WILMINGTON – âMusic videos are so creative and liberating,â Honey Head Films’ Kristy Ray wrote to Port City Daily on Tuesday.
His production company – founded with Erika Edwards – launches its second Wilmington Underground Film Festival Wednesday night at the Satellite Bar and Lounge. The format of the festival: the clips.
Created last spring at the start of the lockdown, the Wilmington Underground Film Festival is a project Ray said she and her team have dreamed of hosting. They wanted to show the depth of creative talent apparent throughout Wilmington, focusing specifically on “emerging filmmakers living and working outside the box,” explained Ray.
Sixty-five filmmakers presented works in four genres: avant-garde, narration, documentary and music video. Each movie lasted 12 minutes or less.
âIt was all virtual, word of mouth and a very successful interactive community event,â said Ray. âAt the time, we had three interns who were helping to program, promote and edit different blocks of movies together in a seamless way. “
An audience of over 200 people gained access to a secret website to stream the films. Ray said Honey Head edited shortened comments to engage viewers, and there was a live chat scroll for the audience to interact with.
âIt was truly a beautiful thing to see our community come together in such an uncertain time to encourage each other, experience stimulating work and create an engaging conversation about local cinema,â said Ray.
Now, coming out of the pandemic, Honey Head has decided to host a second event to showcase 30 more works from the lockdown. Specifically, Ray said, they knew longer projects had been curtailed by Covid.
“[W]ith the limitations we all faced as filmmakers during the pandemic, there was bound to be a genre shortage, âshe said.
Still, the music videos apparently haven’t stopped, according to Ray: âIt’s something we’ve been able to continue to produce pretty much non-stop over the past year, and we’ve seen a similar momentum in and out. around the independent community. We wanted to take a break and make room to celebrate all that we have achieved and overcome collectively. “
Chelsea Lea, a film student at UNCW, will release a video for “The Last Time” by local band Dead Cool. This is the second single from Johnny and Angela Yeagher’s latest post-punk darkwave band. The husband and wife duo have performed in punk bands for the better part of two decades, most recently Zodiac Panther. They decided to test a new sound after temporarily closing their hair salon during Covid.
âWe’ve wanted to do something like this for a long time, and the pandemic has given us the chance to do it,â Angela said. “It brought back our passion for music, and we’re more creative and writing songs in a different way.”
More electronically oriented, with synths, guitar and bass, Dead Cool has released three singles so far, with a fourth in July. Although they haven’t performed live yet, the music video for âThe Last Timeâ will be their official introduction to local audiences at the Wilmington Underground Film Festival.
âMy vision for this film was to show the power of transforming identity with adornments and masks,â Lea said.
Lea used lights and camera equipment from UNCW, where she is studying to earn her MFA in Film Studies. She said it took over a week to keep the footage from the video; she worked with different women in a private studio and experimented with light and color to overlay images. Her goal: “to showcase the unique beauty of these women,” said Lea.
âDead Cool inspired me to create a piece showcasing Gothic beauty and how subcultures are viewed in mainstream culture,â Lea explained. âThere is a power in being unique in our society. “
It is the first time that the major of the cinema realizes, takes care of the photography and edits a clip. âIt took about a month and a few changes for the final cut to be completed,â she said. “It was a labor intensive process – even if the work was worth it.”
Local musician Kevin Earl McClary, who has shot his own music videos over the past year, will make a return to the Wilmington Underground Film Festival. At last spring’s event, he screened “Sports Radio / Lime Juice” and “Everyone is Here”.
This year, McClary premiered âBicycleâ as part of a 15-minute music video project featuring his full EP, âFlip the Coin,â released in April. McClary filmed each song on “Flip the Coin” to stand out individually – despite the fact that everything could be streamed.
‘Biking’ revolves around his favorite pastime in Wilmington, he said, ‘The very first saying is’ my bike is my best friend. “
Even the creation of the song is somewhat meta; McClary admitted to writing it in his head as he cycled through town. âI just think bikes are the best vehicle on earth and the best way to explore a city,â he said.
When he found an old family camcorder from the 90s, he came up with the idea of ââmaking a complete visual album. McClary also wanted his job to be simple; he hoped to evoke a vibe more than a narrative, the latter of which he said can be more difficult to achieve in music videos.
âYou usually only have a few minutes to tell a story without any real dialogue,â McClary explained. âI like clips that aren’t too complicated. The visuals should be added to the music because the music is the main event.
McClary has captured footage of himself riding – a daily habit he picks up to decompress from work. He said he was looking for unexpected images.
âThings as simple as a cold shadow on the ground or a motorcycle passing by a cycle lane sign that says ‘No motor vehicles’,â McClary explained. âMaybe I’m just entertained by the simple things, but I feel like you see the world differently on a bicycle. When you’re in a car, it feels like you’re watching the world go by on a green screen. On a bike, things are funnier, more interesting, more real. I tried to capture that feeling in this video.
McClary said he’s given a lot of thought to how music videos have evolved over the past 40 years since the early days of MTV, especially as media and entertainment are consumed in very different ways. In 2021, he said directors should take into account the short attention span of audiences.
âI wanted to do something that was easy to watch,â he explained. âYou can turn it on and let it roll. You can log in and log out while feeling the vibe.
Ray said Honey Head also kept this in mind when hosting their first Wilmington Underground Film Festival in person. “[Itâs a] program that people can socialize around, âshe explained, with the videos edited into a fluid piece, mixing imagery and audio cohesively.
Honey Head has worked on three music videos throughout the pandemic. “Faint Glow,” by former Wilmington Stray Local band, features “an urban montage offering respite for lonely creatives,” according to Ray.
It was filmed at the start of the shutdown after all of Honey Head’s plans either dried up or were postponed. Hannah Lomas of Stray Local said the video focuses on five individual stories and visions Ray came up with just hours after accepting the project.
âI was blown away,â Lomas said. “With Covid also in the mix, Honey Head shot each vignette separately, and with impeccable editing, woven a beautiful story of separation and oneness, of sweetness and strength.”
Honey Head also worked with Heads Up Penny on a song called “Mud Puddle Pine”. Ray said the team met the group at a wedding before heading to Clayton, NC to film at a historic hot dog restaurant.
âWe turned this narrative-sketch-comedy clip into a one-day blitz,â Ray said.
Still, she recalled the making of “Sinestro” by Louis The Rapper as the most ambitious project the production team undertook last January. A 35-person crew teamed up with director J. Noel Sullivan, who presented a five-page script as a “concept track” for the rapper’s latest album, “Saturday Night Cartoons.”
âWe have collectively worked our asses over the next three months to launch, equip, locate, plan and muster all the resources needed to complete a project of this capacity – each with a desire to upgrade the caliber of work that will come out of the underground independent scene, âexplained Ray.
Wednesday will be the premiere of “Sinestro”, and the other two videos produced by Honey Head will also be screened.
The Wilmington Underground Film Festival will present a variety of music genres – hip-hop, punk, reggae, post-rock to folk – and styles of films, including stop-motion, 16 millimeters, 6,000 pixels and “always with a good dose of VHS, âRay said. She said the festival strives to be inclusive for all artists.
âIt was really cool to schedule this event and see the different ways people have achieved their vision in light of so many [Covid] restrictions, âcontinued Ray. “[The] The independent underground cinema scene is alive and well here in Wilmington, and this creative tribe deserves a platform for free and borderless expression – a supportive collective that stands up for community rather than competition.
The Wilmington Underground Film Festival will present âThe End in Sight Music Video Nightâ for free on Wednesday, June 2 at the Satellite Bar and Lounge; the doors are at 7 p.m. and the screenings start at 8:15 p.m.
Ray said the festival will likely reappear by the end of the summer for an oral / experimental creation event: âThis screening and simple style gathering was written by WUFF. “
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