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Statesboro native screening first film in Savannah

"An iron fist with a velvet glove": GSU grad Angelique Chase on the East Coast film scene


July 22, 2014

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[Correction: The film will screen at the Lucas Theatre on Tuesday, July 29, 2014. Because of an editing error, the date of the screening was printed Aug. 29, 2014. Connect Statesboro regrets this mistake and apologizes for any confusion it may have caused.]  

     Like most working adults, Statesboro local Angelique Chase starts off her day with a commute to work.
    Unlike most working adults, Angelique Chase ends that commute at a film production company in Savannah, Georgia, where she is about to screen her company’s very first feature-length film.
    Chase is half of the business team who runs First City Films, a film company that produces shorts, commercials and music videos in addition to providing career advice and services for local actors. She has been working in the Savannah film scene for several years in several different capacities. For “Untouched,” she holds the titles of executive producer, story consultant, actress and first assistant director.
    “I don’t like to be bored,” Chase said with a laugh when asked about how she copes with so many roles. While some people in the business find wearing many hats stressful, Chase thrives in the challenge.
    “Acting is my first passion, but I learned right away that in this business — especially here on the East Coast, where filmmaking is still growing — that acting isn’t always going to be what pays my bills,” Chase said. “I learned what I would be good at on the other side of the camera, and I just naturally fell into the first AD role.”
    The first assistant director—or first AD, as those in the film business call it—is the director’s right hand, keeping the cast and crew on schedule and imposing order on a chaotic film set. Outside of acting, it is Chase’s preferred role on a production team, and according to her colleagues she is very, very good at it.
    “[Chase] is probably one of the best finds that I have found in the last 10 years of working in this business,” said director David Temple, who recently employed Chase as his first AD in his film “Chasing Grace,” which is currently in the post-production stages. He added, “She showed up and worked harder than anybody, and is probably not only the most efficient but one of the nicest people I’ve ever met.”
    Temple described Chase’s demeanor as a first AD as “an iron fist with a velvet glove.” Commanding without being tyrannical, Chase knows how to keep the cast and crew on task, how to defuse tense situations in the “powder keg” of a film set, and how to stay one step ahead of the game. Temple said that she never loses her cool in the heat of the moment and manages to stay solution-oriented.
    Chase, surprisingly, learned none of these skills through studying theatre or film work in college. She graduated from Georgia Southern University with a minor degree in business and a major degree in child development. Her plan had always been to own her own child development center.
    After graduation, she worked in the four-year-old room at the GSU campus child development center, but she felt like classroom work was no longer for her and decided to pick up acting instead. Without any high-school acting experience or theatre classes to draw from, Chase started auditioning for student films at the Savannah College of Art and Design — and she started getting roles. It was on the set for one of these films that she met her business partner, Chip Lane.            
    At the time, Lane was developing an idea for a feature film, and shortly after meeting Chase he showed her the script he had written. Before long, the two were seeking out ways to fund the film’s production. Lane brought Chase in as his partner shortly afterward.
    "I think her child development background balances out my creativity," said Lane, who wrote and also stars in "Untouched." "If I'm the right-brained creative type, she's the left-brained organizer. There's no way we'd be in business right now if she wasn't part of the team."
    While Chase has worked as a freelancer on several other feature films, "Untouched" is the first one she has produced herself. She said the feature is the "baby" of First City Films. The film, “Untouched,” tells the story of a Savannah-based lawyer who is suddenly forced to confront his demons when he takes the case of a teenage girl charged with murder.
    They finished filming the feature back in 2011, but "Untouched" spent a period trapped in post-production limbo.
    After three years of hunting down the right film editor and waiting for the edits to be completed, Chase and Lane are finally ready to bring their brainchild out into the world. They will be screening the film with red-carpet flair on Tuesday, July 29, at Savannah’s historical Lucas Theatre. The screening will take place at 7 p.m. and is free and open to the public. After the screening, the cast and crew will be available for a question and answer session.
    The screening, however, is not an official release. Chase and Lane are currently in the process of finding a way to release the film to a network channel. Chase said that the experience was a new one for both partners but that they are learning as much as they can and taking everything in stride.
    "Our first goal is Lifetime Network,” Chase said. “Everyone who’s read the script or heard the plot has said, ‘That’s a Lifetime movie right there.’ And that’s always stuck with us; that’s how we feel too. We really feel it has a place on a network somewhere.” 


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