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CoastLine: Honey Head Filmmakers on flipping the script, making space for women in film

ERIKA and KRISTI.jpeg
Erika Arlee (left) and Kristi Ray (right) are the co-founders of Honey Head Films in Wilmington, NC and are at work on their first feature, A Song For Imogene

The Honey Head filmmakers describe what they do as putting a narrative spin on the creative world. The company is run and staffed by women. They say they’re breaking down barriers not only as female filmmakers — but as full-time working artists in Wilmington, North Carolina.

Kristi Ray knew from the time she was a little girl that she would be an actor. Erika Arlee knew that cameras and storytelling called her creativity into focus. But as they entered the professional world of film, they were frustrated by the roles available to them: the hot nurse, the waitress, the nagging girlfriend: small, one-dimensional roles furthering a male-driven plot.

Not that there’s anything wrong with male-driven plots or male characters. But the mind-numbingly narrow perception of women through the eyes of straight men have essentially controlled Hollywood and its storytelling from the beginning.

In the 21st century, women are rising through the ranks and taking more above-the-line jobs – producer, director, cinematographer – but the gender gap is still observable, both in the types of jobs women hold in the industry and the kinds of stories getting made that involve female characters.

But back to the heroines of our story: their paths collided when Erika Arlee published a casting call for a short film on Craigslist. Kristi Ray answered it, and Erika cast her as the film’s lead. That was 2015. Six years later, the two moved the film production company they co-founded, Honey Head Films, into a building on Castle Street in Wilmington, North Carolina.

The filmmakers describe what they do as putting a narrative spin on the creative world. The company is run and staffed by women. And they say they’re breaking down barriers not only as female filmmakers but as full-time working artists in Wilmington, North Carolina.

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A Song for Imogene is the first feature-length film for Honey Head Films in Wilmington, NC.

Honey Head Films is:

Erika Arlee, Media Director and Co-founder

Kristi Ray, Creative Producer and Co-founder

For more on A Song for Imogene:

https://www.imogenemovie.com/

Rachel hosts and produces CoastLine, an award-winning hourlong conversation featuring artists, humanitarians, scholars, and innovators in North Carolina. The show airs Wednesdays at noon and Sundays at 2 pm on 91.3 FM WHQR Public Media. It's also available as a podcast; just search CoastLine WHQR. You can reach her at rachellh@whqr.org.