IOW: Plenty of pre-HOLLY activity

A few weeks ago in this catch-all post, we mentioned an upcoming low-budget action drama titled HOLLY being prepped by HD Productions of Champaign for a late spring shoot. We thought it might be worth our dearest readers’ while to learn about the endeavors of the ambitious young man behind HOLLY, Danny Hill, as well as the production roles he still may need to fill. Ready to roll? Let’s go!

In today’s article we’ve embedded three videos to help illustrate Hill’s output that has appeared since INFECTION, a survival tale-with-zombies for which the Parkland College graduate organized a premiere at the Art Theater Co-op in 2013. First up is a comedic Web series called DOWNTOWN that went live in September and October, covering the misadventures of best friends and college students Ralph (Pierre Devon Stephens), Eme (Miles Springer), and Michael (Hill) as they room together in a rental house near downtown Champaign. We’ve shared the “blooper reel” Episode Six because it features clips and other characters from the run so far.

Next is a non-fiction series we’re happy to see Hill make, ALMOST INTIMATE, in which he interviews other area twentysomethings who are demonstrating talent and drive in their respective pursuits. The dozen episodes that have gone live since January 2014 include comedian Larry Smith, Jr., painter Davon L. Goodlove, pageant competitor Samantha Molina, boxer Kofi Bazzell-Smith, video producer Adrian “AL” Dorsey, and hip-hop musicians Young Club, Young Boogie, and Tae the God; Hill even pays Champaign mayor Don Gerard a visit at the city building to talk shop. Below we offer the most recent installment in which Hill discusses the student-run photography service 50 Diamonds with University of Illinois undergraduates Elijah Okpogie and Nick Yi.

Our last video is one of several miscellaneous pieces mixed in with the ALMOST INTMATE and DOWNTOWN entries on the HD YouTube channel, a music video for local rap artist Kayo and his song “Lost Boys” commenting on the polarizing strife between African-American youth and law enforcement. Mixing public domain and Internet footage of real-life scuffles with a staged altercation between actors BJ Foote and Wes Melton, LOST BOYS is short, tight, and modestly cinematic. It is possibly the best indication so far of the shape HOLLY might take.

So, what will that be? And how can you help? Hill has been soliciting for crew members on Craigslist and other Web sites in anticipation of an April start date – he is already rehearsing with lead actors Sawyer Harris, Tarek Nabulsi, Laquan Grein, Eric Klein, and William Rose II – but we’re not certain which roles have been filled. If you’re interested in working on HOLLY, you should contact Hill immediately through the Facebook page or by writing HollyMovie [dot] HD [at] gmail [dot] com. Positions listed in Hill’s self-promotion are director of photography, make-up/hair, production assistant, location audio, gaffer/grip, and script supervisor.

~ Jason Pankoke

p.s. Did we mention Hill also has his own photography business, The Photography Wing?

p.s.2 As a friendly public service announcement, we’ll note the tech aspects of various moments in DOWNTOWN and ALMOST INTIMATE are a bit rough, particularly with low sound levels in the latter. Make sure you have headphones and/or a quiet space at your disposal, dearest viewers, so you can turn it up to 11 and better hear what our young people have to say!

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