UT alumni premiere film ‘Time Trap’ in Texas

Grace Speas

Film directors and UT alumni Mark Dennis and Ben Foster spent their college years brainstorming project ideas at Madam Mam’s over pad thai and $2 beer. They celebrated with the same meal after their film, “Time Trap,” premiered in Texas at the Austin Film Festival on Saturday night.

“Time Trap,” shown at the Galaxy Highland 10 movie theater to a crowd spilling into the aisles, was shot beginning in 2015 and had its world premiere in May 2016 at the Seattle International Film Festival. The movie will play again in Austin on Nov. 1 at the Long Center for the Performing Arts.

The movie’s plot surrounds a group of archeology college students who stumble into a cave searching for their missing professor, played by Andrew Wilson, Owen Wilson’s brother. Cassidy Gifford, daughter of Kathie Lee Gifford, is another notable actor in the movie.

While on their search, the students discover that the cave speeds up time. The students find aliens, cowboys and cavemen who have all stumbled into the cave’s time warp.

Dennis said he got the idea for the movie while trying to cast celebrities for another movie he was writing. He gave the actors two weeks to reply to his offers, but the wait was agonizing, Dennis said.

“I remember thinking, ‘If I could just go into this closet right here and come out two weeks later, I’d have my answer,’” Dennis said. “Then I thought, ‘Well that’s a cool concept.’ But I didn’t think ‘Time Closet’ would be a good name for a movie, so we made it caves instead.”

The pair then decided to switch gears and make “Time Trap” their big project, but they needed mentors to guide them through the logistics, Foster said.

“We can get a movie shot and done, but we don’t know what the hell to do with it and how to deal with agents and managers and casting directors,” Foster said.

“Time Trap’s” set also served as a learning opportunity for radio-television-film senior Nic Bonesteel, who worked as an intern in the movie’s production design department.

“Their movie was the highest budget movie I’ve ever worked on,” Bonesteel said. “Working on it opened my eyes to how I should be acting on set and how things will be run after college.”

“Time Trap” will play at the Hollywood Film Festival in November and Japan’s Yubari International Fantastic Film Festival in March.