• Jeffrey Butscher

Fayetteville Observer

Updated: Jun 9, 2019

Jeffrey Butscher, a 1975 graduate of E.E. Smith High School, co-wrote a movie called “Timecrafters” starring Malcolm McDowell and Denise Richards.

For Jeffrey Butscher, “Timecrafters” has been a long time coming.

But the screenwriter, producer and former Fayetteville resident is confident that the movie he co-wrote is finally going to see the light of day.

That movie is “Timecrafters: The Treasure of Pirates Cove,″ a time-traveling adventure that stars Malcolm McDowell and Denise Richards. It is in post-production, and Butscher hopes it will hit the festival market soon.

“I feel this has kind of all the elements that make for a good film,” Butscher said in a recent telephone interview. “I thought the director did a phenomenal job.”

Butscher, a 1975 graduate of E.E. Smith High School, is the son of June Lancaster and the late Tom Butscher. His stepfather is John Lancaster, a former member of the Cumberland County Board of Education.

After graduation from college in 1979, Butscher worked as an actuarial mathematician, a job that eventually took him to Los Angeles and Nevada. There, he worked in real estate and also tried his hand at writing for television and the movies.

Butscher was an executive producer on a reality show called “Red Hot Design.” He also produced the movies “The Adventures of Ragtime” and “One More Shot.”

About 20 years ago, Butscher began work on the story that would become “Timecrafters” with his friend and writing partner Chip Fraser, who is from the Outer Banks town of Duck.

“This is the first product I’ve sold where I am the writer and originator of the story,” Butscher said.

The story is about time-traveling pirates who try to retrieve a treasure map from kids in a town called Pirate’s Cove. The travelers have to adapt to new technology and other modern ways as they seek the map.

Most of the film takes place in the present day, although it starts out in the 1700s, Butscher said.

McDowell, star of movies including “A Clockwork Orange” and “The Artist,” plays the villainous leader of the pirates. Richards, who starred in “The World is Not Enough” and “Wild Things,” plays the mother of one of the boys. Eric Balfour, known for his role on TV’s “Six Feet Under,” plays a pirate first mate.

“For a small indie film, we were really lucky to get the cast we did,” Butscher said. “They wouldn’t be willing to put their name out there unless they thought it was something special.”

Butscher said he was inspired by boyhood trips to the Outer Banks, where the movie is set. He calls it his “homage” to North Carolina.

Some of the characters were named after Butscher and Fraser’s kids, who were children at the time the project began and are now grown. One of the characters is named Chip after Fraser and another is named Geoffrey, after Butscher.

And although the movie contains elements of science fiction, Butscher said it doesn’t completely fall into that category.

“It’s really not a sci-fi film. It’s really more of a family fantasy adventure,” Butscher said. “For me, it’s almost like ‘National Treasure’ meets ‘Back to the Future’ with a little bit of ‘Goonies’ thrown in.”

The movie was mostly filmed in California, although some shooting was done in North Carolina, Butscher said.

“They built a boat to match a real pirate boat in a studio,” Butscher said. “You really feel like you’re out in the ocean. It’s really kind of trippy.”

Butscher said the film’s director, Rick Spalla, wants to take the film to the Toronto Film Festival in September. After that, he hopes it will premiere in theaters.

Butscher said initial reaction to the film has been so good that there is already talk of a sequel or prequel.

“This is not the last you’ll see of this cast,” Butscher said.

Staff writer Rodger Mullen can be reached at or 910-486-3561.


© 2019