“A percentage of projects that I write don’t see the light of day, for a variety of reasons, so when you’re on set and you’re kind of feeding off the energy of everybody, that’s when it actually becomes a real thing for the first time,” he said.
Alanna Foley, who played the role of Natalie, the lead female in the film, shared a similar perspective about being on set.
“Something that stands out about (Holland’s) scripts is, because they’re so well-written, you can kind of start to see it,” Foley said. "Getting to be on set, you really managed to translate his words into exactly what he wanted.”
The film was shown at several festivals in North Carolina and Louisiana, including RiverRun International Film Festival, Cinema on the Bayou, Pontchartrain Film Festival, Carrboro Film Fest and the Charlotte Film Festival. Film production began in March 2019 and the film was virtually released through the Carolina Theatre of Durham on Friday, Aug. 29.
The film was the first foray into narrative work for Blue Cup Productions, Sharp and Gallagher’s production company.
Sharp said he stumbled into the filmmaking world while at UNC serendipitously. He worked with his athlete friends on community relations projects, helping them to use their platform to make a positive difference.
“I was kind of producing and directing, but I didn’t even realize that’s what I was doing, really, I was just working on a project with my friends,” Sharp said.
Sharp said he spent his Morehead-Cain summers working in the sports industry, and was able to partner with the NBA to work on a documentary project entitled “Hoops Africa: Ubuntu Matters.” When the project wasn’t complete by the end of Sharp’s senior year, he decided to change his career path.
“When I decided to pivot into filmmaking, I showed a super early cut of ‘Hoops Africa’ at the Varsity Theatre and launched a crowdfunding campaign,” he said. “Through the support of fellow classmates and community members and professors at UNC, that really allowed for me to dive in headfirst to filmmaking on my own.”
Gallagher also used a crowdfunding platform to launch his career early after graduation when he wrote “Hype,” a web series that took place in the underground rap world of Durham.
“A lot of my artist friends were actors in the show, so that sort of acted as the transition for me while I did some independent screenwriting research and education,” Gallagher said.
About a year after graduation, Sharp and Gallagher met up at local bar He’s Not Here to discuss their common interest in filmmaking, which led to the formation of their company, Blue Cup Productions.
"(Gallagher) and I didn’t set out to start a production company, we were passionate about telling some stories,” Sharp said. “It doesn’t feel much like a job. I hope we never take for granted the fact that what we work on each day is a story we decided was worth telling.”