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An Interview with Philip Gardiner, Director of One Hour to Die

by Mike Haberfelner

September 2012

Films directed by Philip Gardiner on (re)Search my Trash


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Your film One Hour to Die - in a few words, what is it about?


Six friends come together in a secluded location to celebrate a birthday party. After eating the cake, they open the cards to find a sinister message ...


One Hour to Die was an experiment inasmuch as it was improvised on set and shot entirely in one take - how did you come up with that idea, and was there ever a point you doubted you and your cast could make it work?


Anybody who knows me realises I like to experiment. I think by doing so you find new ways of doing things and sometimes you come up with something exciting. I wanted to see if a film could be made in one take with a group of actors - trouble was, could I come up with a decent storyline? After a few days of thinking it through I decided on the plot, but instead of scripting it, I decided to see if I could find a bunch of actors willing to adlib the entire plot and get it done in the prescribed time. It was not easy. We rehearsed and rehearsed and always “rushed” the thing through. We were 20 and even 30 minutes undershooting. Then something just clicked. We had a discussion where I pointed out the awkward nature of the plot and how it was better if we played to the spaces, the pauses. Great paintings are really mostly space. If Jaws were shark eating human the whole way through it would just get irritating.


As far as I know, you came up with the basic plot of the film - what were your inspirations, and when devising the story, did you already have the one-take/improvisation concept in mind?


I came up with the plot after reading about wolfsbane to be honest and a few chats with friends and family. I decided to keep it as natural and normal as possible so people could relate and believe in what was happening. I always had a one-take-concept in mind, yes!


Jessica Messenger

Based on the fact that the cast improvised over your concept - did that lead to any major changes in story?


Not really because we rehearsed our arses off and so I could keep it on track. Minor changes to characters developed and we put in a new character which was really vital to creating the awkward moments.


What can you tell us about your cast, and why did you choose exactly them - and how much say did they have in creating their characters?


All of them are just wonderful people and great actors. We fished around for the right age, sex etc and then just went for it. Mel Denholme [Melanie Denholme interview - click here] I had worked with before and knew she could pull it off anyway. Jessica Messenger [Jessica Messenger interview - click here] is just a diamond and brought a lot to the film. And to be honest they were all just great, really enjoyed the process.


You do (somehow) appear in the film as the guy behind the camera - apart from the fact that you are of course a "guy behind the camera" in real (professional) life, to what extent did you identify with your character?


Not in the slightest to be honest. What can I say, he's not me, I was “acting”.


What can you tell us about the actual shoot, the rehearsals, and how long did it take to get everything just right to film it? And how many takes did it take to get the movie done in one continuous take?


Feeling lucky ?
Want to
any of my partnershops yourself
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The links below
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just there!!!

Find Philip Gardiner
at the amazons ...


Great Britain (a.k.a. the United Kingdom)

Germany (East AND West)

Looking for imports ?
Find Philip Gardiner here ...

Your shop for all things Thai

Something naughty ?
(Must be over 18 to go there !)

x-rated  find Philip Gardiner at

We shot the film in a very secluded location. It was battering down with rain and wind outside. We all came together, spent two days working hard and picked the camera up and shot it, first time. Scary eh!


Based on the experiences with One Hour to Die - could you ever be persuaded to base another movie of yours on a similar experiment?




Any future projects you'd like to talk about?


Working on pre-production for Paranormal Possession at the moment, which is a very different take on the genre and involves special forces, mind games and all that stuff I love!


Your/your movie's website, Facebook, whatever else?


Latest film is Exorcist Chronicles which will be out 2013. mostly everything else can be reached from there under the links anyhow. 

There's a certain person in that film called Michael that you may know :)


Anything else you're dying to talk about and I have merely forgotten to ask?


What happened to summer then?


Thanks for the interview!


© by Mike Haberfelner

Legal note: (re)Search my Trash cannot
and shall not be held responsible for
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Thanks for watching !!!



On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD



Stell Dir vor, Deine Lieblingsseifenoper birgt eine tiefere Wahrheit ...
... und stell Dir vor, der Penner von der U-Bahnstation hat doch recht ...
... und dann triffst Du auch noch die Frau Deiner (feuchten) Träume ...


Und an diesem Tag geht natürlich wieder einmal die Welt unter!!!


Bauliche Angelegenheiten
ein Roman von
Michael Haberfelner


Jetzt kaufen bei