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Interview: Helier Bissell-Thomas

2 December 17 interview: Ashley Carter

We caught up with filmmaker Bissell-Thomas, whose debut feature Kaufman's Game, shot when he was just 20 years old, screens at The Savoy on December 4th

What is Kaufman’s Game about?

The story follows an aspiring boxer who's trying to succeed at his craft, by any means necessary. This leads him down the rabbit hole of the criminal underworld, getting in way over his head with a quite ruthless organisation, helmed by a mysterious figure. 'Fate' is the big F word here I would say; it's a powerful theme to work with. 

How did you manage to make a feature film at just 20 years of age?

Well, I had plenty of experience making short films and corporate videos already, and I didn't know how to make a feature exactly, so I just innocently assumed that it would be longer version of a short film production, and it worked! But the best way to learn how to make feature length movies is really just to go out there and do it; don't wait for permission, make your own luck and be lucky.

How did you fund the film?

Credit cards. It was a very micro budget production. Everyone watches it and thinks it cost so much, much more than it actually did though, which is flattering to say the least.

Who else worked on the project?

Too many great talents to list, but to name a few I would like to name our amazing Cast; Jye Frasca, Amy Pemberton, Tor Andreas Fagerland, Toby Osmond, Rupert Shelbourne, Jo Diamond, Jonny Lessani, and David K. Whiting. Our amazing Producers; Melody Haller, Sarah Beth Greaves-Jones, Ben Richards and Toby Osmond. Our amazing Editor Michael Rolt. And last but in no way least our amazing Composer Philippe Jakko! 

How has the response been to the film so far?

It's been very strong, and especially by independent movie standards. We've had a great run on the international festival circuit, winning the Gold Award at the L.A. Neo Noir Film Festival, and enjoying a great reception at our Comic Con premiere in London. We recently had a sell out run at Odeon Cinemas in London, which has led to them extending our run and giving us their biggest screen! We're over the moon about this as this never happens to movies without household names in the cast with mainstream cinemas normally.. It might even be some kind of record...


What are your plans for the future with the film?

After our theatrical release window has closed our amazing distributor Gravitas Ventures will be releasing the movie worldwide on view on demand, TV and home video next year.

How can people in Nottingham see the film?

I very much hope the people of Nottingham will head to Savoy Cinema to watch the movie on the Monday, December 4th at 8:20pm, when it will be showing there again (as well as Savoy's other venues)! If enough people head down to watch Kaufman's Game, Savoy Cinemas will be good enough to extend our run with them.  Fans of the Gangster, Thriller and Neo-Noir Genres will really enjoy the movie I have no doubt. It's also a movie to watch if you like reading Kafka... And like watching Stanley Kubrick and Sergio Leone movies...

What is the next project you’re working on?

The story concerns an actor taking a very dangerous role within Los Angeles' most notorious crime family. I'm so excited about it! It's everything I've ever want to make as a director and more! It's gonna be heavy... I'm also adapting period play for screen about Theodore Gericault, and i'm in talks about an unrealised movie project by a late film directing legend... I like to keep busy! 


Kaufman's Game is screening at The Savoy on Monday, December 4th at 8.20pm.  Tickets.

Kaufman's Game Trailer



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