Hype builds at A/perture Cinema
Fresh from its special, one-night-only screening of the independent comedy/drama One Summer Night with actor Ian Nelson, Winston-Salem’s premier art-house theater A/perture Cinema will welcome the “Hype Tour” on Sunday, July 28.
Hype is a new web series that focuses on Smiles Davis (Willie Raysor), an ambitious young man approached by tech entrepreneur Ava English (Andie Morgenlander) to help promote the independent start-up and hip-hop movements in Durham. As their company prepares a major pitch to potential investors and a live-streaming concert, Smiles and Ava become enmeshed in the rap community, replete with its disparate personalities, untapped talents, and interpersonal conflicts.
Hype is the brainchild of filmmaker Hollis Randolph Gallagher and rapper/executive producer Phonte Coleman, of the group Little Brother. In addition to offering an inside exploration of Durham’s music and artistic contingents, the series is also designed to showcase their talents to a wider audience. The series was produced independently and funded on Kickstarter, where it was selected as a “Project We Love,” and is filmed entirely on location in Durham.
Gallagher and Phonte will be on hand at A/perture Cinemas to discuss the project and field questions from the audience.
Hype marks Gallagher’s debut project, and he knew it would be daunting but willingly took on the task.
“I knew many of the challenges going in – shooting five 20-minute episodes of anything on that budget requires abundant energy and being able to rally a team of people who are doing it for the love and the shared vision – but it was still difficult, of course.”
Gallagher’s impetus for the series was simple.
“The project started as a reflection of my community as someone involved in the creative scene in Durham, a city undergoing rapid and front-facing change via an influx of tech start-ups and money,” he explained. “We raised $10,000 from a Kickstarter campaign, largely from people in the area, to shoot the first season, and sourced actors, crew, and music locally – so it’s very much a ‘by-us, for-us’ North Carolina project.”
The Hype tour was a natural extension.
“The tour idea was to take our show out of Durham and interact with creative communities across the state,” he said. “The series has been hyper-localized so far, necessarily, but Hype, moving forward, aspires to be a North Carolina show rather than solely a Durham thing.”
The series has already earned accolades. “Hype, at its best, is simultaneously a balm and a friendly grin to anyone who’s called Durham home, as well as a primer to the area for anyone unfamiliar with its joys and pitfalls,” stated Triangle Guide. “Yes, watch Hype. Yes, talk it up for its hometown grit and charm. But this is a series well worth watching on its own merit.”
Does Hype live up to its hype? Gallagher thinks so, and he’s hard at work on the second season.
“I think we already accomplished our goal of igniting the creative community in Durham to some degree,” he said. “We premiered the series at the historic theater here, the Carolina Theatre, and had back-to-back sold-out screenings, so there was – and I feel still is – excitement about what we’re doing, especially since Phonte got involved.” (Gallagher is also working on a documentary on Phonte’s group Little Brother.)
Looking back on season one, “I’m certainly pleased with the result,” Gallagher said. “Everything came together in the end, including a soundtrack that features a lot of North Carolina artists, and I’m proud of the way we display Durham in the show.”
See Mark Burger’s reviews of current movies on Burgervideo.com. © 2019, Mark Burger.
The “Hype Tour” screening will take place 3 p.m. Sunday, July 28 at A/perture Cinema, 311 W. Fourth St., Winston-Salem. Tickets are $12. For advance tickets or more information, call (336)722-8148 or visit www.aperturecinema.com/. For more information about Hype, visit the official website: www.hypedurham.com.