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Brad Hoover, Kira Bursky, Wayne Culpepper.jpg

Kira is very generous with her time whether it is exposing new talent in her cast and crew or calling attention to social issues in the films she creates.

When I asked her about why she takes on these subjects here is what she told me.  

"It's so hard for me to answer this question because I have so many things to say about this! But, simply put:  I am drawn towards telling stories about things that make me uncomfortable. If I feel uncomfortable about a topic... then I must make a film about it! 

These social issues become synonymous for taboo issues. I feel so passionately opposed to allowing this pattern to continue. So this is why when I feel uncomfortable. I know that I need to say something. If I don't, I am contributing to this culture of being quiet about things that make us uncomfortable. I think it is my duty as an artist to address topics that are 'hush hush.' In my work (just to name a few of the topics) I've dealt with depression, sexuality, warped body image, and now sexual assault and abusive relationships-- these are all topics that are hard to talk about. But we need to talk about these things! If one person lets down their guard and tells their story, who knows who will be listening and touched by the honesty. It can start a chain reaction of recreating this culture of taboo to a culture of free voices and open arms. I believe I, as well as every other human being, should feel comfortable expressing themselves, even if expressing themselves means talking about something scary or seemingly 'shameful.' That word 'shameful' should not be tied to those who are suffering or have been abused. No one should be embarrassed, guilty, or ashamed.

I guess that wasn't really simply put. But I'll try this once more: I often choose social issues because I need to address them. I just need to."

Filmmaking is her passion and she has modest budgets for the quality of films she delivers.  If you're not already familiar with her skills please check out some of the links below and acquaint yourself with her work.  There are many fine examples on Vimeo such as Bye Bye Lullaby, Girly, Clean, Sleepyhead, and Fool's Paradise.

Tree Hugger is fresh off it's worldwide film festival tour and is scheduled for an online premiere on Saturday.  If you would like to see the film, then click on the link below which will take you to a Facebook invitation page where you can login to Facebook and select "Going" and you will be notified on Saturday when the online premiere begins with the link you will need to view it.



*** Remember to login to Facebook and select "Going" just 
below the photo at the top of the page to be notified of the event. ***



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I recently saw Union Bound and was pleasantly surprised. Great story. Pam & Bill Jay (descendents of Joseph Hoover who kept the diary the film is based pm), I can see why you are happy about the movie. All of the actors were very good and the wardrobe authentic. The first thing I noticed was the cinematography and the attention to detail. The next thing I noticed was the soundtrack. Not overpowering but just right to convey the emotion of each particular scene. Kudos to everyone who worked on this movie. Also, hats off to the editing department.

This movie is a drama that shows us a slice of what the Civil War was like. From the viewpoint of a captured Union Soldier. Although it does have some Civil War battle scenes it is not a film about the large scale conflicts, but more of the personal ones. To my relief there is not  a blockbuster action scene around each corner. If this interests you so far then Union Bound is the movie for you to see.


Harvey Lowry2.jpgThe director of Union Bound, Harvey Lowry, is an active man who's years of work in the film industry betray his youthful appearance. I found that we share a common love for the outdoors and backpacking. Harvey revealed to me he was planning an ascent of Mt. McKinley. Being at home in the outdoors must have come in handy during the making of this movie as only one day was spent on a soundstage. The rest were outside, mostly around Stagville Plantation in the heat of the North Carolina summer with the ticks, flies, and other wildlife.

It was even worse for the actors as they had on layered wool and cotton clothing. At least one crew member had to go to the hospital after collapsing on set.

That's the price you pay when you have a good story to tell. Union Bound is one of them.  The movie got its start from diaries kept by Joseph Hoover during the Civil War. Pam Jay, a descendant of Joseph approached Michael Davis, the producer of Union Bound, with the diaries. Her husband Bill had painstakingly transcribed them so they could easily be read. After looking over them Michael knew this was a story he wanted to tell so he contacted John Errington to write the screenplay and Harvey to direct. The rest, as they say, is history.

I wanted to know more about how Harvey got involved. Here is what told me. "When considering a film to direct, I consider a number of things. First, everything starts with a good script. When I read the Union Bound script, I was really impressed with the story, the characters, the dialogue and the fact that it was all a true story. John did a wonderful job in writing the script.

The second thing to consider is the team. When I was first introduced to Michael, the producer, we hit it off pretty well. He's a great guy who was passionate about the project and I felt it in his pitch. It was an easy decision to collaborate with him.

Other points to consider include: Is this a film I would want to see? Is this a project I would be proud of? Is this a film in line with my moral beliefs? There are a multitude of things to consider, and I was very excited that Union Bound was an easy decision across the board."


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Here's a young lady I hope and think we'll be seeing a lot more of. Bev Tan has her feet wet in both the commerce and art sides of filmmaking.  By day, a mild mannered member of a social marketing team. By night a creative filmmaker willing to take on the social issues of the day.

Born in New York City eventually ending up in North Carolina and going to high school in Holly Springs. Bev made up her mind very early what she wanted to do in life. "I decided I wanted to be a filmmaker when I was 7 years old." To fulfill that desire she eventually ended up at Western Carolina University. "I went to film school at Western Carolina University and worked as a photographer and freelance writer as well during that. I also minored in poetry. I have always been in love with filmmaking but I did change my concentration 5 times, beginning and ending with producing."
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Ringfinger is a comedy about a reluctant, but soon to be bride that is on a mission to find the wedding rings her brother lost the night before the wedding. What else could go wrong? I have a feeling "a lot."

The brainchild of Derek Tilton and Bryant Zambrano who have a certain rare sense of humor. If you don't believe me then take a look at their series The Affordable Eight.  There are eight 1-2 minute slices of life that focus on the travails of one character "Dude" played by Bryant. Be sure to check out Warm Milk. I think we can all identify with that one.

The film is currently in pre-production and will be shot in the wonderful countryside of Asheville, North Carolina. Some of the actors you'll be seeing will be Keenan Edge as Luke, Morgan Peterson as Audrey, Bryant Zambrano as Carlos, Megan Waller as Lydia and Jake Whaley as Sam.



Jaysen Buterin.jpgPremiering this week at the Mysticon Independent Film Festival is Don't Let The Light In  by Jaysen P. Buterin.


Having been a filmmaker for going on 10 years now. Jaysen has written 20 screenplays and directed many of them.  He is also an actor who works with some  of the top producers and directors in the southeast.


The first thing you notice about Jaysen is that he is an eloquent conversationalist.The next  thing that became evident when asking about the movies he watched as a kid,  is that he  loves horror. Raised on the classics by his dad. I'm sure he will pass it on to his own son, and to us, through his filmmaking.


Don't Let The Light In is a good example. A tale of a young boy and his babysitter. As we are getting to know Sarah and Jack, the boy nonchalantly mentions that he has monsters in his room. Sarah patronizes the child  but is surprised at what she discovers.



Potpourri

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Survivor Lilly 1.jpg

Three things become evident when you tune into Survivor Lilly's YouTube channel. She loves the outdoors, she has a passion for practicing bushcraft skills and she is almost always accompanied by her faithful companion, Dax. She also likes filming her activities for the world to see and we all can be grateful for that.


Map of South Carolina highlighting York County

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Effort is underway to create a first class movie studio on 124 acres of land at the Catawba Indian Nation near Rock Hill, South Carolina. $485,000 has been spent on the study so for the project that is expected to cost $45 million. The study will be completed this spring and if all goes as planned the first phase, sound stages and visitors center, could be completed within a year.

Plans  include production suites, an iMax style theater, a film school, and  a music school. Studio South and Pacific Ventures will develop, build and manage the complex.

Maid to Order - Pilot

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Here is the pilot for Maid to Order a new series by Katie Carpenter and Going Cheek Productions.

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As a struggling actress, Margot (Katie) and her friend June (Kendra Staub) come up with a plan to help make ends meet between acting assignments. It has the feel of popular shows like Portlandia and Broad City.  Looking forward to seeing the series.




Katie Carpenter - Maid to Order

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Katie Carpenter by Marie Thomas.jpg
Photo Credit: Marie Thomas
Katie Carpenter is an actress I first heard about when she was filming Fix It In Post as Lexy. A zombie comedy where Katie plays a featherbrained young actor. The director, Christine Parker, was proud to have Katie as one of the stars saying "She was a natural as the ditzy self absorbed actress in Fix It In Post. No one could have played that part as well." Brett Mullen was one of the cinematographers on that movie and is currently collaborating with Katie on her latest creation Maid To Order.

Maid To Order is a webseries created by and starring Katie as a struggling young actress (see the parallel?) that has resorted to running a fetish cleaning business to make ends meet. Her customers begin to asked for very strange things by her clients. The dilemma...how to keep her dignity and continue on her path as an actress. 



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Kimberly Dawn in A Father's Love

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Kimberly Dawn (also known as Kimberly Hester Huffstetler) is an actor from Gastonia, North Carolina who has been in the business for about two years. In that short amount of time she has been a part of many productions, both big and small , working on some 60 sets here in the southeast.

One of those movies is Darren Conrad's A Father's Love which is currently in production. Here's what Darren had to say about her.

"Kimberly Dawn and I have been good friends for several years!  She has always been so kind and supportive of my work as an actor and filmmaker.  As Kim became interested in the craft of acting, I started noticing her work and how professional she comes across both promoting herself and others.  After Kim worked with me as Featured Background on The Kill Switch and Partners, I felt it was time to see her in action as a Principal Character.  When I started writing A Father's Love, something about the way she speaks and the way she looks became my vision for 'Nurse Millie'.  In shooting her scenes on Sunday, November 8, 2015, Kimberly showed me she can hold her own.  She is very natural, organic, and soft spoken.  She definitely has a 'Niche'.  I was so proud of her on this film and will definitely consider her for other projects I write in my future.  She is a very sweet, compassionate, and caring woman.  'A GREAT FRIEND and HARD WORKER!'"

I had a chance to speak with Kimberly this past fall to learn more about what she is doing. See the interview below to learn more about her and some of the movies she's participated in and the directors she has worked with.

Featured Short Film

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LaShawn Woolridge 2.jpg
LaShawn Woolridge, who performs under the name "Poe Anonymous", is a writer, actor, songstress, and poet who has just graduated from Winthrop University. While there, in addition to her work in theatre, she founded the organization Winthrop Def Poets Society.

Def Poets Society, a community for students that are passionate about the spoken word, held a college tour this year called Souls n Substance with events at the University of South Carolina and Clemson University, as well as Winthrop University.

Poe Anonymous will be performing as the featured artist in the Charlotte, North Carolina area over the next few weeks at these locations:


Kira Bursky at All American High School Film Festival.jpg

"The biggest thing I found at Cannes Film Festival is that every single teeny tiny moment is potentially a big moment of networking."


Kira never ceases to amaze me with her enthusiasm and ability to be at the right place at the right time. Her next project, Big Little Filmmaker (due to launch on the 1st of November), is a website and company devoted to young filmmakers and film festivals for students as well as job opportunities for young filmmaking talent and crews.

We wish her the best with her new venture and hope she still has the time to continue making the creative films she's best known for.

Read our latest interview with Kira and if you're between the ages of 12 and 22 go to the link below and add you name and email address to be notified of the launch and other activities.

 

 

Rhymefest in Manchester, on tour with Kanye West

Rhymefest i(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In this article by Marlow Stern the award winning songwriter for Kanye West and John Legend talks about the Academy Awards, songwriting, and his new documentary In My Father's House.

"My ASCAP royalty checks went from a lot to almost nothing."





A select group of films will be shown with the directors there for a discussion and  Q&A along with a meet and greet.



HONEYSPIDER DVD release next week.

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Honeyspider DVD Release.jpgKenny Caperton and Josh Hasty are celebrating the upcoming release of HONEYSPIDER on DVD.



Darren Conrad: A Father's Love

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Darren Conrad 1.jpgDarren Conrad is a work in progress, constantly honing his filmmaking skills. A hard working man. He is a highway patrolman by day (or night) who fills most of the rest of his time making films. Not content to just act, he also writes screenplays and produces his own works as well as helping other filmmakers with their projects.  Darren has done his share in other departments too. From casting director to wardrobe, makeup, set design, and assistant director. All the while making friends and business contacts.  Filmmaking is a team sport so this comes back to him when he needs help with one of his projects.

Over the years he has stepped up his game by investing more time and effort with each new film.  Finding the right actors for the roles and using the best equipment and production talent he can procure in order to deliver a quality piece of work. Hashing out the details with his go-to director (Jesse Knight)  for the Partners series and his latest film A Father's Love. Whatever it takes.