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Kaufman's Game

Kaufman’s Game follows Stanley, an unemployed young man with a passion for boxing, who is keen to improve his strength and stamina. When a stranger approaches him outside the gym with the offer of a specially produced steroid, Stanley is drawn into the ever more violent operations of a powerful organisation, unwittingly entering into a series of tests designed to prove his mettle.
This is a film about power, determination and being your own worst enemy. It celebrates the archetypes of classic Film Noir, and the dark, conspiratorial storytelling technique of Franz Kafka, but with a contemporary minimalist aesthetic.

  • Helier Bissell-Thomas
    The Judicial
  • Helier Bissell-Thomas
    The Judicial
  • Sarah Beth Greaves-Jones
    The Judicial
  • Melody Haller
    The Judicial
  • Helier Bissell-Thomas
    The Judicial
  • Jye Frasca
    Key Cast
    Jersey Boys, Galavant, Reality Mine, Schizo Samurai Shitzu
  • Tor Andreas Fagerland
    Key Cast
    The Call of the Wild, Fjeldeventyret
  • Amy Pemberton
    Key Cast
    Storage 24, Legends of Tomorrow, Casualty, Doctors, Doomsday, Game of Thrones
  • Rupert Shelbourne
    Key Cast
    Consequence, Iron Monk
  • Philippe Jakko
    Allies, La coeur en braille, La Belle Etoile
  • Project Type:
    Feature, Student
  • Genres:
    Thriller, Crime, Neo-Noir, Gangster, Suspense
  • Runtime:
    1 hour 28 minutes 44 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    June 24, 2016
  • Production Budget:
    50,000 GBP
  • Country of Origin:
    United Kingdom
  • Country of Filming:
    United Kingdom
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
    Black & White and Color
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Distribution Information
  • Gravitas Ventures
    Country: Worldwide
    Rights: All Rights
Director Biography - Helier Bissell-Thomas

A twenty four year old Jerseyman, educated in London, Helier has always divided his time between the city and The Channel Islands. With a passion for cinema going back as far as he can remember, Helier began shooting short horror, and comedy films, with his primary school friends on his parents’ digital and analogue video cameras, aged just seven. While attending secondary school Helier’s talent for creative writing was discovered and nurtured by his teachers, and in his early teens Helier continued to write and direct shorts with friends. It was at this time he was lucky enough to be mentored by his film director cousin Philip Clyde-Smith who ran a production company, specialising in adverts and promos, where Helier got his first professional work, and was able to cut his teeth as a filmmaker on a more technical level, learning the tricks and practicalities of shooting to tight schedules on small budgets.
Over the next few years Helier had his award winning shorts, LOVE DOLL, THE OFFSHOOT, and THE JUDICIAL screened at major festivals, including the Raindance Film Festival. While studying at university Helier embarked upon writing his first feature film script, being closely mentored by producer, founder of Raindance and BIFA, and independent filmmaking guru, Elliot Grove. After completing the script, a Gangster/Thriller, the reality dawned on him that in order to make even an independent low budget feature, one must first prove their directing metal with an independent ‘no budget’ feature, so Helier wrote what would become feature film debut: Kaufman’s Game.
He is now in pre-production for his next Kafka-Esque Gangster/Thriller, and also in the process of adapting a play for screen.

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Director Statement

I realised while writing the script that a deliberately conspired atmosphere and minimalist aesthetics weren’t only a common ground of my sources of inspiration for the story, but the best way to make the lowest budget movie look stylish, and occasionally even a little bit expensive. The same psychology of creative decision making applies to the violence. Minimalism and less bloody cinematic violence are the favoured aesthetics of the now.