Helier Bissell-Thomas made the film, Kaufman’s Game, at university on a budget of £60,000, which he financed by credit cards and a loan.
Mr Bissell-Thomas was only 20 when he directed the film as part of his course. The film – which follows Stanley, an unemployed young man with a passion for boxing who becomes a pawn in a world populated by wealthy and powerful criminals – has won a gold award at the LA Neo Noir Film Festival. It was shown in selected Odeon and Savoy cinemas across London at the end of last year.
The film is being shown in Jersey Arts Centre on Tuesday the 30 January at 8 pm and is due to be shown again in the summer.
When asked why he felt the film had had so much success, Mr Bissell-Thomas said that the recurring theme in conversations he has had with people in the industry about the film was that it ‘isn’t like other British gangster films’.
Mr Bissell-Thomas said: ‘Over the last ten to15 years most British gangster films have been stuck in that “Guy Ritchie Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels” sub genre.
‘Whereas, with Kaufman’s Game, I wanted to strip away all the “guns and geezers” and focus on the actual origins of the genre, which is essentially film noir, and go right back to films like The Big Sleep with Lauren Bacall and Humphrey Bogart, take those archetypes and apply them to the London aesthetic.’
He added: ‘The experience is a little bit surreal but I’m also conscious this is a “lightning in a bottle” opportunity that me and the team need to maximise.’
Kaufman’s Game, will also be showing at the Snowdance film festival in Germany from 27 January to 4 February.