A crime unravels a family; one woman's wish is to keep that family together.
In the New Daydreams Film “Waiting for Butterflies,” John Archer is summoned home when his grandmother falls ill.
Her last request is to see her family reunited.
“Slowly the darkness begins to lend itself to light, (and) little does (the family) know a miracle is on the horizon,” according to the movie's synopsis.
On Oct. 5, local audiences will be the first to see this film.
“Waiting for Butterflies” was shot in Aiken with Aiken residents.
This was because of one resident and official – Carla Cloud.
Cloud, executive director of the Aiken Downtown Development Association, met the crew of New Daydreams when she was cast in its TV pilot “Home.”
“After seeing the quality of their work and knowing the beautiful scenery that we have in Aiken, I felt like I needed to get them to Aiken and show off our town,” she said.
The crew came down to show a premiere of the pilot here, again per Cloud's suggestion.
While the crew as here, Cloud and former Aiken Public Safety Chief Pete Frommer seized the chance to show off the city.
“When they saw the tree at the Aiken Training Track, they knew 'Waiting for Butterflies' had to be filmed here,” Cloud said.
Auditions were held last March.
People came from North Carolina, Tennessee and Georgia, according to Kent Allen, one of the film's directors, editors and producers.
Out of the 200 people who came, 30 people were cast.
Starring in the movie is Jason Burkey as John Archer. Burkey was also in the 2012 faith-based movie “October Baby.”
Cloud is just one of the locals cast. She stars as Rachel Mills with Bob Engle playing her father James Archer.
“I feel so blessed to have been chosen for this role,” Cloud said. “It's the kind of role that is every woman's dream role; the character runs the gamut of emotions.”
Aiken residents were also used for the crew.
The filming took around two weeks last September.
During that time, the cast and crew were seen at in the Alley and Betsy's on the Corner in downtown, and at South Boundary and Hopelands Gardens.
“I love the whole process of film work,” Cloud said. “Even when I'm not directly involved with the scene, I'm still so intrigued.”
Allen and Cloud recall the community chipping in to support its locally-made movie.
In addition to the businesses allowing the crew to film at their location, the out-of-town cast and crew stayed at area hotels. Newberry Hall and Desserves were a couple places that provided food for the cast and crew as they filmed.
“The residents helped us out tremendously,” Allen said.
On Oct. 1, 2012, a status was posted on the movie's Facebook: “That's a wrap! 'Waiting for Butterflies' has just put principal photography in the can! Thank you so much to all our cast and crew, you guys are awesome!”
Though the cast got to rest, much more work was left to be done.
For about five months, the post-production crew went through five cuts of the film, Allen said.
In August, the movie was “picture locked,” or complete in editing.
Then, it was composer Enrique De La Torre and sound designer Will Vernon's turn.
Torre was chosen out of at least 5,000 submissions, Allen said.
It came down to him and a woman from Japan.
Torre is from Mexico.
Music in the film will be from Torre and Vernon but also from Christian artist Richard Kimball and the Czech Republic's Michal Jos Petr.
On Oct. 6, the public will finally be able to see their neighbors on the big screen.
“I'm so excited for the community and everyone who was involved,” Cloud said. “I'm nervous because I'm putting my acting skills out on display for a rather large audience ... I'm relieved, because I think people will be so pleased that this has truly come to fruition and that it is something Aiken can be proud of.”
The showings will be at the Aiken Center for the Arts at 3 and 6 p.m.
A question and answer session with the cast and crew will occur after each showing.
Tickets are $10. Reservations are required.
The debut screening on Oct. 5 at the URS Center for Performing Arts is by invitation-only, though the public is invited to see the cast and crew come in on the red carpet that night.
It will begin at 7 p.m.
For more information, call 803-649-2221 or 803-507-3674.
For those who would like to support “Waiting for Butterflies,” New Daydream Films is running a campaign to help raise funds to helping cover continuing costs.
For more information, visit www.indiegogo.com/projects/waiting-for-butterflies.
Reverence Pictures Media and Allen Films are also associated with this production.
Cloud remembers moments like “shooting a scene when it was cold you could see our breathe, but we weren't supposed to be cold,” “lot of laughter and bonding” and “shooting a scene with Jason Burkey and realizing that I should really should have asked him for his autograph.”
“I just want to thank those in the community and my family for being so supportive, for taking a chance on this project,” Cloud said. “'Waiting for Aiken' will make Aiken proud.”
For more information on the film, visit http://wearendf.com/waitingforbutterflies/index.htm.