For Craig Nachsin, the fourth time’s a charm. The writer/producer is greenlighting production on his fourth screenplay, “Time.” Shooting a trailer for the film last August to create some buzz, the producer has a core team attached that he is confident will produce a festival winner.
“We’re going to be shooting this in February and March and edit it in March, April and May to have it ready for Sundance, Cannes, Tribeca, Toronto,” Nachsin, who was born at Fifth and Shunk streets, said. “We have some really great people, we’ve been very fortunate — two of the hottest Philadelphia actors are on board and a lot of unbelievable talent.”
The production, which is still in the fundraising process, is using the much-buzzed-about Red camera that purports to shoot film-quality images on a digital platform. The artists at the helm are director Rob Horwitz and director of photography Bill Simone.
“I finished watching ‘12 Angry Men’ and when I got done watching it, it resonated with me. I thought it was a really incredible concept,“ the 44-year-old said. “I finished writing ‘Time’ four years ago, give or take … and my finances changed a lot in the past four years. I’m a father of three and married.”
Taking inspiration from the 1957 seminal Henry Fonda flick where 12 jurors debate the guilt and innocence of a defendant, Nachsin’s film is an extension of the dynamics of bringing strangers into a confined space and watching their interactions.
“I want to say why this movie has impacted people so much. The one thing that makes the script so special is it’s real. It’s so not politically safe. It dives deep and really strikes a nerve,” Nachsin said of the story that features 10 characters in a hospital waiting room as they explore topics such as race, religion and homosexuality. “As a writer, everyone has an ultimate message. But this film has a lot of messages and I wanted it to be balanced and I wanted to have both sides.”
As the pieces continue to fall into place, the cast and crew — a lot of whom, the producer says, are “working for the love of the project” — are gearing up for production.
“Rob, who is still a student, he is phenomenal. And he was reaching out to Bill Simone, who is our DP, and he is amazing with light and sound,” Nachsin, who is taking his first turn at producing a feature-length script, said. “It’s like a football team: It’s OK to have some young blood as long as you have some seasoned vets.”
With the core group on board, scenes are already being scheduled at local areas, including a staged wedding at Galdo’s, 20th Street and Moyamensing Avenue.
“I liked the relationship and rapport I have with [Galdo’s],” Nachsin said of choosing to shoot in the South Philly catering and entertainment complex. “They embraced the project with open arms and ‘Rocky’ is one of my favorite films. The first two Rockys, actually. I just absolutely love them and I want some of the film to have the Philadelphia feel to it. We will have some establishing shots and the lead characters are from Philly. There is a scene where you see him in his row home in Philly.”
Nachsin’s family owned and operated Karr Brothers, a men’s clothing store, on South Street for close to 40 years. When Nachsin was born, he spent his first few years with his grandparents who lived in Whitman before moving to Northeast Philly.
“[I was there] when I was a little kid, that’s kind of where my roots are,” Nachsin, who now resides in New Jersey, said.
After attending high school Nachsin began business school at Penn State but spent only two years there before leaving to tend to his burgeoning disc jockeying business.
“I never finished. I still DJ part-time and I’ve been doing that since 1987,” he said. “My real love is — I mean I love music — but I absolutely am so passionate about [film].
“I got serious about it 17 years ago. I finished my first screenplay, finished it 16 years ago. Ever since I was a little kid — if the average kid watched three movies a week, I watched 25 movies a week. I did some sports and stuff, too, but I’d watch the creature double feature.”
As times changed, so too did Nachsin. The old Hollywood way says that a big budget is needed for a big payout, but the proliferation of high-quality affordable equipment means the old model is no longer the only way.
“‘The Truth About Average Guys.’ It was shot for $5,000. It was really good, you have to check it out,” Nachsin said about the 2009 short by writer/directors Ken Gayton and Jason Schaver. “I watched it and it blew me away. This movie is better than 85 percent of the Hollywood junk.”
After speaking with Gayton, Nachsin realized he could produce a quality version of ‘Time’ on a budget much lower than he anticipated. He quickly set to work on pulling together his dream team to make it happen.
“I love it all. I love producing. My director and I cast everybody,” Nachsin said, adding with a laugh, “They are all Eagles fans. I think all of them, that’s important when you’re making a film.”
Nachsin and his crew have high hopes for the completed work and are heading in to production with smiles on their faces and faith in the cast they have pulled together.
“The two most important things are the story and the actors,” he said. “And you need to be able to hear and see them.” SPR