Displaying items by tag: independent film

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SSP/Verite Cinema World Premiere - 'Into the World 2: A Toddler's Tale'

"credit" PJ StarksOWENSBORO, KY (6/30/13) - Into the World introduced us to Connor Starks the day after his birth as told through the eyes of his older brother Logan. We learn what it’s like to be a six year old child and how they welcome a new edition into the family. It’s two years later now and Connor is about to turn two years old. A lot has happened over this course of time. Logan is now eight and takes us on another journey using his unique perspective on growing up with a little brother.

The Sugg Street Post is proud to present the Online World Premiere of Into the World 2: A Toddler’s Tale, the latest film written and directed by Logan Starks. The first film was a personal family project to give Logan a unique way to welcome Connor into the Starks family. Two years after the original film, Logan takes us on another funny, quirky and often heart felt adventure through the eyes of an eight year old trying to be a role model, protector, friend, and brother.

Watch the embedded video below. Thank you for joining us for the Online World Premiere of Into the World 2: A Toddler's Tale.

Sugg Street Post
Information provided by Verite Cinema via P.J. Starks

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Community Collage: Lucid World Premiere

"credit" Jessi SmithHOPKINS COUNTY, KY (6/28/13) - On Friday, June 21, Big Biting Pig Productions held the World Premiere of Lucid at the Ballard Convention Center in Madisonville, KY. Thunder echoed eerily throughout the building as excited moviegoers got in line for their chance to get an autograph from Bill "Leatherface" Johnson of Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 fame.

In all, over 300 people were in attendance and the film proved a huge success. The two masterminds behind Big Biting Pig Productions, Steve Hudgins and PJ Woodside, were thrilled with the turnout.

"The crowd was lovely and seemed to be having a great time despite the thunderstorm washing out the 'red carpet' aspect," says PJ Woodside. "I've heard nothing but praise for the movie and the new venue. Bill Johnson was a trooper and signed a lot of DVDs, posters, photos, and even a few other 'unique' items."

"It was our first time at the new venue, the Ballard Convention Center, and everyone seemed to have a blast," says Steve Hudgins. "We're happy to be able to have our premieres in Madisonville. It gives the folks in and around town a chance to experience a movie world premiere and meet a horror icon like Bill 'Leatherface' Johnson."

To read a movie review and interview with Bill Johnson, check out the Sugg Street Post's latest installment of Movie Mouth by Nick Faust.

If you would like to purchase a copy of Lucid you can order one on the Big Biting Pig Productions website or at Red Wagon Antiques in the Parkway Plaza Mall in Madisonville.

To see a collection of photos taken by Sugg Street Post photographer Jessi Smith, simply scroll below.

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Written by Jessica Dockrey
Photos by Jessi Smith

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Contributor Collage: Mad Flavor Fest in Retrospect, Part 3

"credit" Casey PiscitelliHOPKINS COUNTY, KY (6/25/13) – Scroll below to see a Contributor Collage, provided by Madisonville resident Casey Piscitelli, full of photos from the first year of the Mad Flavor Arts & Music Festival.

See previously posted photos by clicking the links below:
Community Collage: Mad Flavor Fest in Retrospect, Part 1
Community Collage: Mad Flavor Fest in Retrospect, Part 2

Thanks again to all of you who helped make the inaugural year such an overwhelming success!
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Written by Jessica Dockrey
Photos by Casey Piscitelli

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Community Collage: Mad Flavor Fest in Retrospect, Part 2

"credit" Jessi SmithHOPKINS COUNTY, KY (6/25/13) – Scroll below to see another Community Collage full of photos from the first year of the Mad Flavor Arts & Music Festival.

If you haven't already seen the first Community Collage from the fest, click this link.

Included, are a few shots of the Sugg Street Post promoting the Mad Flavor Fest at the first Friday Night Live of the summer.

Thanks again to all of you who helped make the inaugural year such an overwhelming success!

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Written by Jessica Dockrey
Photos by Jessi Smith

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Community Collage: Mad Flavor Fest in Retrospect, Part 1

"credit" Jessi SmithHOPKINS COUNTY, KY (6/21/13) – We wanted art and we wanted music. We wanted kids running around barefoot in the grass, filling the air with laughter. We wanted to bring the community together like a family, everyone joining collectively in their appreciation for the wide-range of local talent we had amassed in one place. We wanted to create electric synergy. Guess what? We pulled it off.

An idea that started with one man grew into a collaborative art/music piece that was woven together by over 250 people from the community and surrounding areas. It took a village to make it happen—that, hard work, and a lot of dedication.

Upwards of approximately 70 individual musicians, 12 independently made films by separate groups of filmmakers, over 20 local artists and crafts makers, multiple local food vendors, the Madisonville Fire Department, the Hopkins County Humane Society, the Ballard Convention Center crew, a group of over 20 local Red Cross volunteers, sound and light technicians, a group of kid-friendly entertainers, and a large crew of local Mad Flavor Fest volunteers—thus was the rallied team. We were an organized family of like-minded folks with a common goal: sharing art, love, and music in the hopes that money could be made for the Mid-West Kentucky Chapter of the American Red Cross.

"credit" Jessi SmithBut why the Red Cross?

The Red Cross seeks to prevent and relieve suffering both here at home and around the world. Yet, the American Red Cross relies solely on the generosity of the people. So, we decided to bring the people.

Only a few stood at the core of festival planning, but excitement is addictive and dreams are inspiring. The spark was thrown and a fire ensued. At the end of the day, with exhaustion taking hold, we were all filled with a sense of triumph. Over a year worth of planning had come to a head and we were left to put the final pieces back in their places. It was time to clean up and roll out of the Ballard Convention Center grounds. And, at the festival’s conclusion, once the music had stopped, only a few stood barefoot in the grass to reflect on the adventure.

In total, $7,325.31 was raised for the Mid-West Kentucky Chapter of the American Red Cross.

Good job. Well done. Tearing down the outdoor stage while tossing around a few jokes—laughter.

With festival planning already in the works for 2014, I leave you with a community collage of photos taken by Sugg Street photographer Jessi Smith. Keep an eye out for more photos that will be posted soon.

Thanks to the community for their overwhelming support and thanks to those who helped make the festival possible. At the end of the day, it takes more than just a few men and women to make things happen. It takes a mass of people to create change. It takes a group of dreamers to usher in a new way of thinking. It takes a loving family to make it work. And I consider all those who participated—from the big jobs to the small—my brothers and sisters in this strange and confusing world we share together.

See you next year!

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Written by Jessica Dockrey
Photos by Jessi Smith

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Owensboro Filmmaker Featured on PBS, Video Included

"credit" Gilles PhotographicsOWENSBORO, KY (4/29/13) - Owensboro filmmaker and founder of Verite Cinema,  P.J. Starks, is currently being featured on the 21st season of the PBS program, Main Street, which highlights interesting people, places or things.

Starks was selected by the network to be featured on the program to showcase the independent film work he has done in and around the community of Owensboro, KY.

"It was extremely cool for me to have PBS let me tell my story," says Starks. "I've been working very hard in the community to make a name for myself and to be recognized for my efforts was very humbling. Verite Cinema started out as a means to express my need to be creative and has evolved into an avenue to help others get their projects acknowledged through events such as Unscripted: An Indie Film Xperience. My journey thus far has been surreal and I feel fortunate that I got the opportunity to relive it through a reputable station like PBS."

PBS has recently released the interview and you can watch it by clicking the embedded video below.

Sugg Street Post
Written by Jessica Dockrey
Photo by Gilles Photographics

 

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Sony Features Local Film Company

HOPKINS COUNTY, KY (1/23/13) – A local independent film company, Big Biting Pig Productions, has been featured in this month's Sony Creative Software newsletter. Horror masters PJ Woodside and Steve Hudgins have been highlighted because of the notable work they have done using Vegas Pro software, which is licensed by Sony.

“I have gotten in the habit of posting on the Sony Vegas Facebook page whenever something we have edited using the Sony Vegas Pro editing software wins an award,” explain PJ Woodside. “I guess it finally paid off.”

Sony representative Steve Foldvari contacted PJ and asked if she would send them additional information on their use of the Vegas Pro software.

“That started a dialogue, and the next thing I knew we were being featured in the Sony Creative Software newsletter for January 2013,” says PJ. “He [Steve Foldvari] is also interested in using some of our clips for user reels, and to demonstrate how we use Vegas.”

The unstoppable horror masterminds couldn’t be more excited about the exposure.

“I think it's great,” says Steve. “As we continue to make movies and release them, more and more people are hearing about us. People are becoming more interested in what we are doing and what we've been able to accomplish.”

“The timing couldn’t be better since we’re trying to promote our latest film, Lucid,” says PJ. “And best of all, Sony offered us a free copy of Sony Vegas Pro 12, which just came out. We’ve been using Vegas since we started making movies [around 2007] and are very happy with it. Since we’ve just switched to HD and have a name attached to Lucid, the timing is perfect.”

Sony has also asked Big Biting Pig Productions if they would send in some sample reels for inclusion in the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) conference, which will be held in Las Vegas, Nevada. This conference brings together countless industry-related businesses that will showcase their latest software and products.

“Basically, Sony likes to show off clips that demonstrate their product,” says PJ. “We are sending a variety of clips from Lucid with lots of action and a few effects. I’m not sure what they’ll use, though, because they want about a minute of material from which they will pull about 10 seconds. It is great to be considered, and it’s wonderful that we’ve established a relationship with Sony. It’s definitely mutually beneficial.”

“The sample reel we are sending in is more of a short teaser on the film,” explains Steve. “It will focus more on interesting visuals taken from the movie as opposed to giving a greater sense as to what the movie is about, as a normal trailer's goal would be.”

PJ has informed the Sugg Street Post that there is a chance that Francis Ford and Sofia Coppola might be in attendance this year.

“You never know,” says PJ. “They might see the Lucid clip.”

Currently, post-production is underway on Big Biting Pig Productions’s seventh feature length film, Lucid. Lucid will be featuring Bill Johnson, who starred as Leatherface in Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2.

Visit the Big Biting Pig Productions website or follow them on Facebook to keep up with the latest information.

You can view the Sony Creative Software newsletter for January 2013 by clicking here.

Sugg Street Post
Written by Jessica Dockrey

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This Old "Witch" Makes Horror Flicks - Haunted Locations and Other Places

"credit" Tim BlairHOPKINS COUNTY, KY (12/7/12) - "This Old 'Witch' Makes Horror Flicks" is a completely uncensored look at independent horror film making. PJ Woodside is one of the masterminds behind Big Biting Pig Productions, an internationally recognized, but locally-based independent movie company that films entirely in Hopkins County, KY. For a sneak peak behind the scenes, read on. (Note: some content may not be suitable for a younger audience)

People often ask us how we find and secure our locations. The short answer — we ask. Sometimes we get exactly what we ask for and other times we have to adjust the scene (though not often!). And sometimes we are offered access to places without even asking!

Every month or so we get an email offering the use of this or that spooky house which “would be perfect for a horror movie.” And they probably are. Unfortunately, we just don’t need that many spooky old houses. Maybe every couple of years or so (though Steve IS partial to them). What we usually need instead are regular homes, workplaces, stores, parks, parking lots, hospitals, and schools.

Yeah. The kinds of places people tend to be most of the time.

Lucid has the most set locations of any movie we’ve filmed to date. This is primarily because the movie is about dreaming, and offers the kind of “jumping around” that’s not as common in our others (though Hell is Full and Spirit Stalkers have quite a few locations as well).

Some of the “ordinary” locations included the offices of Big Brothers/Big Sisters, which served as a clinic; Seibert Chiropractic in Madisonville, which served as our main character’s office; Dave’s Sticky Pig, which provided an interesting exterior for an encounter; and Hopkins County Central High School, which has an auditorium we used for a seminar sequence to feature the character known as The Sandman. We also used several houses, several basements, the park, and a couple of streets.

A few other places in Lucid are quite unusual. One of them — a huge, industrial, cavernous metal structure — looks fabulous onscreen and is going to provide one of the most amazing visual sequences we’ve ever done. We have the Hopkins County Economic Development office to thank for that one.

Two of the other locations ARE actual spooky old buildings, and they were both offered to us by fans of our movies. The first, The Darby House, is located in Dawson Springs, KY. We used the basement for a music video a couple of years ago, and parts of it appear in Spirit Stalkers. We took advantage of some areas we hadn’t used yet for some dream sequences in Lucid. It’s one of the oldest buildings in the area and has many of its original components.

The second, the Morrison Masonic Lodge, is in Elizabethtown, and is well-known for its paranormal activity. The building was featured on Syfy’s Haunted Collectors in Season 2 (Episode 211). It’s a fascinating space, with lots of hallways, doors, stairwells, and one huge lodge room with a balcony. It is also an old building which hasn’t had much updating. And it has quite a history.

We filmed overnight in the lodge back in May, and experienced some ghostly activity several times in the form of a door opening. We even caught it on camera once, accompanied by the screams of our lead actress, who had been running up the stairs in the scene (see a photo of the staircase above). I have a feeling if I scour the footage I might find some ghostly images as well, and maybe even some EVPs.

I’ll keep you posted!

PJ Woodside is the writer and director of Lucid, which features Bill Johnson and will be released in 2013. She is co-producer of Spirit Stalkers and six other movies with Steve Hudgins of Big Biting Pig Productions, and owner of PJ’s Productions. More from PJ's official blog can be found here.

Sugg Street Post
Written by PJ Woodside
Photo by Tim Blair

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Lucid – Bringing Nightmares to the Screen

HOPKINS COUNTY, KY (12/4/12) – The popularity of Big Biting Pig Productions (BBPP) and the respect they receive for their independent horror/suspense films continues to grow, and now fans are anxiously awaiting BBPP’s newest full-length feature film, Lucid.

Filming for Lucid began on Memorial Day earlier this past year and the BBPP crew completed their shooting schedule on Labor Day. The pig’s newest horror flick is proud to boast a cast of about 150 people and hopes to entertain audiences by taking them on an epic adventure through a troubled woman’s subconscious.

“It’s about dreaming,” says writer, director, and actor, PJ Woodside. “It’s the story of a woman whose violent dreams and sleepwalking episodes have progressively becoming more troublesome, more worrisome. She goes to see a well known sleep therapist, but after that, her dreams actually become worse. She finds out there is more going on in her subconscious than she would have ever guessed. There is a lot of stuff in this. [laughs] You can expect a lot of twists and turns. It’s pretty fascinating exploring the dream landscape, I think. There are a lot of interesting characters in this one, too.”

PJ admits that while filming Lucid there were times that she wondered if the storyline was too crazy.

“I am still, as I’m watching pieces of it during editing, thinking, 'Oh my gosh, this is such a crazy movie,'” laughs PJ. “However, when I read the script it makes complete sense. The trick with Lucid was holding it together in my head, while doing all these different little pieces and fitting them together. The continuity for this movie is crazy. We were filming things completely out of order and we had to re-shoot a few things along the way.”

BBPP released their first feature film, Maniac on the Loose, back in 2008, and has released a total of six movies to date. In that time, they have grown exponentially. Many things are just becoming second nature to the experienced crew. They are now able to tout their expertise when it comes to things like breaking down their scripts, scheduling, and obtaining filming locations.

“People always ask me how we get locations,” says PJ. “We just think of a place and then we go ask. I remember the first time I went to ask about using a location for Widow. I went to ask about using the Barnett-Strother Funeral Home. I felt like I shouldn’t be asking, but now it’s different. People know who we are locally at this point. The first summer that we participated in [Madisonville's annual] Friday Night Live, people had no idea who we were. Now they recognize us and know us from our films. So that helps with getting locations. We’ve also gotten really good at setting up shots. Steve has gotten a lot better with the camera. We’ve gotten some nice work from him this time.”

“We've been doing this for awhile now, so there's rarely any surprises anymore with the process of shooting a movie,” says BBPP founder, Steve Hudgins. “Occasionally it was a challenge to get some shooting days wrapped in a timely manner, but that's just part of the game.”

“We had some really long days, and I push people through sometimes,” shares PJ. “Sometimes we will work 15 hour days, and at the end of it, I’m thinking, 'Am I crazy? Are they crazy?'”

“I think we’ve developed a flow, of sorts, from setup to break down that has become second nature,” says BBPP's First Assistant to the Director, Felicia Stewart. "That, and being able to recognize when the other person needs a hand or a moment to mentally regroup.”

“I think that me, Steve, and Felicia plan really well as a group,” says PJ. “Felicia has been a great help for all that. I feel like we all kind of round out the details, and Felicia catches stuff that I might not catch sometimes. Planning is so important because we have a deadline, but also, we don’t want to waste people’s time. Part of that is part of filming, but we try to plan well so that we don’t have people up at three in the morning doing something. It does happen, but we try to be careful about that.”

Lucid will be the first movie that the BBPP crew has shot in high definition.

“Everything is going to high-def now, and you just can’t get any attention for standard-def anymore,” says PJ. “It was a big learning curve for us, but the visuals are amazing.”

How did the cast of Lucid grow to the size that it did? As mentioned before, there were about 150 actors that worked in this film.

“We had a large crowd scene of about 75 people that we filmed at Hopkins County Central High School. It went really well. The crowd looks great, and it was a lot of fun. Dealing with the crowd stuff is not my favorite thing about directing, but Felicia loves it and Steve kind of likes it. Felicia loves it when lots of people are coming in,” explains PJ.

“For me, keeping everything straight with that many people was a challenge,” says Felicia. “My favorite shooting days are when we have scenes that call for large groups of extras, though, so I enjoyed that day of filming immensely. It was exhausting, but fun.”

In addition to the 75 extras that turned out for the crowd scene, there are upwards of about 70 named characters in Lucid.

“There were quite a few sleepwalkers, and they show up several times, so many of them do have names,” says PJ. “The main characters are Monica, played by Brittney Saylor, who appears in 90 percent of the scenes. Her boyfriend Kevin is played by Michael Coon. Jake and Julia are their friends. They are played by Megan Mcgregor and Craig Angel. I play her therapist, Faith. Then there is 'the Sandman,' Aaron Knight, who is played by Scott Cummings. Those are the main characters. Then you have three rather dark characters from her subconscious: Mommy, played by Felicia Stewart, and PawPaw, who is played by Bill “Leatherface” Johnson. The third character is a surprise.”

How did BBPP manage to get Bill “Leatherface” Johnson on board to play PawPaw in this flick?

“We actually decided that we wanted to get a name attached to this one, and we know the organizer of [Louisville, KY's annual] Fright Night Film Fest,” explains PJ. “So we approached him and asked him who might be available. The way it worked out was really great because it benefited both of us. We sponsored Bill Johnson to come in for Fright Night, and we got him for half the day. We were able to do that while he was at Fright Night already, so we didn’t have to pay his airfare or anything. We are trying to secure somebody for the next movie as well. We’ll see how it goes.”

“It was a blast working with Leatherface,” says Steve. “He was a pro and a very nice guy, but when the camera's started rolling he was extremely creepy.”

“It was a pleasure working with Bill,” shares Felicia. “We all enjoyed filming with him. We actually filmed his scenes in my house, which was very cool. When my neighbor found out that Leatherface had been in my home filming scenes, he was extremely impressed.”

Over time, the BBPP crew has built up quite a collection of actors who have appeared in their films over the years.

“It’s amazing to me how much people want to create and have input,” says PJ. “We are so grateful for the people who are involved in our movies. We never forget people who have contributed, and they are part of the whole thing. It’s the collaboration of everybody. We recognize that. In fact, we are going to start calling them 'Piglets.' We should give our fans a name, and that’s the only one that makes sense. We have always made sure to stay in contact with everybody and we let them know how they can be involved. It’s really important. You don’t do anything these days and just expect a passive audience. Anyway that people can contribute is welcome, whether it’s for money or not. People have to make a living, but that’s not living. That’s not everything. It’s almost secondary. You want to feel like you’ve made a difference.”

Lucid is set to premiere during the early summer of 2013, and the Sugg Street Post will continue to keep the community updated on its progress. Last year's premiere of Spirit Stalkers brought in around 350 people. Lucid’s premiere is expected to bring in a crowd of closer to 500, due to Bill “Leatherface” Johnson’s appearance.

At the end of the day, though, what is it about art and film that keeps the crew going?

“I think it’s really important to explore what it means to be human; what it means to have relationships; what it means to be in this world,” explains PJ. “It’s important to explore that, and that’s how we do that, through art. We do it through any kind of expression. I think art is just another word for expression. It’s an expression of the self. I’ve been a writer all my life. I started out working with more literary kinds of writing. When I got my start in horror, I was only half serious about it. I just thought it was going to be a temporary thing. [laughs] Part of what’s happened is that I recognize that part of these genres are as serious as literary fiction. They serve a different need. They fulfill a different part of our consciousness, but they are just as important. They just use a different language. It’s been kind of fun exploring the dark stuff. I’m realizing that there is a lot of material in my brain, that, for many years, I kind of tried to tame, hide, and pretend wasn’t there. Stephen King talks about that. You’ve got to feed the beast a little bit so that it doesn’t get hungry and storm out. With horror, we can do that. We can allow people to explore. What if you did do those things that are so forbidden? In general, I think the purpose of art is to connect, explore, and express what it is that makes us who we are. I spent too many years trying to make a career out of writing, trying to get that book published, looking at the end result instead of seeing it as a process. I realized somewhere along the way that I’m just not alive if I’m not creating. If I’m not writing in some way, I’m just not living. Every community, every place, has a lot of people who are creating art. They are creating it because they want to be famous, but because they have a desire to create. It makes them feel alive because it expresses who they are. We have been told that something is of value only if someone else will pay you to do it. One of the nice things about the explosion of the internet is that you can access other people's stuff. You can get your stuff out there that way as well, and we can see that there is a value, outside of the monetary value, that really is more intrinsic. If somebody else wants to share it with you, it has value. So, we shouldn't always be looking at success or failure based on whether or not somebody is going to pay you for it. We’ve put too much stock in what the advertising world tells us is valuable. We need to stop and say, 'What’s valuable to me?'"

“Movies impact people's lives significantly, whether they're aware of it or not,” says Steve. “Most people, regardless what walk of life they come from, can sit down with most any other person and have a conversation about movies. Think about that a little bit. That's some pretty serious stuff. Since the dawn of time, people like to be entertained in one way or another. Most art forms provide entertainment. Paintings, sculptures, photographs, music, dancing, movies, and sports are all art forms in some way. You'll be hard pressed to find anyone in society who doesn't enjoy one of the aforementioned art forms, and those are just quick examples.”

“Art is expression, and I think history proves that humans have a need to express themselves,” says Felicia. “It can be found in all forms, from ancient cultures to present day life. So I’m not sure you can have one without the other. Movies are such a powerful form of art. They can be a form of escape from difficult times. They can make you see things as you had never seen them before. They can touch something inside of you, trigger an emotion, a reaction, be it scared, sad, happy, or anxious. A good movie makes you feel one or more of these things. I couldn’t be happier than when I’m part of that creative process.”

With each new movie, Big Biting Pig just keeps getting better, and it seems that Lucid will be no exception.

Lucid is going to be incredible, and I’m proud to be a part of such a talented cast and crew,” remarks Felicia.

“For us, it’s a commitment; it’s not just a commitment to the movies, it’s a commitment to the whole community,” says PJ.

To keep up with Big Biting Pig Productions you can check out their website and Facebook page.

Sugg Street Post
Written by Jessica Dockrey

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