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Coffee with award-winning director

Kansas City native, award- winning director sits down alongside local actor Adam Heerey for an interview.

Staff writer

Marion County Record: How did you get started in film?

Kyle Kelley: I started working on sets as a production assistant and worked my way up through the years. I started writing, directing, and producing my own short films.

What was one of your major successes since you started?

Kyle: Last year, I was producing and directing a film for the 48-Hour Film Project in Kansas City. We had to put together a short film, with stipulations on theme, props, and dialogue.

Adam Heerey: It’s pretty shocking to see what can be done in that amount of time. To see all that writing and editing done in such a short amount of time, I was blown away by it.

What project did you decide on?

Kyle: It was a comedy spoof of ‘Law and Order,’ called ‘Deadtectives.’ I don’t do a lot of comedies so I didn’t know how it was going to work.

How did Adam get involved in the project?

Kyle: I asked him if he wanted to be in it, he said yes, and it won the festival. As a team, we won best film and audience choice, and he won best actor.

Have you noticed a difference between the film’s that win best film and the ones that win audience choice?

Kyle: Whichever team has the most people, that’s basically it. We only had two or three people there the night of the voting, so it wasn’t that in our case. Which is great, the audience genuinely liked our film.

What separated last year from other times you competed?

Kyle: It was my fourth year in the contest and I had never won anything prior. I always did drama and so I said, ‘Let’s just do comedy.’

What was the next step after you won in Kansas City?

Kyle: If you win in your city, it goes to Filmapalooza and they hold it at different cities all over the world. Ours showed this year and went up against a couple hundred other films. It got to play in Paris, which is neat.

Adam, how do you find time to balance your full-time job with acting?

Adam: That was difficult, but the fact that it had to be shot in 48 hours was one of the big reasons I could.

Kyle: We actually shot the film in 12 hours, less than that even. We got sleep, and we had a great team with great actors.

If you chose a film to do in Marion, where would you go?

Kyle: I would totally do a horror film in the hotel, easily. It would be a short film. I would do a horror film there in a heartbeat because it’s just awesome, that’s a cool spot.

How about a quick plot summary?

Kyle: Maybe it’s raining outside and the power goes out. The concierge hears a noise but the hotel is empty. Just something creepy, it would have to be shocking.

Since you do frequent projects, what’s a more recent one?

Kyle: I just released a film called ‘Happy Birthday.’ That was in the works for almost three years and it’s 11-and-a-half minutes. It’s about what a father goes through when he loses a child.

How has the reception of that project been so far?

Kyle: We had it in multiple festivals and won quite a few awards. We put it out three weeks ago and it has 13,000 views, so it’s doing pretty well.

How about some current projects you’re doing?

Kyle: We have another film we just finished called ‘The Jog.’ It’s a five-and-a-half minute film done in one take. I can’t say much because it’s not out yet, but we submitted it to Sundance Film Fest and South by Southwest. It’s the most powerful film I’ve ever done.

MCR: How difficult is filming everything in one take?

Kyle: We had to be able to do it properly so the day before we shot, we rehearsed two-and-a-half hours. It starts at one place and just goes to a whole new level, it’s hard.

You mentioned doing commercials and ads, what are some of those about?

Kyle: I’m doing some ads for Veteran’s Day that I think will be powerful. We’re going to do some spots for a domestic violence shelter also. It’s to put the light on survivors of domestic violence in a way that’s not demeaning to them.

Looking ahead, do you have a five-year plan?

Kyle: In five years, I want to be doing films for a studio. Whether it’s for Netflix, Warner Brothers, or elsewhere, I want to make content that’s watchable.

Last modified Sept. 20, 2018

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