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An Interview with Kris Smith, Director, and Andy Blithe, Writer and Star of Buying Time

by Mike Haberfelner

May 2024

Kris Smith on (re)Search my Trash

Andy Blythe on (re)Search my Trash

 

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Your new movie Buying Time - in a few words, what's it about?

 

In a future plagued by deadly diseases, a desperate father must confront the moral implications of an advanced chip technology that grants extra years of life at the cost of someone elseís.

 

It is the year 2028 and antibiotics are no longer effective. Lifeline has invented a health chip that now provides protection and it is available for free through the NHS. You can get an upgrade which provides better protection and is available at a cost. But in 2028 computing power is restricted and for someone to get an upgrade someone has to die for the power to be transferred. People are dying randomly and with the launch of a 2nd upgrade these deaths have increased. The new chip will earn Lifeline billions along with their ministerial backer who also has political ambitions.

Daniel Avery has lost his wife and child in sudden and suspicious circumstances and as a result of recent nightmares and flashbacks - he decides to investigate. He slowly uncovers the truth with the help of a rebel group.

 

Now how did that project fall together in the first place?

 

Andy: I had recently done some camera work on Krisí short film New Years Eve. We worked really well together and I approached him about an idea I had for a feature film and asked he was interested in directing and producing it with me. He was and so I got to work and started to write it.

 

Kris: When Andy pitched me the story my first impressions were that it was wildly ambitious and that it was out of my comfort zone. I could see how passionate Andy was about this idea and I admired his confidence. I underestimated how quick the whole process was. It wasn't long until we started shooting the first simple scenes.

 

Andy, what were your sources of inspiration when writing Buying Time?

 

Andy: Basically I saw the movie as more of a story of loss and how sometimes our lives can change direction with just one event. Daniel experiences that direction change many times. The film probably sits somewhere between science fiction and potential fact - hopefully inspiring people to not accept what we see on the surface but to do their own research.

 

What can you tell us about your movie's approach to science fiction, and is this a genre at all dear to you?

 

Kris: This is my first directorial sci-fi feature so dramas are usually my thing. I appreciate the genre though and appreciate films like In Time, The Purge and Netflix's Black Mirror series because of the horrors of what the future brings, especially with technology.

 

Kris, what can you tell us about your directorial approach to the story at hand?

 

Kris: Myself and Andy worked a lot on character development and making this an emotional journey to our audience. The ending was abrupt in the original script so we fleshed it out for a more satisfying conclusion. I never wanted the characters to be one-dimensional, nor to have any awkwardness with any interactions unless intended. I also shot a majority of the film, so on set I was balancing directing and photography which can cut a lot of my time and focus on both sides.

 

What where the challenges of bringing Buying Time to the screen from a producer's point of view?

 

Andy: Making the film was always going to be a challenge. We had no budget, but between us have 25 plus years experience of indie filmmaking. We both brought different skills to the table. Kris had made several narrative feature films before and was therefore experience in the process. I am very much a doer who likes to get things done, and I had a big investment in the film in terms of it being my first narrative feature and also playing the lead as Daniel. We had both found that we worked well together and we had an honesty that we were not afraid to bring to the table. Not only were we involved in the process as producers but also many other roles. This meant a lot of our time, but it also meant we had control of other areas of the filmmaking process which allowed us to keep the momentum going forward. Fortunately we met an ally early on, another filmmaker Darren Joy who brought a lot to the table and this enabled us to concentrate on the organisational needs of the film. When it came to filming Darren was a very important cog in the wheel.

Kris: Money's always an issue when it comes to filmmaking. Not only did we put our own personal funds into this, we also created two crowdfunding campaigns and although we never reached our goals we were still fortunate enough to get donations from generous people from the US as well as the UK.

 

Andy, you also play the lead in Buying Time - so what can you tell us about your character, what did you draw upon to bring him to life, and did you write him with yourself in mind from the get-go?

 

Andy: I donít think I consciously wrote the film with me in mind from the start. I did think about myself playing one of the characters in the film. However I did say to Kris later on that I may play Daniel and he thought that would work and I had complete confidence in Kris to direct the film, so I decided I would go ahead and play the lead role. I was always a bit conscious of it coming across as a bit self-indulgent (which was never the intention) but Kris assured me that was not the case. In terms of the character, I am a father myself and have like most people of my age quite a lot of experience in terms of the challenges of life. Iíve not turned to drink but have in the past had my own challenges with mental health. It was a case of using my own experiences to help understand how someone like Daniel would feel.

 

Do talk about the rest of your cast, and why exactly these people?

 

Andy: I live in Devon, but have worked with many actors and filmmakers in Norfolk during the previous 10 years that I lived and worked there. Myself and Kris had worked with many local actors, and we were confident of being able to fill several of the roles with these local contacts. For some of the characters we did have to cast our net a bit further and call upon actors not know to us. Through some casting shout outs we managed to pull together a talented cast of people who brought these characters to life.

 

Kris: A big shoutout to Ryan Enever, Estelle Long, Nick Elliott, Paula Boyle, Duane Tucker, James Crawley, Jules Maxine, Mark Wells and Adi Thompson for their amazing performances! They were patient, supportive and incredibly hard working. They gave up a lot of their time and put up with a lot of grief as there were poor weather conditions when we filmed this.

 

What was the collaboration between the two of you like, both during pre-production and on set ... and maybe also during post-production?

 

Andy: From my point of view the whole process of working with Kris was great. We had an honestly that worked really well. Neither of us have big egos. We are not afraid to say if we think something is not right and equally not afraid to say we got it wrong. I think the fact that we managed to complete the whole film from concept to edit in 7 months is testament of that.

 

Kris: Andy is one of the best and most hard-working people I've ever worked with in the film industry. He's took a lot of my criticism and nit-picking throughout the whole process, but in the end I believe the result was worth it. The trust was already there between us so it was very comforting working around each other's ideas. He steals the film with his strong presence on screen as an actor and never had to worry about his performance.

 

Buying Time isn't the first time you've worked with one another - so what can you tell us about your previous collaborations, and how did the two of you first meet even?

 

Andy: Kris asked me to help on his short film New Years Eve, which I shot for him and also edited. I had been an extra in a couple of Krisí films when I first started acting. But our film friendship really only just started just over a year ago on New Years Eve.

 

Kris: Andy was a background artist on a couple of my previous features ten years ago. As the years went by he developed a filmmaking career and I admired his work. We made a short film together in 2023 titled New Years Eve, which is available on YouTube. Andy shot and edited the film and I produced and directed it. Really liked how straightforward the experience was on that, so working with Andy for the long run was going to be a good choice for me.

 

Back to Buying Time - what can you tell us about the shoot as such, and the on-set atmosphere?

 

Andy: In terms of the shoo, most filming was done by just the three of us, Kris, myself and Darren Joy. When it came to larger scenes we did manage to get some extra help. This was very useful indeed, and we actually found some of the cast helping out when necessary. We started filming some of the scenes that were simpler in terms of cast numbers and filmed the more complex scenes towards the end. We filmed around 21 days in all (not full days apart from about 4) and we filmed in three blocks. I had to come up from Devon and so would stop in Norfolk for around 10 days and organise filming days during that time. Coordinating cast, crew and locations was a very complex process but fortunately luck was with us a little bit and the same can be said for the weather. (When the weather was not on our side we were flexible in our approach.) The on-set atmosphere was excellent and everyone from the cast (including those involved in the larger scenes) was amazing. People were patient and understood our commitment to get this film done. Buying Time is a clear example of how true collaboration can work and how important every single person is who is involved in making an independent film happen.

 

The $64-question of course, where can Buying Time be seen?

 

At the moment Buying Time has been entered for some film festivals and at the time of writing has already picked up several film festival awards. We are in the process of arranging a private viewing for cast, crew and supporters due to take place of Friday 12th July. After that we are hoping to get the film on several video-on-demand platforms including Amazon Prime and Tubi.

 

Anything you can tell us about audience and critical reception of Buying Time?

 

The film has been receiving some great reviews so far from the festivals. There are many facets to the film, and being just 83 minutes it keeps you engaged in the story. We hope to get more feedback from people as it starts to be seen by a wider audience.

 

Any future projects you'd like to share?

 

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Andy: We are currently in the process of writing a sequel to the film called Killing Time: "Daniel and Tess must navigate a treacherous web of betrayal and manipulation orchestrated by their vengeful adversaries, as they fight to uncover the truth behind a conspiracy that threatens to tear their world apart."

 

We are hoping that this may well draw some attention in terms of funding and therefore support a more cinematic experience. I am also continuing to work on some new documentaries, one of which called The Brave and the Bold which is following a group of UK weather chasers.

 

Your/your movie's website, social media, whatever else?

 

https://www.aturnfilms.com/buyingtimefeaturefilm

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/648613324130526/

Search Buying Time feature film

 

Thanks for the interview!

 

© by Mike Haberfelner


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Thanks for watching !!!



 

 

In times of uncertainty of a possible zombie outbreak, a woman has to decide between two men - only one of them's one of the undead.

 

There's No Such Thing as Zombies
starring
Luana Ribeira, Rudy Barrow and Rami Hilmi
special appearances by
Debra Lamb and Lynn Lowry

 

directed by
Eddie Bammeke

written by
Michael Haberfelner

produced by
Michael Haberfelner, Luana Ribeira and Eddie Bammeke

 

now streaming at

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Tales to Chill
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the new anthology by
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