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Kira Bursky's Tree Hugger - Update

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Brad Hoover, Kira Bursky, Wayne Culpepper.jpg
Editors Note:

The Kickstarter to raise funds for Tree Hugger is nearing it's end with one more day to go. The goal is about halfway met but the funds will only be available if fully funded.  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 set a modest budget 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.

Now is a great time to be generous to her and her goal of bringing awareness of sexual abuse to the screen in a way only an artist can.  There are many nice perks for every budget and any one of them would be a special present for a friend or loved one if given in their behalf.




To learn more about Tree Hugger and how you can help go to:





Featured Short Film

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RĂ©alisation d'un film

Image by Danilo Prates via Wikipedia





Film Riot from Revision 3 and Triune Films brings you filmmaking techniques, production tips, and DIY projects for filmmakers.  Directed and hosted by Ryan Connolly.








   

GSN This Week

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Casting calls, film & music festivals, and theater events coming up this week.


Take 5!

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News and more from around the web.


Ani DeFranco loves the music of New Orleans.

Aimee Mann on songwriting and songlistening.

Ever wonder what it's like backstage at a rock concert?  Lisa Robinson, a music journalist, gives some insight in this article taken from her memoirs.


Janis Joplin - What Price Fame?
Read about Janis here Janis Joplin's Kosmic Blues




Taylow Swift has chosen to remove all her content from Spotify because they pay less in royalties that other music services.
  







Aidy Bryant discusses working on Saturday Night Live and how she got the job.

Read about it at thedailybeast.com






Death & The Robot

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Death & The Robot is a stop-motion animated film directed by  Austin Taylor  and written by Austin and Alex Thompson.

Made at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts on a very tight budget ($1,500) it involves 2D animation and CGI as well as the actual stop-motion figures used in the production.

"The film takes place on a world where there is no longer any life - just an endless sea of graves - and a personification of Death has grown terribly bored without any more life to take. When she (yes, Death is a "she" in the film's world) meets a hapless steam-powered Robot who has been secretly sustaining an underground greenhouse for centuries, an unlikely friendship emerges between them - but at a severe cost..."  - Alex Thompson 



Potpourri

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From another era.

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Photo Credit: Kim Nance Misenheimer


SXSW.jpgThe Great Invisible is a documentary about the negligence that resulted in the Gulf of Mexico oil spill of 2014.  Margaret Brown, who grew up in the Gulf area, was awarded the Grand Jury Prize at the South by Southwest Documentary Feature Competition for her work on the film.



What would it be like to not trust anyone?  No one to rely on. To feel the need to protect you and yours at all costs.  To act first..., on instinct, and ask later.


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A glimpse into this world is what you will see in Jesse Knight's Guns, Water & Food: An American Story.  A short film made in the mountains of Western North Carolina.  What would you do after a disaster where all forms of civilization ceased to exist?  How would you cope?

I've known a few men who were scarred by the effects of war and what they had to endure to survive. Never, did they talk much about it but you could tell in the way they would avoid the subject that it haunted them.  Suffering in silence. Not wanting to remember, only to revisit it in their nightmares.  The terror they must have felt and now wish they could forget.  

I mention this because sometimes, what goes on in the mind can be our worst enemy.  Whether real or imagined, irrational thoughts can lead to actions we wish we had not taken.  Such is the case with the character in this story.



Aislin answers my questions as we talk about her acting and performing career both deliberately and thoughtfully. Better than you might expect from someone who is barely a teenager. You can tell she wants to get it right. Her poise is no surprise though as she has been active as a performer since she was 3 years old. That builds character.

The daughter of nature loving and artistic parents, her mother worked at a performing arts school for a time and her father is an art gallery owner in Asheville, North Carolina.  She grew up surrounded by talent and enlightened minds. Not to mention the support she has received from her parents and mentors along the way.  That can make a big difference in the formative years.

 You can tell a lot about a person by the people they regard as role models. For Aislin it is Emma Watson for being a down to earth actor that uses her celebrity to bring attention to the causes she favors and Malala Yousafzai for her bravery in standing up for the right to go to school and get an education in a country where young girls are discouraged from doing so. A refreshing outlook for someone to aspire to.

Photo Credit: Amanda Guy Studio
With the ability to sing, dance, and act Aislin's talents transfer easily to the movie screen where the key to a believable performance is to act but not overact. Here is what her director on several films, Kira Bursky of All Around Artsy, had to say about her.


HONEYSPIDER_CAPTURE_02.jpgIt is a rare occasion that you can watch a movie in the same building that was used as the actual setting for scenes in the movie but you will have that opportunity this weekend with Honeyspider.

Honeyspider was written with the Gem Theatre in Kannapolis, North Carolina in mind by Kenny Caperton who satisfied his teenage desire to see the latest movies there.  It is a story about a young woman who works at a local theater whose birthday is on Halloween. A friend encourages her to attend a party after her shift at the picture show not knowing what they are about to encounter.

Working with Josh and Kenny is unexplainable. They are the most understanding people. Being able to see the passion/love that they have for filmmaking in person is absolutely amazing. They are willing to cut loose and have fun when needed but they also know when it's time to be serious. They are willing to work with you and do whatever makes you comfortable. They are two of the most amazing people I have ever met. For me it was kind of challenging at first I wasn't able to channel my inner Jackie, because she was a complete opposite person of who I really am but I ended up getting used to it. - Mariah Brown - Jackie Blue in Honeyspider

The Gem Theatre, a setting in the movie, is indeed a gem.  Originally opened in 1936 by the Cannon Mills Company.  It's seating capacity at that time was 1,200 people.  In 1942 a fire in the rear section of theater.  Because of the war effort there was no money to repair the damage.  In 1948 The Cannon Mills Company rebuilt it.  During the 40s and 50s it played host to stage shows such as Jimmy Dickens and Grand Ole Opry, Fred Kirby, Tex Ritter, and Roy Rogers with Trigger.  The Gem Theatre is one of the oldest single screen theaters left in the country and has continued to be open to the public since it was rebuilt.

Another thing that was on Kenny's mind during the creation of this movie is what will the title be?  A long time fan of the Smashing Pumpkins he thought of an early B-Side song by them called 'Honeyspider'.  Now he had a title.  " I've always loved that title and when trying to come up with a name for my script about 1/3 into writing it, I looked through a huge list of Smashing Pumpkins song titles and that one really stuck out and I thought it would be great title for a horror film. So after choosing that title it influenced the script. And while we were in post-production searching for music to use in the film, of course that song was at the top of my list. I tracked down Billy's management and told them about the movie, my love for Smashing Pumpkins, etc and I guess he saw something in the project and gave us the rights to use the song."

One other thing Kenny needed was a director which he found in Josh Hasty, a director he has been working with since Judith: The Night She Stayed Home, a short film they made together nearly 5 years ago.  They've made two movies and a commercial together to date.  Though there is is a great distance between them.  Kenny is from North Carolina and Josh from Ohio.  There is no divide in what they like about making movies, especially horror movies.  One compliments the other.


Zacharay Davenport.jpgGreener Grass, is a "short film about isolation, transparency, and suicide chronicling two students wasting time while waiting for a flight".  This is a project by Zachary Davenport that will be his final film for school before graduation (he goes to the University of North Carolina in Wilmington).

Zachary is a promising young writer and director who already has some great work behind him and certainly more to come.  He is raising $3,000 to make sure this film can reach it's full potential in getting what he needs to make the movie such as renting a quality camera, a truck, generator, props, costumes, makeup, and a little left over to feed the crew and actors which are volunteering their time.

He has already raised about two-thirds of his goal but needs to raise the last thousand in the next 34 hours.  If he does not meet his goal of $3,000 then the campaign will go unfunded and there will be no money for the production which will make it difficult to complete the film and certainly not reach the potential he has imagined it to be.


Athena_Worldly_Possessions_Event.jpgTonight in Shelby, North Carolina is a premiere event that you don't want to miss.  Athena, a long awaited feature length movie by director Robert Filion and the highly anticipated Worldly Possessions from Brad Hord.

"Brad Hord, Robert W. Filion and the Don Gibson Theatre cordially invite you to a night of bloodcurdlingly exquisite entertainment featuring the very first screenings of Worldly Possessions (a short written by Brad Hord and directed by Robert W. Filion), and Athena (a feature length motion picture written by Michael Louis Calvillo and directed by Robert W. Filion). "

Athena

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Athena Poster.jpgAthena is a feature length movie from director Robert Filion that will be premiering this weekend in Shelby, North Carolina at the Don Gibson Theatre.

Many years in the making it is a story about a man, Carl,  who has lost his wife and has the emotional scars that situation has left him with.  Then there's Emily, who has everything going for her except Carl.  What they do share is a voice in their heads, the voice of Athena (Mahri Shelton).  Where will this voice lead them?

"It was so much fun having a part in bringing such a complex and intriguing character to life. Robert is always such a professional and a pleasure to work with." - Mahri Shelton - Actor


We had a conversation recently with Robert and some of the cast.  See the trailer for the movie and the conversation below,

The Kill Switch

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The Kill Switch Poster.jpgThe Kill Switch, written and directed by Louis Bekoe, is a statement about bullying and student violence. 

Louis himself has experienced this and was going to a school in Greensboro, North Carolina when an assistant  principal there was shot by a student.

Soon this film will be entered in film festivals around the country but for a limited time, this weekend, it will be available for the public to watch online.  See the link at the end of the article.

I had a chance today to talk with some of the cast, Louis, and Excutive Producer Darren Conrad about the the film.  Read what they have to say below.

Louis, who is also the an assistant director on the Partners series, would like everyone to know " ...this is one of many films created by North Carolina indie filmmakers and actors and there are more to come!".  Darren is also working on his first feature film Just North.

Worldly Possessions

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Worldly Possessions is the latest short film written and produced by Brad Hord along with Executive Producer Darren Conrad; Producers: Adam Ginsberg, Elsie Martinez Ginsberg, James Morales, Robert Filion, and Linda H Parks; and  Associate Producers: Jesse H. Knight and Jason Ledford.

The action, directed by Robert Filion, centers around Stephen Drake who is played by Tim Ross, an adept actor who is becoming very popular here in the southeast.  Stephen, who has a few demons of his own, must stop demons from entering our world.  A murder brings him back to his hometown. Detective Michelle Ryan (Morgan Monnig) is somehow changed by this experience.

I don't know much more as I haven't seem the movie yet. With this team you can bet that it will be a great film. Premiering  on October 11th in Shelby, North Carolina at The Don Gibson Theatre.  A fitting place since the movie was filmed in Shelby. 

I understand that Robert Filion had the style of Stanley Kubrick in mind as he was directing and filming the scenes.  I'm a big Kubrick fan so I'm glad no spoilers have been given away.  I want to enjoy, and discover this film as it comes, beginning to end.



Zacharay Davenport.jpg Zachary Davenport is in his last year of college at the University of North Carolina in Wilmington.  He is going to be an outstanding director and writer if his previous work is any indication.  Zachary loves to deal with relationships and can always be counted on to bring emotion to his productions.

So far I've seen  three of his films including Things are for Stealing, a gripping story about a rural pastor who chases away, with a gun,  two boys he suspects have been stealing from him.  An emotional tale of love lost.  a moving story with lots of character detail skillfully executed by Zachary and his crew.

Christopher Tolleson played one of the boys in this film. About the movie Christopher said " I worked with Zach a few summers ago and he gave me my first lead role. I had a lot of fun and loved shooting with him. We were in the woods and he made the shoot fun. The days went by really fast. He explained things to me and gave me ideas on how my character should be. I was glad to be able to work with him!" 

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Christopher Tolleson in Things are for Stealing

Honeyspider Trailer

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Here is the Honeyspider trailer from Paramount Scope.  Written and produced by Kenny Caperton along with Josh Hasty as director.  Filmed in North Carolina and Ohio.

This is a cool thriller of a movie.  All Jackie Blue wants to do is enjoy her birthday which coincidentally falls on Halloween.  After being convinced to go to a Halloween party on campus her night out turns into a nightmare.








Meet THE iNDEE: Russ Willey

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Russ Willey Photo Credit: David Superville
In continuing the Meet The iNDEE series, we spotlight Russ Willey.


What are your hobbies/pastimes outside of work?

Watching movies, playing with my son and taking pictures 


How did you know you wanted to be a writer/director/work on set ? 

Doing a play in junior high I fell in love with acting,


What is one thing you think most people don't know about you? 

That I studied martial arts for 34 yrs, at one time I was homeless, and I'm living proof that organ donation works. I'm a two time kidney transplant recipient.

Audition for "Tree Hugger" an All Around Artsy Film

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TreeHugger.jpgAuditions will be held on Saturday October 11th from 5:30 pm until 8:30 pm at the North Asheville Library.

"Tree Hugger" a dark fantasy short film produced by All Around Artsy Productions is currently seeking out 2 actors: 1 female (looks 14-17) and 1 male (looks 15-18).


The film will be shot one weekend in either December or January. Before then we will meet to have a few rehearsals. 

Compensation?: The budget for the film is small, but actors will receive some compensation for their time during the shoot. Plus there will be meals on set!

***Please bring along a copy of your resume and be prepared to read from the sides provided for you at the audition. To ensure we have time for your audition, you must send an RSVP email to allaroundartsy@gmail.com, along with your name and resume. We will send back a confirmation email with more details upon receiving your RSVP.