Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local News

October 24, 2010

‘The Legend of Black Annie’ to begin filming

BLUEFIELD — Filming of the locally inspired “The Legend of Black Annie” will begin on Oct. 27, a film being directed, written and produced by Bluefield native Terrence Flack.

Flack and other members of the film crew came to Bluefield in August to cast local talent for several parts in the film and now will the section of filming set in the Bluefield area. Flack said the story-line for the film was inspired by a legend he and his siblings heard growing up in the area.

Nicholas Fox, the unit production manager for the film, said the name of the local cast members are still under-wraps.

“Terrence came to the Bluefield area a couple of months ago to hold auditions,” Fox said. “These actors were selected based upon the body of work they delivered for Terrence during the audition process.  Simply put, these actors were chosen because they are the best for their respective roles.”

In addition to using local actors, the film will also feature locations throughout the Bluefield area.

“We will be using a number of local businesses and private residences for filming, as well as open spaces such as parks and wooded areas,” Fox said. “ As a former long-time resident and youth in the Bluefield area, there are many places in the town that are special to Terrence.  Terrence has worked extensively with his friends and family in the area to procure the perfect locations for his vision of the film.”

Fox said residents and business owners in Bluefield have been very cooperative with allowing the filming crew to use their property.

“The residents of Bluefield have been very generous and cooperative with their lending of these spaces for filming with little to no remuneration,” Fox said. “Of course, we carry full production insurance to protect the property owner against any liability while we are ‘on set.’  But other than that, everyone has been willing to do business with us on a handshake — a true blessing and a welcome relief in the world of low-budget filmmaking.”

For those not cast in the film, the project is still looking for extras to appear in various scenes.

“We are seeking people of all ages to support the film in ‘extra’ roles,” Fox said. “We have all types of extra roles waiting to be filled, and I’m anxious to get them cast right away. I would encourage anyone who is interested in being an extra to e-mail me with their basic information such as physical description, age, contact information, a recent picture, if possible, to npfox1@gmail.com.”

In addition to extras, the film will also need cars from various time periods since the film is set through five decades of time.

“Our film takes place in five separate eras: 1969, 1973, 1986, 1999 and 2012,” Fox said. “We need period correct vehicles for all eras except 2012 — we don’t expect anyone to have future-cars.  We need a pickup truck and a ‘police cruiser’ that are 1969 or older models.  We need other cars to fill scenes that are 1973 or older models.  From the early 80’s, we need a luxury car, a family sedan or wagon, police vehicles, an ambulance, a news van, and more.  We need similar cars for the 1999 era.”

As well as cars, Fox said he would appreciate anyone willing to donate other vintage items to the filming for authenticity.

“Of course, we can also use various props and set decoration pieces to lend credibility to the décor for homes of each era, for a diner and a barber shop, for an anthropology professor’s office and classroom, and more,” Fox said. “If anyone has items — particularly vintage items, professional uniforms, or car — please send an e-mail with description of the item and a recent picture, if possible, to npfox1@gmail.com.”

Fox said the crew is also hoping to be embraced by Bluefield residents during their time filming in the area.

“We are hoping for great patience from the people of Bluefield as we invade the town for a month,” Fox said. “We are hoping for great folks to turn out as extras and volunteers for the film.  We are hoping for cooperative weather for our days slated to film outdoors.  We are looking forward to some of that southern hospitality that is so very hard to find in Los Angeles.  And we are hoping to make all of our scheduled 23 days of filming without any overtime, beyond the already scheduled 10-14 hours per day.”

According to Fox, the film crew will spend nearly four weeks in Bluefield working on the film.

“We will film over the course of 26 days, with only three days off during that span,” he said. “An average day of filming will be between 10 and 12 hours, with days as long as 14 hours on the schedule.”

Fox said Flack in particular is looking forward to getting back to his roots.

“It is great to be coming back to Bluefield, as it is home to Terrence and his family,” Fox said. “This is my second time in production on an independent film and in both instances I have been fortunate enough to work with producers/writers who bring their films to their hometowns.  Family makes all the difference in these situations!  They ‘adopt’ the whole crew and make the process feel a lot less like work.  It’s wonderful.”

Fox said resources native to the area will also make the film more authentic.

“It will be fantastic having some of Bluefield’s resources at our disposal,” Fox said. “The town’s look and architecture is a perfect match for the ‘feel’ that Terrence is looking for with this film. Using local talent and resources will further lend that credibility and authenticity.  And of course, being a low-budget film, we can achieve dramatic cost savings through the generous donations of locations, props, picture cars and more that the wonderful people of Bluefield are providing.”

Fox said the autumn atmosphere of the Bluefield area fits in well with the horror theme of the film.

“As the film is a scary, supernatural thriller, autumn seemed like a perfect time of year for filming in an area that actually experiences seasons,” he said. “From the leaf-less trees to the chill in the air, the environment plays no small part in giving the film that creepy, supernatural feel.  It’s easier for the actors to get into character in such an environment.  And from a technical aspect, lightly overcast skies give a flatter, more widely balanced light that is preferable for outdoor filming.”

Fox said he believes there will be positive impact on the local economy while the crew is in the area filming.

“We will definitely be pumping some money into the local economy, both within Bluefield and regionally in other parts of West Virginia,” he said. “Though our cast and crew are modest due to the film’s budget, we still all need to eat and sleep somewhere locally, and there will be gear to rent/buy with local merchants from Bluefield to Charleston.  While I cannot speak to a huge tourism ‘boom,’ I can say that I am personally very interested to visit Bluefield and learn a little more about the town’s rich history — especially that of the early twentieth century.”

When filming is finished, the crew will return to Los Angeles for post-production, which Fox said can be a long process.

“After returning to Los Angeles, we will begin the post-production process of editing the final cut of the film together,” he said. “This process can take months, and involves a number of both artistic and technical procedures.  Our plan is to have a final cut of the film ready for submission to next fall’s group of film festivals.  While our process is very streamlined in comparison to that of a major studio’s, it is in line with the process of most low-budget independent films.”

Fox said post-production is a time-consuming process.

“Editing and post-production can be one of the most arduous and time-consuming aspects of filmmaking,” Fox said. “On a large-budget production, an average day of filming will produce around 30-60 seconds of film in the final movie.  On our lower-budget production, we need to get four to five minutes of film per day on average.  So we won’t have quite as much raw footage, but we will still have in the neighborhood of 35 to 40 hours of film ‘in the can.’  That’s a week’s work just watching all of it once.”

The crew will then put the chosen pieces of the film together like a puzzle.

“You spend weeks picking out the ‘takes’ that will compose the final cut of the film,” Fox said. “Then you need to put the footage through post-processing to make sure the colors and exposure are accurate and optimized for showing on the big screen.  You edit the audio and mix in the music.  On my last independent film, the post-production process took nearly nine months.  We’re using similar camera and audio technology this time, so I would expect the process to be similar as well in both scope and duration.”

When the film is finished, Fox said it will most likely have at least a PG-13 rating.

“Due to the supernatural thriller’s scary content, you can expect this film to have a PG-13 rating,” Fox said. “We intend to keep the rating at a PG-13 level in order to reach as wide an audience as is possible.  Release dates are hard to predict because they are predicated on entering into an agreement with a distributor, but we are planning to do initial screenings for Halloween 2011.  As to a local showing or premiere in Bluefield, we will definitely plan to walk the red carpet with our local friends and hosts.  After all, you can’t have a red carpet event without the stars of the film, can you?”

Mostly, Fox hopes Bluefield residents will be excited to help out the film crew with the project.

I hope and believe the local residents of Bluefield will get caught up in the excitement I share for filmmaking,” he said. “While the work is hard and the days are long, the end product is a permanent mark on cultural history.  Those who come out to help can say they were part of making a film.  They become a part of the story, and they enable future generations to be able to live that story.  So come on Bluefield, are you ready to make history with us?”

— Contact Kate Coil at kcoil@bdtonline.com

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