amazing."

If you are interested in supporting the film's grass-roots efforts to be shown to the general public, please visit their Kickstarter page at http://tinyurl.com/FatKidRules before June 16.
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