Pro Moviemaker November 2022 - Web


“The ultimate goal with the project was to make £7000 feel like £700,000 – and the fact that the movie has left people in tears is mind-blowing” Y ou don’t need to break the bank to tell a good story. Or, in this case, wait for your numbers to come up on Lotto. That’s the view of

23-year-old Ryan J Smith, who used an inexpensive Micro Four Thirds camera, some vintage, manual-focus stills lenses and purely natural light to shoot a thriller called Lottery . His aptly titled production group Skint Film Company first shot a trailer, then toured festivals with the finished movie this summer. But things have moved on since then. Now, this micro-budget film is heading to streaming services and indie cinemas in December. The film concerns a young tearaway who wins the lottery, but risks losing it all as he’s forced to battle new enemies and make amends with loved ones. Shot around Lytham St Annes in the north- west of England on a tiny budget, it looks every bit as atmospheric as a well-funded film with an army of technicians. “My ultimate goal with the movie was to make £7000 feel like £700,000 – and the fact that the movie has not only achieved this with those who have seen it, but left them in tears, is mind-blowing,” says Smith. “I have to give all the credit to my expert cast and crew, who graciously invested their talents to elevate the material to a level I didn’t think was going to be possible at our budget. I’m

very excited for a wider audience to see the movie.” Despite still being so young, Smith is driven to make films and get his work out there. “I’ve tried to pin a reason on why I started making movies, but I still can’t figure it out. I genuinely can’t remember any time at any age where I wasn’t shooting something,” he says. “It started with animating Lego motorbikes and now we’re here orchestrating motorbike stunts for real. A part of me blames my godmother Sam for showing me the behind-the-scenes of the original Pirates of the Caribbean . You don’t watch that as a youngster and spend the rest of your life thinking you want to be an accountant!” Lottery was conceived in 2017, while Smith was halfway through studying in the MetFilm School at Ealing Studios. “Cut to 2021 and I had something like eight short films, a music video and three feature films under my belt,” he recalls. “Most had been shot on a Panasonic Lumix G7 with kit lenses. The sheer versatility of it was lightning in a bottle for me when I was starting out – and the all-in-one quality is something I still look for in new gear. “You need to be using affordable kit that has your back, and that camera had mine for a long time. One of my films made on the G7 was a feature documentary shot in Amsterdam called Red Light Solo , which did very well at festivals. The great critical reception of that gave me the firepower needed to be taken seriously when setting up Skint Film Company.” During those early films, Smith ended up doing much of the work himself out of pure necessity. But it’s an incredible grounding. “It’s my firm belief now that you can’t aim to be just a director or just a camera operator, for example. It’s vital to have an invested and genuine interest for every aspect of the production

SHOESTRING BUDGET A Micro Four Thirds Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K and pair of vintage stills photo lenses give Lottery a unique look that perfectly suits the subject matter



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