As Hollywood tightens its belt we’re seeing an increasing number of low budget films being made. Generally film budgets are a grey area, how is the money raised and exactly how much was spent on production let alone marketing? Below is a list of some of the best low budget films (less than $2million) of the decade, where the filmmakers and producers got it right. They’re artistically strong films whilst packing enough punch to satiate even the most ardent genre lovers.
1. Bronson (2008)
Director: Nicolas Winding Refn
Directors 4th film
Interesting Facts: Jason Statham was initially considered for the role!
Vertigo Films received £150,000 to widen the distribution of Nicolas Winding Refn’s Bronson. From an interview with with the director he states the production design budget was just £30,000.
2. Beasts of the Southern Wild (2012)
Director: Benh Zeitlin
Interesting Facts: Most of the actors including the young lead have no prior acting experience and are simply individuals who lived in the community where the film was shot.
Funding: New York nonprofit Cinereach.
3. Brick (2005)
Director: Rian Johnson
Interesting Facts: Rian Johnson worked for 10 years trying to get his debut made.
Funding: Friends and Family
4. Fish Tank (2009)
Director: Andrea Arnold
Interesting Fact: Lead actress Katie Jarvis had no prior acting experience. She was cast for the film after one of Arnold’s casting assistants saw her arguing with her boyfriend at a train station.
Funding: Lottery funds
5. Hunger (2008)
Director: Steve McQueen
inflation adjusted 2013 $2,949,287.43
The film is notable for an unbroken 17-minute shot, in which a priest played by Liam Cunningham tries to talk Bobby Sands out of his protest. In a similar style to legendary director Antonioni.
After financing for Hunger was turned down by the Irish Film Board, the film was instead co-funded by Northern Ireland Screen, Broadcast Commission of Ireland, Channel 4, Film4 Productions, and the Wales Creative IP Fund.
6. Submarine (2010)
Director: Richard Ayoade
Interesting Facts: Around 100 actors submitted video auditions for the roles of Oliver, Jordana, and Chips
Funding: £700k BFI
7. Shifty (2008)
Director: Eran Creevy
Interesting Facts: Metrodome Distribution received £156,000 to widen the distribution
Funding: Film London’s Microwave Scheme
8. London To Brighton (2006)
Director: Paul Andrew Williams
Budget: £80,000 + received £185,000 for post-production
Interesting Facts: It is said the Director wrote the script over a weekend!
Funding: Private investors. A large part of postproduction from the Film Council
9. The Football Factory 2004
Director: Nick Love
inflation adjusted 2013 £810,204
Interesting Facts: For the gamers out there, there’s a scene in the film where Tommy Johnson walks into a lounge where his friend Rod is playing Grand Theft Auto: Vice City (2002). This game was made by Rockstar Games, who are also credited as being Executive Producers for the movie. Also, Danny Dyer who plays Tommy Johnson in Football Factory was the voice of Kent Paul in Vice City.
10. This is England 2006
Director: Shane Meadows
Directors 6th film
inflation adjusted £1,804,696
The 13-year-old lead actor Turgoose had never acted before this film, in fact he had been banned from his school play for bad behaviour, and demanded £5 to turn up for the film’s auditions. This convinced director Shane Meadows he was perfect for the role. The film was dedicated to Turgoose’s mother, Sharon, who died of cancer on 29 December 2005; while she never saw the film, she saw a short preview. The cast attended her funeral.
Funding: Lottery Fund