Cinemas may be closed and screenings cancelled, but last weekend HOME and MUBI released a film nevertheless. The Whalebone Box was one of only a small handful of films released in the UK last week and is one of the top ten most-watched films on MUBI in its opening three days.
The release date was originally chosen as a counterpoint to No Time To Die – the two films couldn’t be more different. When the lockdown was announced, HOME’s Creative Director for Film and Culture, Jason Wood, decided to stick with the release date.
Jason said: “There was a sense that at a time of reflection there was perhaps a chance that more people might discover it. Additionally, we need to preserve the notion of culture being important, even during an international crisis.”
Andrew Kötting said: “This is a kind of approximation of a film. It’s a film that really doesn’t belong in cinemas. Distributors would never look at this. But I have a relationship with Jason Wood at HOME and HOME have been supportive of all the work I have done since Swandown. It would be difficult without his belief that there are still people out there that would want to go and see this type of film. I’m also lucky that MUBI will stream this for the best part of a month and people might stumble across it. That gives me hope and joy. I am in a privileged position in that I have a body of work behind me but I am fearful for other artists that don’t have that luck.”
The film has received four and five star reviews, and was chosen as the Observer film of the week by Mark Kermode, who said: “As a huge fan of Andrew Kötting’s films, I’m fully aware of the great work HOME and Jason Wood have done supporting his creativity, and making sure that artists like him find the audiences they deserves. Art doesn’t exist in a vacuum, and films don’t distribute themselves. HOME has played a great role in creating the kind of thriving ecosystem in which films like The Whalebone Box can become a vital, vibrant part of the modern movie landscape. Thank heaven for Andrew Kötting, and for HOME.”
Jason Wood added: “My relationship with Andrew goes back to when I interviewed him for This Filthy Earth and our paths have crossed many times since. I admire his work as an artist but also his enthusiasm not only for the act of creating but his enthusiasm for life. This applies to Eden too.
“The first Andrew Kötting film I was involved with as a distributor was Ivul when I worked at Curzon Artificial Eye. Andrew’s relationship with HOME extends back to Swandown, which was supported by HOME’s former Artistic Director of Visual Art, Sarah Perks. HOME has since distributed Edith Walks, Lek and the Dogs and now The Whalebone Box. It’s important to have a diverse and bracing film culture when everything feels a bit bland and homogenised and the films, books, music and art of Andrew and Eden contribute greatly to that.”