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Bert Hesse of Studio South at a meeting today in Fort Mill about the plans for Catawba Studios at Catwba Indian Nation east of Rock Hill, SC. He said they hope to have groundbreaking for the first phase by the end of the year. When completed there will be three phases: the sound stages, film and music schools, and retail shops.




English: Wynton Marsalis at the Oskar Schindle...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Wynton Marsalis with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra performing the music of some of the great jazz performers and composers like Duke Ellington and George Gershwin.

Presented by Blumenthal Performing Arts

Saturday, April 23rd, 2016
Music of the Masters: Duke Ellington and George Gershwin
Knight Theater at Levine Center for the Arts
430 South Tryon Street
Charlotte, North Carolina



   
Map of South Carolina highlighting York County

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Effort is underway to create a first class movie studio on 124 acres of land at the Catawba Indian Nation near Rock Hill, South Carolina. $485,000 has been spent on the study so for the project that is expected to cost $45 million. The study will be completed this spring and if all goes as planned the first phase, sound stages and visitors center, could be completed within a year.

Plans  include production suites, an iMax style theater, a film school, and  a music school. Studio South and Pacific Ventures will develop, build and manage the complex.

Maid to Order - Pilot

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Here is the pilot for Maid to Order a new series by Katie Carpenter and Going Cheek Productions.

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As a struggling actress, Margot (Katie) and her friend June (Kendra Staub) come up with a plan to help make ends meet between acting assignments. It has the feel of popular shows like Portlandia and Broad City.  Looking forward to seeing the series.




Kimberly Dawn in A Father's Love

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Kimberly Dawn (also known as Kimberly Hester Huffstetler) is an actor from Gastonia, North Carolina who has been in the business for about two years. In that short amount of time she has been a part of many productions, both big and small , working on some 60 sets here in the southeast.

One of those movies is Darren Conrad's A Father's Love which is currently in production. Here's what Darren had to say about her.

"Kimberly Dawn and I have been good friends for several years!  She has always been so kind and supportive of my work as an actor and filmmaker.  As Kim became interested in the craft of acting, I started noticing her work and how professional she comes across both promoting herself and others.  After Kim worked with me as Featured Background on The Kill Switch and Partners, I felt it was time to see her in action as a Principal Character.  When I started writing A Father's Love, something about the way she speaks and the way she looks became my vision for 'Nurse Millie'.  In shooting her scenes on Sunday, November 8, 2015, Kimberly showed me she can hold her own.  She is very natural, organic, and soft spoken.  She definitely has a 'Niche'.  I was so proud of her on this film and will definitely consider her for other projects I write in my future.  She is a very sweet, compassionate, and caring woman.  'A GREAT FRIEND and HARD WORKER!'"

I had a chance to speak with Kimberly this past fall to learn more about what she is doing. See the interview below to learn more about her and some of the movies she's participated in and the directors she has worked with.

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LaShawn Woolridge, who performs under the name "Poe Anonymous", is a writer, actor, songstress, and poet who has just graduated from Winthrop University. While there, in addition to her work in theatre, she founded the organization Winthrop Def Poets Society.

Def Poets Society, a community for students that are passionate about the spoken word, held a college tour this year called Souls n Substance with events at the University of South Carolina and Clemson University, as well as Winthrop University.

Poe Anonymous will be performing as the featured artist in the Charlotte, North Carolina area over the next few weeks at these locations:


Kelly Cheats

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Kelly Cheats by Trevor Mercer.jpg
Photo credit: Trevor Mercer

















Kelly cheats, or so I'm told.

Seriously, the Kelly Cheats band got their name from an incident at a poker game. I'm sure it serves them well as it's both intriguing and easy for the audience to remember. So they can be sure to come back to see the band the next time they're in town.

There's no cheating when it comes to their sound. A well seasoned group of musicians that like to have fun. Currently finishing up the final touches of their second, soon to be released, album Out of the Patch. 

Always ready to tour the southeast they will be appearing this weekend at Ri Ra Irish Pub in Charlotte, North Carolina (Friday, October 23rd) with their blend of rock, reggae, pop, and blues.


Photos from the PJ Brunson Gala

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A night honoring PJ Brunson.  PJ has been nominated for Best Folk Album of the Year at the IMEA Awards.

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PJ Brunson
Voice classification in non-classical music

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Cocktails and music to celebrate the upcoming 2015-2016 Opera Season. 

Opera Carolina - Prelude to the Season Party
October 15th, 9:00 pm
LABEL
900 NC Music Factory Boulevard
Charlotte, North Carolina





More information about this and other Winthrop University theatre events here:




   
Jane Eyere is an adaption by Polly Teale from the novel by Charlotte Bronte. Directed by David Wohl.

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North Lees Hall. and out buildings. Otherwise known as Thornfield Hall from the novel `Jane Eyre` by Charlotte Bronte (Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)









Jane Eyere
Winthrop University
October 7th thru 10th, 8:00 pm
October 11tth 2:00 pm
Johnson Theatre
115 Johnson Hall
Rock Hill, South Carolina


More information about this and other Winthrop University theatre events here:
Winthrop College of Visual and Performing Arts


   


A select group of films will be shown with the directors there for a discussion and  Q&A along with a meet and greet.



The Hinson Girls

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As a performer, your job is to entertain. No matter how much a virtuoso you are on your instrument it doesn't mean a thing if you are unable to entertain your audience.

The Hinson Girls succeed at both of these things. Playing a combination of bluegrass and gospel each member can hold their own in a room full of pickers. A young band, ranging from 15 to 20 years old, all sisters. Katelyn, Allison, Melissa, and and Kristin.

Darren Conrad: A Father's Love

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Darren Conrad 1.jpgDarren Conrad is a work in progress, constantly honing his filmmaking skills. A hard working man. He is a highway patrolman by day (or night) who fills most of the rest of his time making films. Not content to just act, he also writes screenplays and produces his own works as well as helping other filmmakers with their projects.  Darren has done his share in other departments too. From casting director to wardrobe, makeup, set design, and assistant director. All the while making friends and business contacts.  Filmmaking is a team sport so this comes back to him when he needs help with one of his projects.

Over the years he has stepped up his game by investing more time and effort with each new film.  Finding the right actors for the roles and using the best equipment and production talent he can procure in order to deliver a quality piece of work. Hashing out the details with his go-to director (Jesse Knight)  for the Partners series and his latest film A Father's Love. Whatever it takes.

PJ Brunson

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When we think of "folk music", our minds wander to the past, to the vivid stories about the real characters that our favorite folk songs are about, and to those phenomenal artists who made those stories come alive! We think of Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, Woody & Arlo Guthrie and Neil Young. 
When we think of singer-songwriters, we reflect on the poetic and heart-felt style of writers like James Taylor, Paul Simon, Joni Mitchell, Seals & Crofts, Jim Croce and the emotional wellspring of their songs. 
And when we our thoughts go to contemporary performer-songwriters, our favorite ballad and blues artistes materialize; favorites like Norah Jones, Sheryl Crow, Darius Rucker, Bonnie Raitt and Taylor Swift.

Athena nominated for 3 awards.

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Athena Poster.jpgRobert W. Filion's Athena has been nominated for three awards at the Action On Film Festival. Nominations include Best Visual Effects, Best Dialogue, and  Vanelle who played the part of Emily has been nominated as Best Actress in a Feature Film.









Micah Troublefield loves filmmaking.  Writing, filming, directing, editing... whatever is thrown at him.  But, his main passion is storytelling.  

A partner in the Strawhouse Pictures gang of four along with Brian Oxendine, Anil Dhokai, and Chris Gervais.  They have the ability and sensibility to make quality movies and that's just what they've been doing. 

One of those movies is a short film called The Gospel of Hip Bones premiering this week at the Indie Grits Film Festival in Columbia, South Carolina. Starring Erika Chase, Ernest Bryant Hinnant, Benjamin Caswell, Patrick G. Keenan, and Janice Mitchell Wyatt. Co-written and directed by Micah and Chris Gervais it is a story about a couple of Mormon young men like the ones on bicycles with white shirts and black ties you see going door to door in your neighborhood.  More importantly it is a behind the scenes look at these teenagers and some of the normal distractions of growing up.  Such as discovering the wonders of young girls.
Micah Troublefield by Matthew Turner
 Photo Credit: Matthew Turner


Here's what Anil Dhokai, a friend since high school and accomplished director/cinematographer, had to say about Micah.  "Micah is a good friend and long time collaborator. His films are some are some of my favorite projects to come out of Stawhouse pictures. The humor and style of his stories reflect shows like Freaks and Geeks as well as early John Hughes' movies."


Another co-worker, Justin Hoogeveen, described him like this.  "Working with Micah was fun. He has good knowledge of films and the film making process. He is a really funny guy so every day on set was a great time and we never had a dull moment. He was able to get what he wanted out of a shot and could explain things well to his other camera operators to make sure it came out how he wanted."

I have the impression that being creative is in Micah's DNA and he only wants to work on things that he can do his best on.  We should all have such aspirations!

Below is a conversation I had with Micah last year.


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,

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.



Anil Dhokai - Accomplished Director and Cinematographer

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Anil Dhokai is both a master freelance cinematographer and a talented director.  Spending most of his valuable time in one or another mode of telling stories with motion pictures.  Anil goes wherever the work takes him whether it's across town or halfway around the world and is an asset to every production he works on.

A partner in Strawhouse Pictures which has just released  a special edition of The Strange and Unusual DVD that is also available on Instant Play at Amazon.com.  It is a feature length film that stars Karen Boles, Tim Ross, Christy Johnson, Dervin GilbertErika Chase, and Sean Beck along with many other popular actors from the Carolinas.