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This is BIG!

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Big - Behind the Scenes 1.jpg

To produce Big co-directors Kira Bursky and Wayne Culpepper have gone small.  Using only themselves as both cast and crew they have created a dark comedy musical for the Charlotte 48 Hour Film Project.  The film will be shown this Thursday at the McGlohon Theater in Charlotte, NC.


I don't quite know what this is going to be about but it appears from the trailer that a fellow who want's to make it big is going to get some help from his tiny companion.  Kira is leaving me to wonder until the film has been released.


This began as project when they entered the 48 Hour Film Project in Charlotte and drew the category "Dark Comedy".  As if dark and comedy with a two person team wasn't enough they decided to make it a musical dark comedy.  Why not?  Everyone likes a challenge right?


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Kira said "Prior to this past 48 Hour Film Festival, I had competed in the Asheville 48 Hour Film Festival 5 times, 4 of those times with Wayne. Each time we had a crew of 15-20 people. Don't get me wrong- I LOVED working with all of those amazing individuals. But, Wayne and I thought: hey, how about we try competing in the 48 Hour Film Festival with a two person team? And once that idea was in our heads, there was no turning back! So this past weekend we did it! We co-directed and co-starred. We drew out of the hat Dark Comedy... making it my 3rd dark comedy in a row! But to add 
on another challenge, we decided to make it a musical dark comedy. It was a crazy weekend of composing music, filming, green screening, and following our intuition!"

There is some talk of making it a web series also. We'll just have to wait and see.

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When I asked about how it felt to be working with only each other to rely on for direction and acting she said "It was both freeing and exciting! This was the first time I acted in one of my films. Wayne and I were talking to one another about how if we had had a whole crew there on set, we wouldn't have been so uninhibited. Since we are so comfortable around each other we were able to really have fun and  feel free to fully dive into our characters. It was also nice for me to have the opportunity to be cinematographer for one of my films. Normally when I have a full crew every position is filled, but because it was the two of us we got to truly do a little bit of everything! It was fun being able to explore all forms of art with this film. And it's also nice to share this film with Wayne because we get to both experience the joys of making something together!"

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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.



 

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.



Meet THE iNDEE: Colby Hopkins

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Today we spotlight Colby Hopkins for "Meet The iNDEE".


Colby Hopkins by David Superville.jpg
Colby Hopkins  Photo Credit: >David Superville



What are your hobbies/pastimes outside of work?

I like soccer, football, swimming, tennis, wakeboarding and snowboarding. I love to read, write, and take photographs. I also love music and have been playing guitar for six years. I'm currently taking up rock climbing. I am addicted to extreme sports because of the community of people who are so passionate about adventuring and doing something thrilling. I think that is similar to film, everyone is passionate about telling stories and they're extremely dedicated to it because of the rush it gives you when you see what you've accomplished.


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Scienstars Banner  by Rian Trost


Scienstars is a new TV series aimed at teaching science through science fiction in the classroom or a home school environment with the intended age group being later elementary school through middle school.  Currently in production is Salisbury, North Carolina the series uses the Next Generation Science Standards as a guide to include the educational aspect of each episode.

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Scienstars Seal  by Vince Barnett

"As math and science initiatives continue to be a focal point for improvement in education, Scienstars provides an entertaining alternative to traditional instruction and a motivational tool for inspiring students to pursue careers in math and science." - Susan Alberti - Former middle school teacher and current homeschool instructor.


The idea for the show was created by Vince Barnett after he was searching for ways to inspire his young son, Zefram, to learn about science.  After he discovered the Next Generation Science Standards the idea for the series struck him and he contacted Adam York to direct with Jerod Jacobs as Cinematographer, and the multi-media company Six Foot Kitten to help produce the series.  

To give you and example of what you'll see and learn the pilot episode teaches about the law of conservation of energy, photosynthesis, electromagnetism, and Newton's third law of motion.  All in a format that will appeal to a young to middle aged child.


"Our primary goal is to get Scienstars into the classrooms. With that in mind we are reaching out to educators to find the best ways that Scienstars can work with their curriculum." - Adam York - Director


The cast includes Andrew Wilson Williams as Cadet Gabriel Brand, Isabella Alberti as Cadet Lilianna Mallote, Tim Ross as Commandant Aeolen, Lilly Nelson as Lieutenant Victoria Xen, Kathy Butler Sandvoss as Gabriel's mom, Kim Misenheimer as Isabella's mom, Amaris Kirby as Ferata,  and Christina Nelson as Officer Graal.

I had a conversation with the producers and actors about the series and this is what they told me.



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Update!  The date for this seminar has been changed to Thursday, July 31st, 6:00 pm - 8:30 pm
 
THE iNDEE Studio in Gastonia, North Carolina will be hosting a seminar on "Telling Stories".  If you are wanting to be a screenwriter or are a filmmaker with story ideas this is a great class for you.  You can attend the lecture or if you're not close enough to make it it will also be available through Skype.  This writing series is the first in a series that THE iNDEE Actors Club is making an effort to host this year.

The iNDEE team has produced seven feature films (worked on a combined 15+ features in various capacities), four dramatic one-hour pilots, and ove 100 episodes of nationally televised programming. So they know how to tell a story.

" Through our process you will leave our seminar having a firm grasp on how to take your idea from the planning stages to pre production on your new film. Writers of all levels will learn valuable lessons about the execution of character driven, exciting, story telling. They will be lead by industry professionals giving only examples from the height of cinematic story telling." - THE iNDEE Actors Club Team

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Image credit: Wikipedia)

Villians have always played an important part in our stories as they are often intriguing, have great development, and create tension in the narrative.  Where would we be without someone to root against?  

Sometimes though, they have just enough redeeming qualities that we might like them, or even be rooting for them.  Even those we know of in real life.  Why is that?


Watch their conversation below.

Meet THE iNDEE: Richard Clark, Jr.

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Good Morning and welcome to Meet The iNDEE. Today we spotlight Richard Clark, Jr. Please take a monent to read this interview and get to know Richard better!


What are your hobbies/pastimes outside of work?

My favorite hobby is spending time with my family. We love to travel and just get away. I'm a fanatical Carolina Panthers fan. Additionally, going to the movies, swimming, and playing golf would all make a great day for me. 


How did you know you wanted to be a writer/director/work on set (which ever applies)?

I knew I wanted to be a filmmaker mainly because I am good at nothing else. And I'm ok with that. I completely reject reality. I need to be a filmmaker. 


Meet THE iNDEE: Ryen W. Thomas

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Ryen Thomas by David Superville Ryen Thomas  Photo Credit: David Superville

Today we spotlight Partner/Writer/Director Ryen Thomas.


What are your hobbies/pastimes outside of work?

Its like I have two personalities; One side reads comic books, daydreams and studies random pop culture tidbits while the other side wishes he could get paid being philosophical all day as he studies history, religion, sociology, genealogy, observes folks and shares what he sees via writing, painting and drawing. 


How did you know you wanted to be a writer/director/work on set (which ever applies)?

I've always loved telling visual stories inspired by what I observed that day or saw in an old movie. When I was a kid I used my dad's video camera without him knowing to make short films with my friends and family. When I didn't have people, I turned my action figures into my stars. I didn't really know what I was doing was directing until I was 13, after seeing Jurassic Park and wanted to do what Steven Spielberg did. 

Third Person by Paul Haggis

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Paul Haggis

Paul Haggis Photo credit: David Shankboone via Wikipedia

Third Person is a movie written and directed by Paul Haggis that is three stories in one.  An author having an affair with a journalist in Paris.  An American businessman in Italy who helps a Roma woman in an adventure to reunite with her daughter.  And, an ex-soap opera actress in a custody battle for her son.

The movie began with the idea that there is a third person in every relationship.

Check out this interview with Paul, and Moran Atias, where they talk about how the movie was made with Charlie Rose.


Kira Bursky - We're Okay

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Kira Bursky by Gintare Zukauskaite
Kira Bursky  Photo Credit: Gintare Zukauskaite

Hearing from Kira Bursky is like opening a present.  You never know what to expect but odds are you're going to like it.  If you've seen her work you know what I mean. I recently had the opportunity to catch up with what's she's been doing and have a couple of things to announce.

First she has just graduated from high school.  She has been attending Interlochen Center for the Arts in Michigan. A boarding school with an international reputation for it's studies in writing, visual, and performing arts. The film below is called We're Okay and it's her senior thesis film.  It is a story about self image that includes animation to portray what is going on inside the head of the actor.  Kira said she read a lot of self-help books in doing her research for material to include in the piece.  It sends a positive message that despite what we might think about ourselves or what others might think about us we are loved and wanted.



Kira Bursky and Neil deGrasse Tyson.jpgAlso, she made a film on the subject of using technology to aid foreign students in communicating when coming to America. It was chosen to be screened at the White House where she, along with her mother and the lead actress in Hello From Malaysia, Aiman Marzio, met with such notable people as Bill Nye, Kal Penn, Neil deGrasse Tyson, and the president himself.


Enjoy the film and check out what Kira has to say below.

The Orbs by Jesse H. Knight

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The Orbs is a film I've been wanting to see for some time and I recently got the opportunity.  It stars Christy Johnson and Patrick Keenan in dialogue rich peek into the lives of Loraine and Wilbur in their secluded mountain home. Are they nuts? Rarely leaving their housecoats in the film it is a roller coaster ride of agreement or disagreement between these two.  And what's with the orbs and the flashbacks to the space capsule?  You'll have to see it to find out.


Jesse Knight is an accomplished director who wrote the screenplay for this movie and also has a new one in the works called The Camera Man.  Jesse is also known for directing the police drama series Partners.



I recently had an opportunity to ask Jesse, Patrick, and Christy about the movie.  Check out the conversation below.

John Cullum & William Sadler.jpgWriters are often told to write what you know.  Miles Doleac takes it a couple of steps further.  He writes, directs, and acts what he knows in The Historian.

Miles is an assistant professor at the University of Southern Mississippi. His specialty is in the Classics Department. I recently had a conversation with Miles and Tamarah Murley about the movie and here is what I found.  The story was influenced by his witnessing of the dumbing down of education because of administrative constraints and the Common Core Standards Initiative  that has been in the news so much lately.

This is his directorial debut but being an accomplished theatre and film actor he knew what he was getting into.  He had help with his long time friend and theatre director Mackenzie Westmoreland who helped him produce the movie but also had never worked in film before.  


"This script is a gift to actors."- Glynnis O'Connor, on The Historian


To make the movie the best it could be he brought on board some of the finest actors he could get. 
Casting William Sadler as the university history department head Valerian Hadley,  along with Tamarah Murley as his secretary Jill who wants to keep the office running smoothly and without turmoil.  John Cullum plays Valerian's aging father in the movie.  You may remember John from the TV series Northern Exposure.  A theatre veteran as well as film, he has won 2 Tony Awards for his acting performances.

In this movie Miles plays history professor Ben Rhodes, who has just moved to a  university where he doesn't exactly get along with his boss, Valerian Hadley, the head of the department.  Valerian does not make it easy for Ben, though I think he see's something of himself in the young professor.  They are also at odds over Anna (Jillian Taylor), who is one of Valerian's favorite grad students and a love interest of Ben.

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Also appearing is an actor I've admired for many years ever since I saw her in a TV production of the play Our Town is Glynnis O'Connor.  I'm glad to find her in this movie.   As Dean Jan Messer she must weigh the arguments of all involved. To do what's best for the school in spite of Ben's conflict with Valerian, and his ideas about teaching and how the school should be run.

As I mentioned earlier Miles is an actor in the theatre.  He just finished a very successful run of Les Misérables at the Saenger Theatre in Hattiesburg, Mississippi.  The musical got held over an extra day for an encore performance.  That's what you like to hear.

This movie has everything you might expect to encounter in a college setting: drama, relationships, happy, sad, and funny.  Sure to be a hit you'll not want to miss.


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Check out the trailer below and read the conversation with Miles and Tamarah.

Nowhere Premiere

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Last night was the night for the cast and crew of Nowhere to shine, along with their guests. And shine they did!

Everyone enjoyed the thought provoking movie which shows just how good an independent film can be. Watch out Hollywood!


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I'm looking forward to seeing my first film by the director Ryen W. Thomas in a few days at a private screening he's invited me to.  It's called Nowhere and from looking at the trailer I can't quite tell what this story is going to be but I like the looks of it.  

I'm sure he planned it that way because what fun is it to watch a mystery if you know what's going to happen?   the first thing I noticed is the cinematography and how well it is  done.  This is accomplished with Anil Dhokai as the director of photography and all the attention to detail that he is known for.  

The screenplay was written by Ryen along with Richard Clark, Jr., David Payne, and Will T. Vernon.  Billed as a psychological thriller it is about a con man named Drake that is in need of money and looking for a way to get it.

The setup: Drake (James Molinari) learns about an old Inn in the middle of nowhere that may be the key to getting the money he needs.  Bonnie Johnson, as the innkeeper, appears to be a controlling mother that has some secrets. What is she hiding?  Her son played by Jordan Alexander, what does he know?  Who is the girl (Alexandra Faith) and how does she fit it?


Partners - A New Media Police Drama

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Partners is a new police series from someone who knows police drama.  Darren Conrad has been a North Carolina Highway Patrol Trooper for nearly twenty five years.  He understands what it's like and it's reflected in the story he tells and portrays.

Filmed mostly in the Cramerton, Lincolnton, and Charlotte areas of North Carolina Partners has the feeling of a small town community.  In this New Media series Darren wants you to see not only the things that go on behind the scenes in an officer's workday but also the personal side of his character and that of his fellow officers.


"Darren's a great guy and highly motivated.  He is developing a strong technique and professionalism and while he learns his craft, he is entertaining and moving, folks. And learning it he is, every step he takes, every movie he works on, and now with his new media series project, he is seamlessly developing into an artist before our eyes.  With Darren it's not so much the goal he aspires to, and I do think he will end up making fully professional full length features, but the journey he is on, because every project he undertakes he gives it his usual one thousand percent and treats all those who work with him in the same way.  He has real humility and not pretentiousness and I think genuine talent that will only become fuller and get better.  All the best to you Darren, my friend."  Marco St. John - Actor


Darren, in addition to writing and producing the series plays officer John Walker.  His on-screen partner, Mandy Kain,  is played by Candace Blanchard who does a fine job of displaying the dignity of the job.  "Female police officers are  wives, moms, daughters, etc...just like all of us. The difference is when they clock in to work their lives are on the line. The nature of the job causes daily stress that most of us will never experience." 

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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.