Tim Seyfert’s directorial debut was the award-winning short film Terminus. It rippled with emotion and tension. Now Tim’s helming his first feature, Nowhere, shot in Cornwall, and it promises to delve even deeper into that poignant personal landscape.
In the middle of his 10-day shoot for Nowhere, Tim Seyfert, who also wrote the screenplay, took time out in the day to tell us about his new feature film.
“I suppose I have a style,” Tim says. “I tend to let things linger and let the writing and performance do the heavy lifting. There’s no spectacle to hide behind in this.” Not surprising for someone who cut their teeth acting and writing. Like his previous work, the shooting style for Nowhere is handheld, fly on the wall, hyper-realistic, allowing for the characters to have time and space to express themselves.
Terminus was about the dissolution of a relationship; Nowhere is more of a one-hander about a young man’s journey of finding the courage to deal with unresolved grief.
We find the main character, Max, at a standstill in life, Tim tells us. “He’s doing everything he can to avoid being connected to anything. He has a job where he’s a supply teacher. He doesn’t let anybody get close to him; he’s committed to absolutely nothing. Because it just terrifies him to be attached to anything. But he runs out of road and has to go through some painful self-discovery before he can start to live his life again.”
Max is played by American actor Derek Nelson, who shares a similar biography with Tim. All the more fitting as the story has a semi-autobiographical edge. Second lead is actress Jennifer Martin, who plays Michele, a kindred spirit to Max, battling her own demons.
The rest of the cast include local actors Kate Edney, Jill Greenacre, Rory Wilton, and Julian Seager. Other than the leads, the team is a predominantly Cornwall-based cast and crew, including first assistant director Georgina Richards and director of photography Andy Qualtrough.
“It’s really humbling to see all these people come together,” says Tim “Everybody is knocking it out of the park. It’s been exceptional. Both the cast and crew have been amazing.”
That can only be all the more satisfying for Tim, who wrote the script a few years ago and has been tweaking and polishing along the way.
“I toyed with the idea of someone else directing,” admits Tim, which he puts down to initial insecurity. Then there was a collective decision, and a huge nudge from his friend and production partner, Ben Fullman, that he should direct the film.
“It’s a personal story, so I rose to the challenge, and now I’m happy I stepped up because I essentially know what I want.” In turn, Tim encouraged Ben to take on the role of producer of Nowhere, despite also being initially reluctant. Together, Tim and Ben co-run the Cornwall based production company Kernowfornia Film Company, which they formed after the success of Terminus.
Despite an extensive resume as an actor, director Tim hasn’t made way for any screen time in Nowhere, not appearing in a single frame of the film. Instead, he’s put all his energy and concentration behind the camera.
“I wanted to ensure that we’re getting everything we need and that the story is being told how I see it, how I wrote it.”
Tim’s tight script was accompanied with a secured cast and a crew before Tim and Ben went to an investor to present them with a ready-made package that included a business plan. The culmination was securing a modest budget for a swift 10-day shoot in Cornwall. Locations were Newquay and a little bit of Truro – with Launceston College doubling for fictional school Heeley Academy.
The production has also benefitted from the kindness of the local community. “We’ve been incredibly lucky with the support we’ve received,” Tim says. “Local bars, schools and people just lending us their time and talent. We honestly could not have done this without that support, and we remain eternally grateful.”
Tim has high hopes that the edit will be completed by Christmas, but at the moment he’s simply enjoying the process of getting the film in the can.
Walking on the moon
“It feels surreal,” he says. And what’s it like making a feature film? “It’s like somebody saying, ‘I hear you’re gonna go walk on the moon. Yeah, good luck, pal.’
“I’ve wanted to be a filmmaker since I was a child, pretty much being raised by the video store, and the fact that I’m now directing a script I’ve written, and seeing it come to life still hasn’t quite sunk in yet. I’m living my dream. I wake up very early each morning with overwhelming excitement about getting back on set and working with the best cast and crew I’ve ever worked with. I’m certainly relishing every second of it.
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