Festivals TV & Film

AFF 2014: Q&A with Cinematographer and Actor of “7 Minutes”

Note: This Q&A contains some minor spoilers.

Would you ever rob a bank? Chances are you wouldn’t, but what if you had no other choice?

“7 Minutes” is the story of three friends who are forced to commit a brazen robbery due to a series of bad decisions. We spoke with actor Zane Holtz and cinematographer Noah Rosenthal about the making of “7 Minutes” and what it was like on set. (Also check out our interview with the director and lead actor!)

Interview conducted by TV and Film Editor Emma Ledford

Shuffle sat down with cinematographer Noah Rosenthal and actor Zane Holtz to talk about their new film “7 Minutes.”

Shuffle: What drew you to this film?

Noah Rosenthal: I’ve always wanted to do a heist movie. I’ve always been fascinated with film noir and that type of genre, so this was a real opportunity for me to do something that was a little bit more action packed. I had just done a film noir called “Cold Comes the Night” which was a lot more slow moving, and this had the pace and the action that kind of drew me to the script. And also the fact that it wasn’t just heist and action, but there was character work, and there were relationships that were being developed, and it really, I think, hits an emotional core as well as being a fun ride.

Shuffle: What about you, Zane?

Zane Holtz: I had read the script. I thought the script was interesting and cool. I liked the, sort of, back-and-forth, non-linear narrative it has, and I thought that I had an opportunity to do something cool with that character. I came and auditioned and did something in the room that I guess they liked, and I showed up and kept doing it.

Shuffle: You mentioned the non-linear narrative. What do y’all think the non-linear narrative adds to the movie? Why did you decide to do it that way?

Zane: I mean, I didn’t decide to do it that way. [Laughs] I just showed up and said my words, you know? But I think it gives a lot. I was engaged reading it, so I feel like that translated really well to the screen, because there’s a lot of things you find out about these characters after you’ve – maybe you’ve seen them commit some sort of an act or act a certain way – and then you get to see later on in the film that they’re really this way. Or these are just guys who are buddies and they’re caught up in this thing, that they’re in over their heads. And I think it’s especially powerful maybe if a character dies. And then you’d imagine he’d be out of the movie, but then here comes back up onscreen and maybe you see him with his kid, or with his brother, and you’re like “Oh man.” It makes it that much more impactful that you know that character is gonna be gone.

Noah: I think that it allows a layer of a whodunnit in a way. Not specifically mystery, but kind of trying to figure out and understand what is it that will motivate these people to do it.

Zane: Whydunnit.

Noah: A whydunnit. Which is interesting because there’s so many different layers. Just as you’ve figured out the dynamic, there’s another double cross of some sort, which makes it fun and unexpected. I think a linear telling of this story would be very interesting, and would still have, sort of, the emotional payoff, but it wouldn’t have the flair and the, kind of, style that it does in a non-linear.

Shuffle: What was it like on set?

Zane: We had a great time. I mean, we all hung out. Both the cast, and then Noah and Jay and other people involved with the production. We had a great time being around each other and being in a cool new city. I think any time you get to travel for work and shoot on a practical location – not that you’re on vacation – but that you’re somewhere new… you’re going to camp to make a movie, you know? You’re in a new place with new people. It’s a great time. And as long as those people end up being… you know… not a-holes, everybody has fun. And we got lucky and everybody on this movie was just a pleasure to work with and we had a great time.

Noah: Yeah, I mean, I think for me it was a lot of fun because we had such great locations. It was fun trying to figure out how to make them work. You know, yes, this movie is a smaller-budget movie, so there are these challenges that exist in terms of you can’t get everything that you want, you know? So what did they say – you can’t be good, fast and cheap – you can be two of the three. So trying to figure out where do we need to move fast, where can we save money, where can things be more specific, and where do you have to, you know, trade off on that stuff. When you have locations that are in a practical place as opposed to a set, you get the opportunity to shoot some really good stuff. So I think that was fun, and the scene work was all really good, and all the actors were able to be in their character space, but also not so far into that headspace that we weren’t having fun as well. Sometimes you get on sets and you see everybody works differently, and some actors will be a little bit focused in a way, guarded or standoffish because they don’t necessarily move between the two worlds of their performance and them just being normal people. But all these guys are so professional that we can have fun between takes and in between shots, and so that was really nice as well.

Shuffle: Where did y’all shoot?

Zane: Everett, Washington in Snohomish County. It’s outside of Seattle.

Shuffle: Well I think that’s all I had! Do y’all have anything to add?

Zane: “7 Minutes” is a great movie, everybody should come see it and… uh… the screening was a smash hit, and people loved it, and come see it at a theater near you!

Shuffle: Which actually reminds me, what’s coming up next for this movie?

Noah: I think there will be probably some announcements in the coming weeks about what’s next for it.

Zane: Distribution and whatnot.

Noah: There’s some stuff in the works.

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