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A Divorce Before Marriage

Popular music in the 20th century championed the idea that musicians are special people – magical, untouchable. But this idea didn’t last.

This is the story we set out to tell in feature documentary A Divorce Before Marriage, a Kickstarter-funded film about Leeds band I Like Trains.

The Background

In 2007, five-piece rock and roll band I Like Trains were the toast of the music industry. They were signed to a major label and playing sold out tours around the world. They had money, momentum and were fulfilling their dreams. A Divorce Before Marriage picks up the story five years later, where, due to the decline of the music industry and a change in their fortune, the band are now in a very different position, fighting for their lives to exist in a wildly different musical landscape, trying to financially support themselves through dead end jobs and low paid gigs.

A band in the middle

Over the course of the next three years, we document each band member as they adjust to their new found lifestyle, moving away from the bright lights and dizzying heights of music stardom and into the real world where careers, family and adulthood are paramount. Self-organised tours and the independent release of their third album serve as a reminder of a life once lived. This is now a band in the middle, steadfast in their determination to succeed in a stagnant music industry.

Double lives

Capturing the timeless, bittersweet beauty of Yorkshire, A Divorce Before Marriage is a cinematic portrait of five men battling to express themselves against the detritus of everyday life. It isn’t just a film about a band, it represents a struggle which every creative in modern Britain can understand: leading double lives to keep artistic freedom alive. As filmmakers, this was something we could relate to ourselves.

The Kickstarter Campaign

After nearly two years of shooting, we launched a Kickstarter campaign for the film. With a trailer to show the direction of the film and a significant fan base of the band to appeal to, the campaign was a big success. We smashed through our initial goal of £16,000 to raise over £28,000 in funding. After the campaign was over, we took a step back and looked hard at the film we wanted to make. We ended up shooting for another 18 months, allowing us to tell a three and a half year story.

Festival Run

A Divorce Before Marriage had its World Premiere at Picturehouse Central in London as part of the 2016 Open City Documentary Festival. With a Q&A chaired by former NME.com editor Anthony Thornton, the two screenings sold out within a week of going on sale. Further festival screenings took place in 2016 at Doc'n Roll Film Festival, Warsaw Film Festival and Leeds Film Festival. For updates on the film, follow us across social media @ILikeTrainsFilm

Stream the film

A Divorce Before Marriage is available to rent or buy via Vimeo on Demand at https://vimeo.com/ondemand/adivorcebeforemarriage