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As Stefon might say 'This film has it all. Drinking, dancing, gambling, two sisters, one who loved Bennie, one who married him... and a boat.'  He'd be right.

Written and directed by Tara Lynn Marcelle this is a comedy with a bit of drama mixed in.  Loosely based on Tara's actual grandmothers Pearl and Josephine, and Josephine's  boyfriend at that time who's name was Bennie.

Having grown up in a filmmaking family Tara became interested in the business as a young girl because she was often around while her parents were working.  Reading scripts and learning about films her parents pointed out to her.  Besides directing and acting she has been writing for the past few years, working on projects such as My Name Is Paul, The Calm Before, and Virtuous.

In this film, if you are like me, you will see in these characters pieces of people you have known as well as situations you have observed or been a part of.  This connection makes it easy to enjoy!

Warren Marcus brilliantly caught the action with an actual film camera which in unusual nowadays with digital cameras being so prevalent for local productions.  Gregory Hewitt was makeup supervisor, Phaedra Witt production supervisor, and Luis Carlos Machicao wardrobe supervisor.
Bennie is a 35 minute short that is due to be released this summer.  A feature length version is slated to be made depending on how it does during it's festival run.  I think the chances are good we will see that feature length version as soon as Tara, busy as she is, finds the time to write the rest of the script.

Check out the trailer below and the interview we had with some of the cast and crew.

I Married an Alien - Premiere

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I Married an Alien.jpgApril 25th is the date for the premiere of I Married an Alien, a science fiction comedy produced and directed by Collins White of Other Vision Studios with Micah Thompson as head writer.

The cast includes Cassie Thompson, Micah Thompson, David Bean, Lindsay Morgan, Jamil Jaar, Audrey Dickson, and Nathan Forest


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Young Artist Award

Young Artist Award (Photo credit: Crakker Jakk)

What does it take to succeed?  These two young ladies know.

The Young Artist Awards began 34 years ago as a children's version of what the Academy Awards presentation is like.  Just like with the Academy Awards it is an honor to be nominated.  Brandi Alyssa Young and Taylor-Grace Davis have both been nominated this year.  Both are very familiar faces in the films from southeast and are beginning to broaden their horizons as their high school careers come to an end.

Brandi has been nominated three times including this year.  This time she is nominated for her work in the web series The Dark One as Michelle Smith. She will not be attending the ceremonies this year as she has just moved from South Carolina to Pennsylvania and is getting settled in there while exploring and learning her way around New York City.

This is a first nomination for Taylor-Grace for her role as Rebekkah Madison in The Box. who's senior prom is the night before the awards.  She is a member of the prom committee and doesn't want to miss that.  She doesn't want to miss the awards either.  So she will be attending the prom then flying to Los Angeles afterwards in order to get to the Empire Ballroom in Studio City, California where the award ceremonies are held.

Worldly Possessions

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Worldly Possessions is a new film written by Brad Hord and being directed by Robert Filion.

This is the second time this pair has worked together.  Previously they made a film call Mosaic 33 which is a science fiction tale of a woman who decides to reveal information to a reporter about what is going on in the Mosaic lab she works in.  It has been doing very well on the film festival circuit.

Shelby, North Carolina and the surrounding area has been chosen as the city to film Worldly Possessions in and one of the locations picked was also used in the movie Hunger Games.
Candace Blanchard
Brad Hord  Writer/Producer of Worldly Possessions

"I am very proud to be the Executive Producer on Brad's new vision!  The cast is brilliant and Director Robert W. Filion is at the top of his game!  I put my money on the best... and these guys are rocking it! Worldly Possessions is a Win Win!" - Darren Conrad Executive Producer

An excellent cast has been assembled and filming begins mid April.

Below are some of the cast and crew followed by a conversation I had With Brad Hord and Tim Ross about the film.

The southeast continues to turn out more and better independent films as each year goes by.  One of them is the upcoming Curfew directed by Richard Clark, Jr. starring Candace Blanchard and Thomas L. Beck.

In this film Candace plays a cool and collected woman who decides she wants a promotion and is willing to go the extra mile to get it by seducing her boss.  Things don't go as planned though and a night at the office turns ugly.  

Candace Blanchard
Candace Blanchard  Photo courtesy The iNDEE

"Candace is crazy talanted.  She dives head first into roles and doesn't look back.  And the end product shows it." - Richard Clark, Jr. Director of Curfew

This is a suspense thriller that was filmed primarily at The iNDEE offices in Gastonia, North Carolina.  The iNDEE houses film and music creators  as well as production companies in this part of the southeast as a studio for independent artists.

In the beginning we see Candace playing the smartly dressed Janet as she hatches her plan for moving  up the ladder in a very calm and collected fashion. She knows what she's doing. Next she is dressing more provocatively as her plan is set in motion but she runs into some trouble.  Will she survive the night?

These were some demanding scenes for Candace as this is pure acting.  Candace is nothing like the character but had to learn to  become the sly and cunning Janet.  She had to be believable in the role and it wasn't easy but she accomplished it very well.  

Scenes from Curfew
Scenes from Curfew  Photo courtesy: The iNDEE

Mosaic 33 now on Roku

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M33.jpgMosaic 33 a sci-fi thriller written by Brad Hord and directed by Robert W. Fillion and is now available to watch on your Roku box at the GetScaredTV Channel.

Currently very popular on the festival circuit, Mosaic 33 stars Jennifer Russoli, Brett Gentile, and Vanessa Ore.

The Roku box enables you to watch Netflix, Hulu, and many other channels and shows when you want to.  No more appointment TV.  So if you don't have a Roku get one.  You won't look back.


An Interview with Tim Ross - Part 2

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Tim Ross2.jpg
Experience brings wisdom, and if that's the case Tim Ross has a plethora of wisdom. With a history in acting that ranges from the west coast to the east, commercial to independent, Tim's got plenty to teach and there's much to be learned from him! 

Never content to be idle, Tim is someone who's not only been "in the business", but has been successful at it for over 20 years. He's been on soaps, movies, commercials, and continues to strive for more. Anyone interested in acting would benefit from checking this video out for advice from someone who's definitely been there!

Curfew1.jpgHere is a riveting portrayal of a woman, Janet Miles, played by Candace Blanchard, who tries to seduce her boss (Thomas L. Beck) in order to get a promotion.  She gets more than she bargained for.

The movie is complete and is being produced by THE iNDEE in Gastonia, North Carolina.  THE iNDEE provides creative space for filmmakers, artists, and musicians with editing bays, green screens, sets, and sound stages.  They also help develop, produce, and distribute television and film projects.

Since the movie is essentially finished all that's left to do is the distribution of Curfew.  There is a campaign underway at to help fund the distribution of the movie across the U.S.  Here's your chance to help and get credit for it as well with the perks they are offering for contributors.

Go to the link below, watch the incredible trailer, then decide if you'd like to take advantage of this 
opportunity to participate.

Detective Jack Gibson attempts to solve a string of murders related to an experiment substance called "X5".

What makes this film different is that it will feature, along with live action, pixel art reminiscent of 80's video games like Mortal Kombat and Snatcher.
Tim Ross2.jpg
Professional actor and instructor Tim Ross  will be holding an intensive workshop on audition technique later this month in Raleigh, North Carolina.  Well known for his his work in the Carolinas and shoutheast, Tim's experience ranges from feature length films to commercials and industrial films.  Not to mention his work in theatre as an actor and director.

Tim knows his business and this is a great opportunity to learn how to improve the way you approach an audition and how to increase you chances of getting the role.  Teens and adults will also get the chance to meet with a casting director from a busy production studio in the Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill area for a question and answer session.

Audition Technique Workshop with Tim Ross
Saturday, February. 22nd
1401 Edward Mills Road
Raleigh, North Carolina
9:00 am until Noon: Young actors age 8-14, $75.
1:00 pm until 4:00 pm: Teens age 14-19,  $75.
5:00 pm until 9:00 pm: Adults 20 and up, $100.

Map of South Carolina highlighting Greenville ...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Acting classes for adullts and kids/teens being February 5th at Jade Castle Studios in Greenville, South Carolina.  The classes are limited to 10 students and you must register by January 31st.

Taught by veteran actor  Ron Joseph.

Wednesday Feburary 5th thru April 23rd at Jade Castle Studios.
6:00 pm - 9:00 pm

More information at:

Photo Credit: Magen Marie Photography
Pat Dortch recently starred in Michael Sharpe's film Out Of One's Misery as the protaganist, David. He did a great job in this film so when I checked his IMDb credits I was very surprised that I found only one entry. So I had to find out why.

Pat jumped into acting head first a couple of years ago after the recession took a toll on his business. He has made rapid progress. After a year of acting classes at The Actors Lab in Charlotte, North Carolina he was asked to teach a couple of classes there. One for beginners and another for teens.

So it seems Mr. Dortch has been on a crash course in the acting business and wanted to lay a good foundation before he starts to build. 

The building process continues with meeting the right people. Studying under acting coach J.D. Lewis of The Actors Lab was a good choice. Meeting folks there like Joe Chiazza of 5Ahead Films was also a good start.  Joe is a wonderful cinematographer and co-director of the Door to Door Web series written by Rachel Woodhouse and Justin Xavier who he also met at the acting classes. The Door to Door series is a comedy in which Pat plays the overly exuberant manager of a sales company.  A quirky look at a day in the life of a salesman and his sales team. 

For his role in Out Of One's Misery, Pat was prepared.  Writer and producer Michael Sharpe told me that Pat fit the part perfectly and he knew in his mind the part was Pat's before he left the room. 

"I filmed the auditions so I could take them home and view them again. Pat read twice. He nailed it the first time, but I made him do it again to see how well he took direction. I knew I was going to cast him before he left." - Michael Sharpe - Director: Out Of One's Misery

So it was sink or swim and Pat's definitely a swimmer!

Check out the film and interview below to see what you think.

Crystal Tyler.jpgJade Castle Studios is an asset to the upstate area, the Carolinas, and beyond.  It is a place where actors, performing artists, writers, photographers, filmmakers, and artists of all kinds can meet and rub shoulders with one another.  You can attend classes or rent space for your projects such as a songwriter's club, writer's club or as a space where you could audition actors for your upcoming film.

Started earlier this year and operated by Crystal Tyler it is just beginning to take hold and needs your help.  If you are able to give just a small amount to assist with this well intensioned project it will help filmmaking and the performing arts thrive in the community and their will be some perks for you as well.

"Crystal and Jade Castle have been a great resource for me in connecting with other professionals. Whenever Other Vision needs to look for talent, I give Crystal a call. Through Jade Castle, she's already helped connect me with so many other great film professionals in the Greenville area." - Collins Abbott White - Other Vision Studios

If you can't afford to donate then please share this message with your friends so they can learn about Jade Castle Studios and how it might benefit them.

Learn more about Jade Castle Studios in the article below by The Greenville News and in my conversation with Crystal.


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KiraBursky by Abbey Sacks.jpg
Photo and Makeup by Abbey Sacks

An Evening with Kathy Butler Sandvoss

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Kathy Butler Sandvoss.JPG
Kathy Sandvoss spends her time living the American dream, at least to this outsider. She is an actress in the Charlotte/Fort Mill/Rock Hill area who has always been interested in acting since a young girl.  She has gone from high school and college ambitions, to a life of auditions and on-set performances.  All while raising a family in between!  Always grateful for the balancing act she has to make between home, family, acting and the rest of her life.  Check out this interview where we figure out how she does it all... 
Actress Shohreh Agdashloo is an Iranian immigrant who left for England and eventually became a U.S. citizen . Known for House of Sand and Fog in which she won an Academy Award as the wife of Ben Kingsley's character in the movie.

Check out this Tavis Smiley interview where they talk about her life in Iran, her family, and her memoir The Alley of Love and Yellow Jasmines.

Find out about more about the yellow Jasmines and the alley of love in the interview with Shohreh below:
logo.jpgAnxious to see what the Strange and Unusual will look like?  Here's a teaser to give you and idea.

Also, check out the interview we did with the producers and cast.


Swimming With Dolphins

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Swimming With Dolphins.jpg

Robert Filion, where do you find the time?  Here's a teaser for Swimming With Dolphins.  Written by Michael Melendez and directed by Robert Filion it's a lighthearted look at friendship with some unusual twists.

Michael Melendez also stars in the film along with Kevin Johnson, Haven Wilson, and Paul Gibson.  How's that for using talent from the Carolinas?

Check out the teaser below.

My Name is Paul - The Feature

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MNIP - BTS 8.jpgThe feature length version of My Name is Paul has completed filming and is now in post-production.  Hopefully we will be able to see it sometime this year or next depending on how long the editing and scoring take.  I've seen some the footage and the cinematography is excellent!

This project started with a screenplay by Vanessa Ore.  A short was made and directed by her husband Trey Ore along with a sizable cast and crew.  The short was very popular on the film festival circuit winning several awards including the Dove Family Appoved seal for ages 12+.

"The short was selected Globally into multiple Film Festivals on 4 continents and was the Short Film winner at Kingdomwood Film Festival, Films with Valor in Acapulco, Mexico and the Redemptive Film Festival in Virginia Beach, Virginia."

After showing the potential of the story, they have expanded it with the help of Tara Lynn Marcelle into a feature length movie.  Also, after having shown the potential with the short film, they have brought in a team of investors to make sure they have the resources to do everything to the best of their ability with the feature.  From what I've seen they have the footage to make it even better.  Now it's up to the editors.