Pooling their resources together, it appears the film department at Ringling College and the thespian talents at the Asolo Conservatory may have a winning ticket with The Lucky 6. We spoke with director Brad Battersy about the film, which has been selling enough tickets of its own to be granted a third screening at this year’s Sarasota Film Festival.The Lucky 6 tells the story of a group of co-workers who go in together to buy a lottery ticket and get rich. The film, shot entirely in the Sarasota area, made it into the SFF line-up for 2014 and hosts its world premiere on Sunday, April 6, at 12:15pm.
In real life, the film marks a milestone for educational institutions, the first successful collaboration between Florida State University’s Asolo Conservatory for Actor Training and Ringling College of Art and Design’s Digital Filmmaking Department. In the summer of 2013, the two institutions held their first Summer Feature Film Program, a workshop between the institutions held in hopes of creating a joint project.
Battersby, Digital Filmmaking department head at Ringling, said the collaboration was valuable for his institution because it taught the filmmaking majors in his classes the value of working closely with talent. “That was my motive,” he says, “to give my students a deeper understanding of how to work with actors, to talk their language and to help them create a performance for a film.”
Battersby connected with Andrei Malaev-Babel, who teaches first year acting as part of the Asolo conservatory. “We really hit it off,” Battersby recalls. “We shared a common approach to acting.”
The Asolo pulled together a principal cast of eight people: Andrea Adnoff, Jacob Cooper, Jesse Dornan, Joseph McGranaghan, Brendan Ragan, Francisco Rodriguez, Lindsay Tornquist and Erin Whitney. While the Asolo is known primarily for stage productions, the graduate level acting program hosts trained and aspiring talents anxious to get experience in front of the camera as well.
The film was shot in the summer because that was the time when classes were less likely to conflict with production. While the film would focus on a story Battersby had already conceived with his daughter, the workshop process established the time of year action took place, the setting as Sarasota and other elements. Certain characters were developed with the help of the actors involved.
“We wanted to open up the process to the actors and let them in on creating their own characters, to say who they were and what they would do with this money,” Battersby said. “It was great and it really allowed the actors to identify and commit early on and quickly to the movie and its characters. We were co-inventing.”
Filming stretched from the second week in May through the second week in June, with a total of 27 days of filming. Editing was taking place even in the last weeks leading into the festival.
The movie has been selling well for the festival, and has three screenings: Sunday April 6 at 12:15pm; Monday April 7 at 6:45pm; and Tuesday April 8 at 8:45pm. But while it’s selling plenty of tickets now, one of the most interesting elements of the film in Battersby’s eyes is that it was made without profit in mind at all. “It was a nonprofit enterprise from the get-go,” he said. “Most films have some commercial component; their purpose is to find an audience and make some money. This movie was made with none of those thoughts in mind. We were simply making it for the benefit of the experience of making a feature film.”