“She’s considered as the female lead,” said Cloud, whose day job is as the director of the Aiken Downtown Development Association. “This is every actor’s dream role. She runs the gamut of emotions.”
The red-carpet premiere is by invitation only, but there will be bleachers outside the theater if people are interested in watching the film stars enter wearing their formal attire. For those who are not on the invitation list, there will be two showings of the film on 3 and 6 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 6, at Aiken Center for the Arts. The cost for the Sunday event is $10.
Waiting for Butterflies is an independent film produced by New Daydream Films, headquartered in Charlotte, N.C. The film focuses on a family’s dying matriarch who has one final wish.
Cloud had appeared in another project with the company and invited its officials to tour the area. When they visited the Aiken Training Track, they had a serendipitous experience.
“They saw the tree, and it was like a tree in the Waiting For Butterflies poster,” said Cloud of the live oak, known as Blue Peter’s tree. It was so named after the horse, Blue Peter, named the best 2-year-old colt in 1948. The horse died in 1950 and is buried under the tree.
The tree seemed like a sign to the filmmakers, and filming of the project was moved to Aiken. Quintessential Aiken locales, such as Hopelands Gardens and South Boundary, also appear in the film along with many Aiken residents.
“Aiken really becomes a character itself in the film – Hopelands, the Training Track, the Alley and other locations. Parts of the film I have seen look like a watercolor painting of Aiken,” according to Tony Baughman, an Aiken resident, who plays the role of Barney.
Baughman’s onscreen piece was minor compared to his behind-the-scenes role. In addition to his actor credit, Baughman is also billed as an associate producer.
“It was so much fun to watch the New Daydream Films crew work – the attention to detail, the focus on painting the film with a cinematic brush that really captured the beauty of Aiken,” Baughman wrote in a Facebook message.
Many Aiken residents worked behind the scenes on the project, said Cloud, and the film, which was shot in the fall of 2012, has generated a lot of excitement in the community.
“Hardly a week goes by when someone doesn’t ask me ‘When do I get to see it?’ ” she said. “This is really good for the community.”
What happens after the Aiken premiere is still in the works, according to Kent Allen, the film’s co-director.
Sony and some other film distributors are interested in seeing the final cut, but nothing has been finalized, he said.
“We are hoping for a theatrical release,” he said. “Maybe on a limited basis at first.”
If it’s picked up by a film distributor, it could be a year or longer before it makes it to the big screen. It depends on the company’s schedule. Otherwise, the film could go directly to DVD.