“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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The Newsfeed

“As a graphic designer, without the arts being available to me in school I would have been lost as a child and where to take my career path. The fact that schools are cutting art programs is heartbreaking.”—Female, 24, NJ

Applebee’s is putting down the sriracha and giving up on trying to appeal to Millennials. The brand has decided their newer menu items—like a “triple pork bonanza” sandwich—and attempt at a “modern bar and grill” reinvention has “alienate[d]” Boomers and Gen Xers. They’re shutting down more than 130 restaurants and bringing back initiatives from before their attempted “pendulum swing towards millennials,” all-you-can-eat specials and 2-for-$20 deals. Other brands are creating new spin off chains to appeal to fast-casual lovingMillennials, that “[lack] the associated baggage of the old.” (Inc, NPR)

Adults-only ball pits, bouncy houses, and giant slides are sweeping the U.K. Millennials seeking a break from adulthood are flocking to places like Wacky World’s “massive bouncy-castle obstacle course,” which started out as a children’s event. The founder received so many requests that now every event has an 18-and-over slot, and has expanded to 19 cities. This “trend for arrested development activities” is caused by nostalgia, but the influx of marketing and branding leveraging the emotion could be popularizing these playgrounds for adults. (The Guardian)

Facebook is responding to the trend of asking for birthday charitable donations by integrating it right into the platform. Users in the U.S. can now trade in all the “HBD”s they get on Facebook for donations to the cause of their choice: well-wishers will be notified of the birthday along with the selected non-profit, and get the chance to donate. Facebook will ask users which charity they wish to dedicate their day to two weeks in advance, allowing them to choose from 750,000 organizations. (TNW)

Appear Here is the Airbnb of pop-up shops, giving brands their perfect temporary store for the new era of retail. The company finds short term retail space, and has worked with big-name brands like Nike and Net-a-Porter to open “experimental activations” or “test new products.” As brick-and-mortar continues to suffer and long-term stores close, Appear Here says physical retail is still needed, but to “tell a story.” The pop-up industry was valued at $50 billion in 2015, and provides a more low-risk, flexible option to avoid the retail wasteland. (Glossy)

Millennials & Gen Z are turning a profit online and on mobile by re-selling their retail. Thredup, Poshmark, and Depop are just a few of the most popular brands cashing in on the resale economy’s $18 billion market, and some shoppers say they are making $300 a week on the platforms. Some are also using social to sell, often in conjunction with apps or sites, including Snapchat, Facebook Groups, and Instagram. College students on a budget are reportedly especially drawn to resale, thanks to convenience, value, and access to luxury at a lower price. (FN)

“Adult means being entirely independent. I pay my own bills, make all decisions in my life, and feel very in control.”—Male, 20, NY

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