“Fat Kid Rules The World” Challenges Viewers And The Mainstream Film Industry

"Fat Kid Rules The World" is a movie outside the Hollywood norm, not only because it stars an overweight punk teen, but also because it's reinventing the models of distribution using social media.

Fat Kid Rules The World

We were at Rooftop Films Friday night to check out the first New York City screening of “Fat Kid Rules The World,” the film adaptation of KL Going’s YA novel of the same name and Matthew Lillard’s directorial debut. The film has been a decade in the making and well worth the wait.

The story of an overweight, depressed teenager who figures out where he belongs when he discovers punk music still resonates with this generation of young people. If anything, it’s even more poignant as many teens struggle with fitting in and music is an ever-more-important factor in their lives and forming friendships. The film, like the book, doesn’t shy away from controversial topics, from drug use to suicide to complicated friendships and family relationships.

Following the screening, Lillard explained that he got involved with the film project while recording the book on tape — he was moved by the story because, like the main character, he was a lost kid in high school until he discovered acting. He immediately contacted Going and bought the film rights. After the film took home the Audience Award at SXSW, the opportunities that Hollywood presented were “kinda crappy,” according to Lillard. The Hollywood system doesn’t see a film about a fat kid as a big money maker, so Lillard and his crew are teaming up with Tugg.com — a sort of Groupon for films — to distribute the film.

At the screening, we talked with Lillard and Rick Rosenthal, the film’s producer, about why they chose to make this story, how social media is changing the film industry, and why they turned to Kickstarter to raise funds to get the film to theaters. [They’re currently a mere $16,000 away from reaching their goal with just four days left!]

The Fat Kid Family — Rick Rosenthal, Noah Rosenthal, KL Going, Julian Gavilanes, Dylan Arnold, Jacob Wysocki, and Matthew LillardYpulse: It’s clear from the group here supporting the film and from the number of…


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