FILM lovers have given the thumbs-up to a new comedy set in Oxfordshire.

The film, called 12 in a Box, produced by Kirtlington resident Bruce Windwood, has won prizes at film festivals held at Los Angeles and Boston, in the US, and Zurich, in Switzerland.

Now the low-budget feature, which was shot in the north Oxfordshire village, is on the verge of finding a distributor to organise its release in the UK.

The film is about a dozen former school friends who are offered the chance to collect £1m each.

The only catch is that they must all remain on a country estate – cut off from the outside world – for 96 hours.

The film’s publicity promises “deaths, sexual intrigue, kidnapping and spiralling levels of farce and confusion”.

Mr Windwood, 45, who has lived in Oxfordshire for 15 years, said the film had been a “labour of love”. He said: “We’re delighted with how the film has been received abroad and we hope the reviews and awards we have picked up should secure us a distributor here. We’re very close.

“It has been a very long and often gruelling process getting the film out to the viewing public.

“We came up with the idea in 2005 and completed filming in 2007. We wanted to be a commercial film, not some art house picture that only our mums would watch. We wanted something that would appeal to a wide audience.”

Mr Windwood paid tribute to the actors involved.

He said: “None were household names when we started, but a number are now starting to receive more offers.

“We were so happy with their work, because all of them really got into the spirit of what we were trying to do.”

He declined to reveal the film’s budget, because he claimed it could affect negotiations with distributors.

The Los Angeles Times called 12 in a Box a “nicely calibrated romp peppered with more than a few genuinely funny moments”, while Albert S Ruddy, double Oscar-winning producer of The Godfather and Million Dollar Baby, described it as “one of the best British comedies I’ve ever seen, with a brilliant ending”.

At the Zurich Film Festival the movie won the audience award.

Hollywood star Mel Gibson’s company Icon has recently brought the DVD distribution rights for the film in Australia and New Zealand.

For more details of 12 in a Box, see the film's website