Making Time (2020)

Everyone dreams of second chances as they fight their demons of regret over past decisions and time wasted.

This is the quandary facing Nick (Mason Heidger), a loveable “mad scientist” obsessed with the concept of time travel. Now, seven years after his first experiments, his career and finances are in a shambles, his family and friends have abandoned him, and his marriage with Jess (Tori Titmas) has ended in divorce — which exacerbates his resolve to make the hypothetical a scientific reality. If he can make his machine work so he can get a government contract, he can get his life back. . . .

Nick’s fortunes change when a consortium realizes Nick is closer to success than Dr. Kent (Steve Berglund), their own frazzled, chief time travel physicist. Nick will receive the funding needed to finish the project and have a permanent job, provided he travels with Dr. Kent into the past. And it works . . . and the machine blows the home’s fuse box and leaves them stranded seven years in the past, as they wait several hours for the machine to recharge its mainframe.

The temptation to “break the rules of time travel,” i.e., not tampering with the past and altering the present, complicate the trip when Nick discovers he’s surrounded by the friends and family that once shunned him — on the night of his engagement party when he first proposed to Jess, the woman he just divorced.

As the tagline on the theatrical one-sheet states: Making Time was shot in two days. . . .

And the genesis of the film was . . . a home renovation.

Writer-director Grant Pichla and his wife, Lyndsay, were in the process of remodeling their suburban home, so Pichla “seized the day” by using the real life “set” as an opportunity to illustrate time travel. Principal photography of first half of the film — the past, with the house in a shambles — was filmed in “real time” over the course of one day. The second half of the film — the present, with the remodel completed — was film seven months later.

If you’re familiar with the intelligence of Shane Carruth’s low-budget time travel drama Primer and Charlie Kaufman’s (Adaptation) sci-fi romance Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (both 2004), then you’ll enjoy the character-driven premise of Grant Pichla’s sophomore feature film (his first was 2014’s Niner). If you connected with the scientific wanderlust of the recently released Red Rover, Shane Belcourt’s indie rom-com centered around the Mars One Project, you’ll enjoy this inventive time travel romance.

Making Time is, in fact, the second low-budget time travel movie I’ve watched this year: the other was the sci-fi rom-com Same Boat. And as with that utterly brilliant Chris Roberti-directed film, Making Time is the type of film that inspires mainstream A-List producers to take notice. And as with my prediction that we’ll be seeing more from Chris Roberti: we’ll be seeing more from Grant Pichla. It’s just a matter of time. And the clock will strike sooner, than later.

The same holds true for Michigan-based lead actor Mason Heidger, who’s appeared in an array of shorts and indie features (along with a dayplayer role as Officer Rucka in the Detroit-shot scenes of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice). His co-star, Tori Titmas, recently made her feature film screenwriting debut with the comedy The Girls of Summer.

As I watched Heidger’s performance unfold, I was reminded of the acting brilliance of Jim Parsons in his portrayal of Sheldon Cooper in CBS-TV’s The Big Bang Theory. Heidger’s thespian skills in rattling off scientific expositional dialogue are on equal. Is the “science” of time accurately based in theoretical physics and quantum mechanics? Is it all just a screenwriting trick-of-the-keyboard? No matter. It is written and acted with such conviction by team Pichla-Heidger, that they convinced me — as I ponder what reading materials, besides filmmaking texts, sits on the shelves of Pichla’s remodeled house.

My only quibble (and it’s not a deal breaker) with the film is the time machine itself. In the lo-fi lands of indie film, we’re certainly not expecting a Robert Zemeckis-inspired DeLorean to appear . . . but what “sold” Shane Carruth’s Primer to indie-fans was the inventive construction of his lab and its related props on-a-budget. In Making Time, the time machine does appear, as one thread reviewer pointed out, to be a (black) sheet draped over a cone strung with Christmas lights (and a short stack of DVD decks/cable boxes “hooked” up to an iPad). But hey, actor Peter Fonda rigged up 8-Track players to send (nude) people through time in an underground desert bunker in Idaho Transfer — and Sam and I like that Mill Creek public domain ditty. And I enjoyed Making Time.

After a successful festival run — where it won awards for Best Acting Performance of the Year and Best Supporting Actress at the 2019 LA Actors Awards, and Best Indie Feature at the 2020 Vegas Movie Awards — Making Time began streaming in the online marketplace via Amazon Prime and premiered this month as a free-with-ads stream on TubiTV through Indie Rights Movies. You can learn more about the film at its official Facebook page.

You can learn more about IRM’s roster of films on their official website, along with their Facebook and You Tube pages. Back in March and April, we reviewed two of Indie Rights’ most recent releases: M.O.M: Mother of Monsters (starring Ed Asner of TV’s Lou Grant fame) and the equally intelligent and inventive sci-fi thriller Double Riddle. You can also watch Tori Titmas in The Girls of Summer — directed by . . . wait for it . . . only at B&S About Movies . . . John D. Hancock, the writer-director of the 1971 Drive-In psychological-horror classic Let’s Scare Jessica to Death — via IRM on TubiTV.

Disclaimer: We weren’t provided an advanced screener or a review request by the film’s PR company, distributor, or director. We discovered this film all on our own via social media and genuinely enjoyed the movie.

About the Author: You can learn more about the writings of R.D Francis on Facebook. He also writes for B&S About Movies.

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