The end of romance can be an emotional maelstrom. The short film Terminus takes on that time as it follows the last 24 hours in the end of a relationship. Written and directed by Tim Seyfert, it’s being filmed in Falmouth.
The self-contained two-hander started life as a short story.
“The story is getting published next month in Flash Fiction Magazine,” Tim tells us when we catch up with him before shooting.
“We follow a young married couple in their late 20s (played by Josh Harper and Bethany Louise Slater) at the end of their relationship and how they are dealing with its demise – how they are letting each other go,” says Tim. “After I wrote the short story I adapted it into a screenplay and changed the locations and the nationalities of the characters.”
The original short story was set in California, where Tim’s from. For the film, he swapped the West Coast USA for the South West UK.
Terminus is being shot on a zero budget with a crew of four and a cast of two, working ‘essentially for lunch’. With filming planned over two and a half days, Tim purposely adapted the script to be filmable with what was around.
“I wrote the script around things I had at my immediate disposal. I have a buddy with a restaurant. My friend has a house that’s ideal. I know two actors who are quite up-and-coming and who were perfect for the roles. It was just a matter of asking the right people – the people I wanted to work with,” he says.
“I think a lot of people are eager to get out there and make something after lockdown, and a project like this, which is logistically simple, is quite appealing to work on.”
Along with the small cast and in addition to keeping the crew small, they are observing COVID guidelines on set, including social distancing, personal protective equipment, masks, and more.
Tim trained as a newsaper journalist at San Francisco State University, and came to the UK to study a master’s in film at Bristol University, focusing on screenwriting.
“I act, but I’m a writer first and foremost,” says Tim, who’s been acting for 15 years. “I’ve been fortunate to have had the chance to work with a lot of really good directors, who’ve all taught me a lot. I’ve written a few screenplays that have been produced too, and that was great because it gave me a chance to see how others visualise the work.”
Outside of a few student films, this is more or less his directing debut, he admits.
“I chose to direct this because I have a clear vision for what I want – the style I want it to be filmed in and how I want the actors to portray their characters,” he says.
The style that Tim’s after is docu-drama hyper-realistic via a handheld roaming camera. He cites visual references of Fishtank, Blue Valentine and, Half Nelson.
“That real low-fi, fly on the wall look,” he says. “I want the whole film to feel like we’re just in the room with these characters and we’re following them around. I want the audience to feel like they’re a third character in the film and they’re almost sat at the dinner table with them. When they get up and walk, we follow them.”
The short has the depth that could, with a following wind, evolve into a feature.
“In the short film Terminus, the back story is subtly hinted at. You see these people who are exhausted, at the end of their road. They realise, as much as they love each other, they can’t stay together.
“You feel for these people because we’ve all been there – it’s just holding up a mirror to a situation we’ve all been in – when you don’t know how to let go of someone who’s been part of your life,” says Tim.
“It’s not a happy film. But it’s a real film. It’s not meant to do anything other than paint a picture of a slice of life.”
top image: Terminus: Josh Harper as Sam and Bethany Louise Slater as Shawny. Both actors are represented by Louisa Osborne at Q&T Management in London
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