In mid-November last year, as the Cucalorus Film Festival opened, filmmakers Erika Edwards and Kristi Ray from the Wilmington Honey Head Films production company hosted a ‘beehive warm-up’ for their new offices located on 15th and Castle streets in the trendy Cargo district.
The wine was poured, the bite was served, the cans of Wilmington beer from the TRU Colors brewery were cracked, and with cheers and cries of celebration, Ray and Edwards cut a ribbon (yellow, naturally) to baptize their new excavations.
They had actually moved into their new office in August, but the pandemic has pushed back the grand opening.
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âWe didn’t have time to take a break and celebrate,â Ray said in an interview a few weeks later in the austere, elegantly decorated offices they share with several other startup-run startups. women.
But, as part of the warming up of the hive – it’s the “hive” like with bees, like bees that make honey, which is yellow like the blonde hair that Ray and Edwards have – they wanted to launch for theirs. friends and supporters their “proof of concept” for what will be Honey Head’s debut feature, the southern drama “A Song for Imogen”, which they hope to start production this spring.
On Thursday, January 13, Honey Head will officially launch its fundraising effort for “Imogene”, carried out via the crowdfunding site centered on the film Seed & Spark, with an event at the Blue Surf Arboretum West, 414 Arboretum Drive in Wilmington.
From 6.30 p.m., a percentage of sales will be donated by Blue Surf to the production budget of “A Song for Imogen”. Reservations are recommended but not required. At 8 p.m., Ray and Edwards will talk about the project, show their proof of concept footage for the first time in public, answer questions from the audience and solicit donations from their fundraiser.
Honey Head was founded in 2016, about a year after Ray and Edwards met while working on an independent film. They’re both actors, and “we got really bored with the kinds of roles we were asked to audition for,” Ray said. “Two pretty blonde girls, we felt like we were put in a box.”
And so, following some pretty common advice in the movie world, rather than trying to get into other people’s movies, they decided to make their own.
From “knowing nothing about cinema,” said Ray, they went on to make 13 short narrative films, as well as documentaries, videos and commercials, many in collaboration with other filmmakers in the region.
They were also successful, winning Best Short Film at the Hollywood Verge Film Awards in 2017 and the Tryon International Film Fest in 2018. âThe Honeys,â as they are sometimes called, was featured by several Wilmington media outlets. , and won the “Best Filmmaker” award from the former local weekly Encore.
Just this week, Honey Head was shooting a proof of concept trailer for a feature film called “Prophets.” Directed by Edwards from a screenplay by Wilmington filmmaker JR Rodriguez, it addresses the issues of human trafficking.
In some ways, Honey Head’s real release party took place last spring, when they hosted the Wilmington Underground Film Festival, or WUFF, in the backyard of the Satellite Bar & Lounge. Carried by a huge crowd eager for a social outlet after months of pandemic containment, and featuring a wide array of video clips from an impressive roster of Wilmington musicians, this was one of Wilmington’s most memorable gatherings of the year.
Ray and Edwards present themselves in a very different way, with Ray being a gracious and deeply friendly type of mother earth and Edwards having a more polite and professional vibe. As a result, they took on different roles at Honey Head. The two share the titles of co-founders and creative producers, with Ray working more on the pre-production side and Edwards taking on the directing and post-production duties.
Ray also continues to play and plays the title role in “A Song for Imogen”. Edwards wrote the screenplay, but she wrote it with Ray in mind, based in part on Ray’s experiences growing up in rural North Carolina.
âI come home and see ‘Imogene’,â Ray said.
The two women say there is a gap in the Southern film market with stories that Edwards calls “genuine, stripped down and honest.”
“At the end of the day,” she said, “we want it to feel real.”
In the film, Imogene is a woman facing the recent death of her mother while trying to escape a toxic and possibly dangerous relationship. It also looks at the challenges and rewards of family.
Ray and Edwards call “A Song for Imogen” a project that has been going on for seven years, as they have been talking about it shortly after they met. In a way, they see themselves as representing the visibility and viability of the independent film community in Wilmington, a city whose film industry has exploded in the past year, with 2021 recording a record $ 300 million. dollars in feature film and television projects. shot here.
This doesn’t always reflect on the independent film community, they said, and their goal is to help create an independent production base to “help keep Wilmington on the map as a movie city” during the years. inevitable ebb and flow of big budgets. fabrications.
They’re only trying to raise around $ 150,000 for âA Song for Imogen,â which they believe will allow them to show potential investors on future projects that they can turn a low budget into high quality.
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In the meantime, they’re trying to involve their community in the process, in part with a podcast called âRaw Unfiltered Honeyâ that documents their cinematic journey. New episodes are released every Wednesday on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music, and other platforms.
Contact John Staton at 910-343-2343 or [email protected]
Want to go?
What: Honey Head Films Launch of the Seed & Spark fundraiser for their first feature film, “A Song for Imogen”
When: 6.30 p.m. Thursday January 13
Or: Blue Surf Arboretum West, 414 Arboretum Drive, Wilmington
Details: Percentage of sales donated by Blue Surf to the production budget of “Imogene”. Reservations recommended, but not required. At 8 p.m., proof-of-concept footage from the feature film will be released.