aS P O T L I G H T
CREATING A BUZZ
AN EERIE VOICEMAIL MESSAGE from Alex (Haydn Winston) to girlfriend Cheyenne (Kristi Ray)
AS THEY PREPARE TO
opens the captivating proof-of-concept trailer for A Song for Imogene. The feature-length project
RELEASE THEIR FIRST
from independent studio Honey Head Films is in the works and the trailer, currently being shown
only to investors, is receiving a strong response.
“It’s a testament of what Honey Head is capable of creatively from the story perspective . . . the
boots-on-the-ground small footprint filmmaking on a local level, how good that can actually look,”
THE FOUNDERS OF
says Honey Head Films cofounder, producer and lead actress Kristi Ray.
HONEY HEAD FILMS
Ray launched Honey Head Films with Erika Edwards, the writer and director of Imogene, in 2015
after the two met on a craigslist casting call. Today, Ray and Edwards are the self-proclaimed
HOPE TO INSPIRE THE
“Honeys” who run the award-winning boutique film company that produces commercial content,
NEXT GENERATION music videos, documentaries and narrative short films, all in-house.
“Don’t wait around for permission or even an opportunity, it doesn’t just show up at your door-step,
it’s something you have to create for yourself. Erika and I are walking proof of that,” says Ray.
Imogene is Honey Head’s inaugural full-length feature film. It unveils the true, raw, rural South, a
landscape that has been misconstrued by mainstream Hollywood, says Edwards.
“First of all, they never get the accents right. Anyone who’s from the South can say, ‘That’s not
a North Carolina accent, that’s definitely not a Georgia accent,’” laughs Edwards. “They use these
stereotypes of the South to serve a greater plot, create comedy, or craft a character that’s one-
In contrast, Imogene is described as gritty and real. Both Edwards and Ray grew up in North
Carolina and worked together to develop the character of Cheyenne. Imogene began as a short
film — a “short” as it’s called in the industry — with a climactic scene in a gas station bathroom off
U.S. Highway 74.
“I really wanted to say, OK this is set in the South, but it’s a character-driven story, these are real
people living in these drive-by towns and there are serious issues they deal with, and this need to
escape,” says Edwards.
The female-forward plot centers around Cheyenne running from an abusive relationship with
Alex into the arms of a rekindled friendship with her estranged sister.
“I was born in Eastern North Carolina, so I spent my formative years down this tiny dirt road in a
rural area. I’m not very different from that character,” says Ray of her role as Cheyenne. “I also had
an ‘Alex’ once. I see Cheyenne as an extension of who I could have become.”
Edwards and Ray have been nominated to speak at the 10th anniversary of the 3% Conference
in Atlanta this fall, so named because only three percent of creative directors are women and even
fewer are people of color. The hope is to bring that up to 50 percent and Honey Head Films is
contributing to the increase.
“In our industry there is a lot of gatekeeping. I always say, once you get to that point of where
you feel like you’ve stepped through that proverbial gate, turn around and hold the door open for
everyone else,” says Edwards.
“If She Can Dream It, Then She Can Achieve It” is a national campaign designed to inspire
young girls to become innovators in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math). If/Then is
locally exhibited at the Cape Fear Museum and Honey Head Films has been invited to take part.
It will include an outreach component allowing Edwards and Ray to work with students at GLOW
Academy and DREAMS of Wilmington.
“We are really proud to showcase a career path for young girls who can apply their tech skills in
a more creative way,” says Ray.
20 august 2021
By Amanda Lisk
Photography by Allison Potter
Erika Edwards, left, and
Kristi Ray, cofounders of
Honey Head Films, pause
at the conference table at
Genesis Block’s coworking
community in downtown
Wilmington. Honey Head
is one of 10 companies
recently selected for
Genesis Block’s minority-