In the robbery-gone-bad film 7 MINUTES, Jay Martin writes and directs a fast paced thriller shown in a series of flashbacks over the course of, you guessed it, seven minutes. The film got its world premiere here at the Austin Film Festival a few days ago.
7 MINUTES tells the story of three friends Sam (Luke Mitchell), Mike (Jason Ritter), and Owen (Zane Holtz) as they take over the small-town bank of Everett, WA. And as soon as we're in the bank, we flashback meeting each character and learning what brought them to the robbery. Each transition deepens the characters and we see how, as Mitchell told us in our interview with him, "These kids don’t know what they’re doing, they’re just kids. I loved the casting of Kevin Gage [actor in HEAT, CON AIR, BLOW] as Tuckey because I think that just perfectly illustrates the difference between the hardened criminal and these kids that are trying to rob a bank but have no idea what they’re doing."
As Mitchell points out, Tuckey (Gage) is the older criminal friend of Owen's dad, Mr. B, played by Kris Kristofferson. Those older guys are the kind of guys that did the "hard time." And they offer cautionary advice and a juxtaposition to the innocence of the three boys. "Don't get caught," says Mr. B to Owen upon picking up his son from prison, advice that drives Owen throughout the rest of the movie. "One of my favorite shots was that scene of me coming out of that prison," Holtz told us.
After getting acquainted with the city of Everett for a few days, one of the first shooting days for Holtz was with Kristofferson. "My first scene up is in that car with Kris Kristofferson and he's driving," he said as director of photography Noah M. Rosenthal laughs. "It was a good thing Kris told me he was wearing his lucky boots," as Rosenthal dives into a story about shooting with Kristofferson. Because the roads were so narrow, with mailboxes and telephone poles lining the pavement, Kristofferson had to drive the car during the shooting of the scene. "He’s driving around, Jay was in the back seat, I’m in a follow vehicle with a monitor and producers and everything and we just start seeing the car drift over." They jumped on the walkie and Kristofferson steered the car right again, but "I think it would have been a fun insurance claim," Rosenthal said.
With AFF known as the "Writers Festival," we asked Martin about the construction of the script. "It started out as a list of bullet points: minute one, minute two, minute three, minute four and it branched out in between and the idea was to use each jump back to tell a different character's backstory as far as I could before the inevitability of plot had to sort of take over," he said.
The story comes from a tale in his family. Generations ago, in 1943, a distant relative robbed his own uncle's bank. Since then, the story has been handed down and handed down, something that plays a large part of the script. "Not only are they the kind of guys that tell these stories they’re actually in one of these stories," Martin said.
Keep an eye out for this movie. We'll keep you updated with information about opportunities to see 7 MINUTES coming up in the future.