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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.
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.

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.


Thinking Speed by Lisa Menzel

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Thinking Speed is a big project for  the amount of money spent on it.  The film has been completed for less than two grand and many hours of preparation, filming and editing.  It was shot over 173 days resulting in 52 hours of footage to edit.  This has to be a labor of love for Lisa Menzel who wrote the novel, the screenplay, and directed the movie.  Also, for the cast and crew that contributed countless hours of their time to the production.

Lisa Menzel
Lisa Menzel  Photo credit: Ray Sofia

A Kickstarter campaign has been established to raise funds to get  the movie out on the film festival circuit.  If you'd like to help there are several perks being offered to contributors.

Lisa Menzel
Director accepting coffee.  Photo Credit: Luke Sejud

Chris Gervais of Strawhouse Pictures on Filmmaking

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Chris Gervais.JPG
A filmmaker is someone who will do whatever it takes to get the project completed. Chris Gervais is just that sort of person.

Though his dream is to be in that famed director's chair full time, he's so in love with filmmaking (and the digital revolution) that he's taken on composing, acting, lighting, sound, editing... pretty much you name it, he's done it. 

In this interview, we get a great insight into someone basically self-educated in this through  real world experience.  The advice Chris gives us here is taken from the sets and locations he's been a part of  and from the trial and error he's been through.  Delve in and enjoy!

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.

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If you are a writer or filmmaker who would like to learn more about writing and share some comaraderie with like minded folks this is the class for you. Beginning February 5th and continuing every Wednesday at Jade Castle Studios in Greenville, South Carolina.

The instructor will be John Norwood who graduated from  the University of Southern California with a Master of Fine Arts in Cinema-Television.  

Starting Wednesday Feburary 5th at Jade Castle Studios.
6:00 pm - 8:00 pm

More information at:
Kira Bursky - We're Ok.jpgWe're OK is a combination live action and animated tale of an 18 year old girl suffering from depression.  She has decided to kill herself.  In this fantasy drama we will see what's going on inside of Delilah and the part of herself she presents to her friends and family.

Kira Bursky will be directing.  Kira is well known here as an exceptional creative mind with several films in her catalogue as well as being a musician and songwriter.

Check out the Kickstarter campaign for We're Okay and help fund a film that will not only be entertaining but give some insight into teen depression and sexuality.

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.

In the Queue

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Recently Released

Out Of One's Misery - Director/Writer: Michael Sharpe 

Delilah - Director: J.R. Aiello  Writers: Christopher Holdsworth, Al Julian, Eryk Pruitt
Late Submission - Written and directed by:  Chad FarmerNathan Ludwig

Old Souls - Director: Ben Hall  Writers: Alex ThompsonSamuel Newsome

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.

Logo of Sci-Fi Channel (1999-2002)

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Tuscon 40 is a sci fi, fantasy, and horror convention held in Tuscon Arizona.  This years event will be November 8th thru 10th, 2013. 

Here is an an event you'll like if you're a beginning actor.

6:00 pm Saturday, November 9th
Acting for Film an Active Lesson

Eric Schumacher.jpg
Eric Shumacher of Picture Arizona will be there teaching a film acting class where he'll go over the fundamentals of film acting and how it's different from stage acting.  He will also tell you about set etiquette so that you'll appear more seasoned when you appear on set.

As many attendees as possible will be involved in working a scene together and will cover how to nail a performance.  Special effects and how to act around them will be touched upon.

The Find by Mike Garland

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The Find Poster.jpg

Mike Garland is directing a short film called The Find in Spartanburg, South Carolina.  No, he isn't related to Hank Garland from the same area.  I asked.  Although he does play the guitar.   Originally from Detroit, Mike moved to South Carolina after a stint in the Army because his wife is from Spartanburg.

Having been an actor for a number of years and a law enforcement officer; Mike has turned his attention to a story he wrote called The Find  while while working at the jailhouse.  Written over a period of a couple of years this is the first in a series of screenplays he is producing along with the guys at Ridge Runner  Media, Brian and Terry Miller.

 I finally sent it to a music composer in England to see about music for it. He said it made the hair on his neck stand up. This is when I knew we may have a winner.  

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.

Darren - Last Call of Duty.JPGDarren has been an officer of the law since 1990  and a participant in the performing arts since the age of five.  First playing drums and piano for talent shows then progressing to theatre for church and school, and eventually the school Jazz Band and a local pop band.

As a youngster he invented film roles for his friends to re-enact with him but put away these thoughts when his father died in an auto accident in 1989.  Then he turned his attention to law enforcement. Only occasionally participating in movies for a couple of decades.  He has been very active in films since 2010 including acting, writing, producing, and working in various crew positions.  It seems to be in his blood; the passion he has for film and performing.

The Hollow Oak

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The Hollow Oak 4.jpg
Chris Maney has a lot of responsibility on his shoulders.  To whom?   The supporters, cast, and crew of The Hollow Oak a feature film set to be released this coming summer and they are behind him 100%. 

It started as an idea he had in high school and has developed into the production that now has been underway for over a year.   Along the way he met up with Samantha Katelyn and they have built a great filmmaking team that has their focus on the prize.  To finish this thriller for release by the summer of next year.

"I held an audition in Jacksonville back in 2010. I wanted to make a movie for fun. Nothing fancy...

But I had met Samantha. She convinced me I could do so much more with The Hollow Oak. And we have been at it ever since." - Chris Maney

This production has come a long way since the first audition in 2010. Some roles have been re-cast and a lot of effort has been put forth in scouting locations, blocking scenes, setting up and tearing down equipment, not to mention the editing and sound design.

The Strange and Unusual

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logo.jpgI can't wait to see this movie!   The Strange and Unusual is a comedy about a reality series gone awry.  Written and directed by Anil Dhokai and brought to us by VisionScape Media.

The Strange and Unusual has just begun filming.  What will we see when it's complete?  The cast and crew of a cancelled reality TV series with one last episode left to shoot.  What goes on behind the scenes and the personalities that one might encounter in a similar television production.  Anil, has worked in these situations and is bringing some of the strange and unusual things he's seen to this film.

One of the principals of Strawhouse Pictures, Anil always knows that his partners have his back and can help him put together the pieces of the puzzle for a great production just as he does for their films.

Anil, Brian, Micah.JPG

The Perfect Place

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The Perfect Place 1.jpg

There's a lot of talent here in the southeast.  There's also some mighty big hearts in the Carolinas.  A few of them are the producers, cast, and crew of The Perfect Place.  

Written by Taylor-Grace Davis and Patrick Elliott the movie is inspired by Taylor-Grace's work with the Frederick Douglass Family Foundation.  This organization, formed by Nettie Washington Douglass and her adult children, exists to carry on the tradition of her ancestors, Fredrick Douglass and Booker T. Washington.  By creating awareness that slavery and human trafficking is still going on today, she and her family are following in their footsteps.  Her son, Kenneth B. Morris, president of the foundation, travels the U.S. and abroad spreading the message about human trafficking and what can be done about it.

Things Are For Stealing

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Things are for Stealing poster.jpgThings Are For Stealing. Are they?  That is the premise and title of Zachary Davenport's new movie which will be premiering this Wednesday in a private screening for the cast and crew. 

"Trapped by a horrifying past, Marty struggles with day to day life. As a pastor in his community he realizes his impact on those around him but does little more than go through the motions of his position.  Life has little meaning to him.  He simply clings to things that seem to give him some memories of what might have been."

Zachary is a student at the University of North Carolina in Wilmington and is relatively new to filmmaking but from the looks of the footage I've seen he is well on his way to making a name for himself.