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It was about as simple a goal as could be made: Bradley King wanted to make a film he wasn’t embarrassed about.
But with his directorial debut, “Time Lapse,” earning praise and awards on the film festival circuit, it’s safe to say that goal has been met.
King, a native of Los Alamos, has long had a dream of helming a feature film. And with the help of producer BP Cooper, that dream has been realized. He and Cooper co-wrote the screenplay for the film and were the main creative drivers behind it.
“Time Lapse,” which stars Danielle Panabaker, Matt O’Leary and George Finn, centers on a group of 20-somethings who accidentally stumble onto a camera that can take Polaroid photos 24 hours into the future.
It takes very little time for Jasper (Finn), a dog racing fanatic, to realize the camera can be used for financial gain. While amateur painter Finn (O’Leary) is initially against the idea, he finds that the camera can see his work in the future, as well.
Of course, it also takes very little time for their plan to go horribly, horribly wrong, particularly when shady bookie Ivan (Jason Spisak) becomes weary of losing his money to the restraint-less and addiction-prone Jasper, who becomes increasingly obsessed with keeping the future exactly the way the photos revealed it would be.
King said the movie was put together at breakneck speed. It took only about 10 days for Cooper and him to complete the first draft of the script and only about five months to go from script to wrapping principal photography.
Being the first time he’d attempted making a feature, things were a little overwhelming for King.
“I was terrified as a director,” he said. “I had made some short films, but I’d never directed a full-length movie. I was definitely scared. The crew was much bigger than anything I ever did before. On a big day, I’d have 60 people on the set.”
One of the people on the set was John Rhys-Davies.
Rhys-Davies, who plays Bezzerides, the trio’s across-the-way neighbor at their apartment complex, is probably best known for his portrayal of Sallah in two of the Indiana Jones movies, as well as a myriad of other roles. He only appears briefly on screen in “Time Lapse,” however, and then only in a photograph of he and friend Dr. Heidecker (Sharon Maughan).
King said Rhys-Davies was ultra-generous to fly from Europe to Los Angeles to appear in his film, but King had to leave most of his scenes on the cutting room floor, as they ended up being redundant in the final version of the film.
For King, he graduated from Los Alamos High School in 1994 and attended several different colleges with an eye on making films.
He said he’d written several scripts before deciding “Time Lapse” would be the film he would attempt to turn into a feature.
While he said he’s a huge fan of science fiction and loves the idea of time travel, the decision to go with “Time Lapse” was largely budgetary.
“I had been writing these screenplays, but they were all really expensive,” King said. “I tried to write scripts then make them with my friends, but they all ended up being too expensive.”
Currently, the film is making the rounds at several festivals. Last week, King traveled to South Korea for a festival and will be in Montreal, Canada, soon.
He said he is currently trying to enter “Time Lapse” into the Santa Fe Independent Film Festival, scheduled for October, but hasn’t heard if had been accepted yet.
King has been on the road for a good chunk of 2014 and doesn’t plan on doing much more touring with his film, however.
But “Time Lapse” is having a very successful run on the circuit. Many of its screenings have been sold out and he’s won some awards to go along with it, including taking Best Feature at the Big Island Film Festival in Hawaii in May and the Best Foreign Feature at the London Independent Film Festival.
The one award the film has garnered that King said he’s most proud of, however, is the Audience Award he won in Brazil earlier this year.
“It feels really good having 500 or 600 people vote you for an award,” King said. “You feel like you’re really connecting with your audiences.”
One of the key aspects of the film is, of course, Bezzerides’ camera, which produces all the photos, as well as all the trouble.
King said he wanted the giant, green-glowing contraption to be eerie and exotic, as well as an old school invention — hence the Polaroids. He enlisted the help of artist Howie Schechtman to make sketches of “The Machine” while fabricators David Mendoza and Thibault Pelletier brought the drawings to life on-screen.
Another tricky aspect of the film was keeping the past, present and future straight while it was shot.
To do that, King and Cooper put together three chains of note cards pinned up on a long wall with lengths of different colored strings to help them keep straight what the characters were supposed to know and when they were supposed to know it.
While King doesn’t have a real-life camera to predict his future, he already has plans to make a second sci-fi feature, while he’s got high hopes “Time Lapse” will get domestic distribution and may even be seen on Netflix in the near future.
“(Cooper and I) will get our next screenplay off the ground,” King said. “Now, hopefully, it will be easier because we have this one done.”