Craig Brewer's $5 Cover rolls out next month, but Brewer isn't the only local filmmaker with a serialized Web project on tap. Writer/director Mark Jones (Eli Parker Is Getting Married?, Fraternity Massacre on Hell Island) and his frequent collaborator, Ryan Parker, will launch On the Edge of Happiness this week. The film is a five-part online soap opera, modeled partly on the murder mystery/cliffhanger plotting of Dallas' famous "Who Shot J.R.?" storyline.
The first episode — which takes place behind the scenes of an impending wedding between characters Sarah (Corie Ventura) and Philip (Billie Worley) — ends with a murder and sets up about half a dozen potential suspects with motives rooted in family intrigue, illicit affairs, and other kinds of drama. The mystery will unravel through four episodes.
The first episode of On the Edge of Happiness premieres Tuesday, February 24th, at EdgeofSoapOpera.com The four remaining episodes — about 15 minutes each — will be posted at the rate of one a week. A trailer for the film and a "family tree" to help you get the characters and their relationships straight are already on the site.
As On the Edge of Happiness launches, another impressive local film project is entering post-production. Daylight Fades, the latest feature project of Old School Pictures — director Brad Ellis, writer/actor Allen Gardner, and their cohorts — wrapped its two-month shoot February 15th at a Midtown house after filming at locations such as Overton Park, the P&H Café, the South Bluffs, and Earnestine & Hazel's.
The Old School crew are two-time winners of the Best Hometowner Feature award at the Indie Memphis festival with The Path of Fear and Act One, but based on the budget (10 times Act One, according to Ellis), scope, and impressive early demo reel, they're aiming even higher this time.
The vampire-themed feature is a return to the horror genre for a crew that got its start with a high-school-era shot-by-shot remake of Halloween. But Gardner, who wrote the film and first pitched the idea to Ellis at Act One's Studio on the Square screening, stresses that it's more a relationship-based drama than a conventional horror film.
In addition to a larger budget, Daylight Fades is a departure for Old School in that it was shot in an expansive, big-screen-ready ratio. The demonstration reel — which looks highly professional and is packed with striking shots that make great use of the wider frame — suggest Ellis and crew have stepped up to the challenge.
Daylight Fades enters the edit and post-production process now. Co-producer Ryan Watt says the group hopes to have a finished product ready for festival submissions later this year. You can follow the progress at DaylightFades.com.