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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:





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.


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,

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.



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.








Potpourri

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Voting for Round 3 of Project Greenlight ends tomorrow.  In this round voting for the film of one of the 20 remaining filmmakers will be held on Facebook.  Popular demand will determine which one of the final 20 will automatically advance to the final 10.


As far as we can tell Joshua Sheik is the only contestant left that is currently living in the southeast so we wish everyone else the best but we are putting our effort behind him to represent us here in the south.


 Read some of the testimonials about Joshua below and add your own with Facebook commenting at the end of the article if you'd like to show your support.  Every bit helps.


Finally if you agree and want Josh to be one of the final 10 then go to the link below and vote for him and his film Excuse Me.





Click here to vote for Joshua Sheik (Sik) and his film Excuse Me.


The voting period will be from 3:00 PM ET 9/15/14 until 11:59 PM 9/26/14



To learn more about Joshua read our article about him here:


Joshua Sheik and Project Greenlight


Project Greenlight - Top 20 Winners



Absurducopia Preview - The Antidote

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PartnersSeason1Ep3a.jpgThe third episode of Partners, a police drama starring Candace Blanchard and Darren Conrad, will be released this Sunday.

What's it like to be a child of a law enforcement officer?  That's what we will see as Julie Kain (Maggie Batson) deals with the lack of a father figure in her life.  Maureen Dowdell (In The Heat of The Night) makes her debut as Chief Tracy Hanlee.  Addy Miller from The Walking Dead and Ron Caldwell from Flight will also be appearing.









An Interview with Tim Ross - Part 4

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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!






Joshua Sheik and Project Greenlight

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Joshua Sheik began writing stories at a young age and by the time that he was 10 he had directed his first play/movie called Murder on Saratoga Street which he followed up with six sequels.


After graduating high school, he attended West Point military school . From there he was commissioned as an Army Aviation Officer, became a rated helicopter pilot, was deployed twice to Iraq, and made films for his troops. During this time, he learned about being responsible for others and leadership skills. Which he says, is "one of the most important pillars of being a director." He feels that "the greatest directors are not only artists, but they are also grounded leaders".


James Molinari in Nowhere

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James Molinari in Nowhere
The first time I noticed James was in a film called Palmetto Haunting directed by Anil Dhokai where he played a paranormal investigator. The next time I saw his name come up was in Nowhere a story about an out of the way bed and breakfast inn where directed by Ryen W. Thomas where James (as Drake, a con man looking for fast money) found more that he bargained for.  In both of these roles hew was very serious and clean cut.

Later when I attended the premiere of Nowhere I noticed the absence of two of it's stars.  One being Alexandra Faith, who I think was in New York at the time and James Molinari.  There was young man there though that I thought I recognized but couldn't put my finger on from where.  He had long curly hair and a big smile the whole night.  He turned out to be James.  I didn't recognize him because I had never seen him smile in a movie. (laughs)



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James, I'm told, is known for throwing himself into a part.  He arrives ready to work and and does whatever it takes to play the part convincingly.

"James and I first met on the set of a film directed by Anil Dhokai and after seeing how he took his role quite seriously, I knew I wanted to work with him. One thing I haven't shared much is that he was cast as Drake only three days before Nowhere's production yet he prepared for that role as if he had a year to break it down. Favorite moment on the set was seeing him furiously jump in place before doing a scene where he practically runs for his life. James is intense and I enjoyed tackling the character's arch with him, almost like constructing or sculpting a piece of art."  -  Ryen W. Thomas Director of Nowhere



Jason Vail.jpgI first noticed Jason Vail in in the film The Cabin by Tommy Faircloth where Jason played a polite but eventually creepy suitor to Morgan Monnig's character Laura.  Next, I noticed he had a small part in Million Dollar Arm, a Disney movie with Jon Hamm,  as a sports agent.  Then I found out that he once lived in Lancaster, South Carolina as a teenager and that is where his passion for acting began and later blossomed in college.

Having spent many of my teenage weekends in Lancaster (I had a lot of friends that lived there), I wanted to find out more about this actor so I contacted him.  Turns out he is a very nice and obliging fellow currently living in Georgia but willing to go wherever the work takes him.   For instance, during the period we talked he was cast for Valley of the Sasquatch which is a production being filmed in Seattle, Washington.  

He is staying busy too, having just recently finished his role in Dorchester's Revenge: The Return of Crinoline Head that premieres tonight in Charleston, South Carolina. He already has seven other appearances lined up that are in some stage of production and dozens of credits behind him.  In the early days he worked out of New York where he had roles in some of the soap operas filmed there such as Guiding Light, One Life to Live, and As The World Turns.  

Another movie that he had a hand in was Abraham Lincoln vs. Zombies, a fictional retelling of the Lincoln story which was released a couple of years ago and gained a certain level of notoriety.  In it he plays the character of John Wilkes who we later find out is John Wilkes Booth, Lincoln's assassin. That and the movie Gut, which he starred in,  gave a significant boost to his career. 

Read our discussion below and if you get a chance check out the Red Carpet Premiere of Dorchesters Revenge in Charleston tonight.  You might catch him there.


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There will be a red carpet premiere screening of Dorchester's Revenge: The Return of Crinoline Head in Charleston,, South Carolina.


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A Place Called Home is a short film written by Kayla McBrayer and directed by Angel Defreitas that deals with domestic abuse.  It could be your neighbor or best friend that is having to deal with this injustice and you might never be aware of it because it is accepted and not talked about outside of the family.

The narrative is from the children's perspective as seen through the eyes of the oldest daughter and how abuse can affect the whole family.

Starring Kayla McBrayer, Rhonda Lynn Jones, Chris Matheny, and Payton Stover.  Crew members include Angel Defreitas as director; Hanna Stover, Kayleigh Stover, and Ella Grace Misenheimer on makeup with Derek Miller and Derek Jones on audio.  Catherine Hester was the photographer and Kimberly Brouillette designed the poster.

A Place Called Home - Cast & Crew by Cahterine Hester.jpgA Place Called Home - Cast & Crew by Cahterine Hester Top row: Kayleigh Stover, Angel Defreitas, Rhonda Lynn Jones with her daughter Ashley, Chris Matheny, Kayla McBrayer with Payton Stover, and Ella Grace Misenheimer. Bottom row: Hanna Stover, Kimberley Broullette, and Derek Jones.

Check out the interview below to find out what Kayla and Angel had to say about the film and their experiences as filmmakers.



 

Biter Bash Photos

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Kennedy Brice
"Molly" from AMC's The Walking Dead
Tommy Faircloth.jpgCrinoline Head is a1995 film by Tommy Faircloth about what happens at a remote cabin where a group of college students have gone for a weekend of fun.  That is until they learn about what had previously happened in that cabin involving a young boy and his dollmaking mother.

That film has been very popular and it was just recently that Tommy came up with an idea to expand on the theme.  The result is Dorchester's Revenge: The Return of Crinoline Head.

I first encountered one of Tommy's films, The Cabin, earlier this year. It was filmed in the Carolinas and Tennessee on a very tight schedule and budget starring Morgan Monnig and Jason Vail along with Robert Zobel as producer and Shelby Washburn as production assistant.  I was very impressed with what they were able to do in such a short time frame in addition to the travel time between locations that was required and the quality of the work they produced.

Tommy describes Dorchester's Revenge as not a sequel to the original Crinoline Head but more of a prequel.  A premiere in Charleston, South Carolina is planned for next weekend followed by some outtakes from the movie, questions and answers, then an opportunity for autographs and photos with the cast.  Next, a night on the town with celebrations at The Rooftop at Vendue Inn for drinks, and later still at Pantheon to see local drag performers Ava Clear and Vega perform.  Ava and Vega are also part of the cast of Dorchester's Revenge.

Below you can see trailers from the original Crinoline Head.  The Cabin, and the new trailer for Dorchester's Revenge along with the conversation I had with Tommy about his films and filmmaking. 

Enjoy, and if you can make it to Charleston next weekend treat yourself to an exciting night of fun and film.



Monstercon 2014 - Best Films

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Give a hand to two great directors, cast and crew from the Carolinas.  Over the weekend director Jesse H. Knight won Best Feature Film at Monstercon 2014 with The Orbs Starring Christy Johnson, Patrick G. Keenan, David Joy, and Warren Ray.
Jesse H. Knight Photo credit: Jason Ledford

The honors for Best Short Film went to Jaysen P. Buterin for his film Between Hell and A Hard Place starring Patrick G. Keenan, Michael Ray Williams, Marius Riley, Casey Murray, and Mandy Divine, 



A Thank You from THE iNDEE

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The iNDEE and New Daydream Films want to thank everyone for coming out and joining us for our Charlotte screening of Waiting for Butterflies last night.

Here is a photo of Bonnie Johnson and Tim Ross, two of the cast members, who were in attendance for the screening. Thank you for coming.

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