CHATHAM COUNTY – Early last year, independent film producer Brad Christians knocked on the door of Kim Crenshaw and Larry Henson while looking for directions.
While speaking with Henson about the film he was working on, Christians couldn’t help but notice that their home was a perfect fit for the project.
He asked the couple if they had ever thought about making their beautifully restored 84-year-old house the main setting for a movie.
“I told him no but that it was exciting to think about,” said Henson. “It all just happened out of the blue.”
The project came full circle on July 14 when about 30 people attended a private screening of “The Carrington Event” held at the couple’s home on Rt. 751 just outside of Apex.
For eight days in the summer of 2011, cast and crew worked from early in the morning to late at night to shoot the majority of the film at the house.
“We thought it was so exciting to have it here and to see how they really make films,” said Henson. “It’s just amazing how they do things. Some days they were here until 1 or 2 in the morning. It was quite grueling but exciting at the same time.”
The result of all those long hours was a 48 ½ minute featurette that serves as sort of a pilot for an episodic television series.
Led by award-winning filmmakers Rob Underhill and Aravind Ragupathi, the project focuses on the Carrington family after a massive solar flare causes widespread and long-lasting power outages throughout the United States.
One major network is already looking at the project and another network also has begun showing interest.
“Part of it is because it’s an exciting subject,” said Underhill. “But they also look at presentation materials and know that we have our dominoes lined up and are making some quality work as well.”
The premise of the series is based on a real-life solar event that occurred in 1859 and caused major problems with the nation’s telegraph system.
A similar solar flare could wreak even worse havoc on today’s power grids.
“The news is full of this stuff,” said Underhill. “Every few weeks the media will announce a major flare is on the way and everyone gets very excited. I remember just a few months ago one was big enough that it caused a disruption on NPR. That was a solar flare.
“It’s not like saying, ‘Oh, aliens are coming.’ That is fun but at the same time I think people are more interested in something that can happen and is happening. This is something beyond our control and eventually we are going to get another big one. We are either ready for it or not.”
Underhill, who co-wrote the pilot with Larry Gardner, already has 13 episodes written. Now he just needs to find an investor or network willing to take on the project.
“I’m happy about it,” said Underhill. “It’s quality stuff and it’s entertaining. I know they would love it if they gave it a chance. The trailer has received tremendous feedback (on YouTube) with more than 50,000 hits. People are dying to see more.”
Underhill’s last two films, “DAR HE: The Lynching of Emmet Till” and “Wolf Call” have both won numerous awards at various film festivals in the past couple of years. He is hoping the high quality and acclaim of those projects brings more favorable attention to “The Carrington Event.”
“Both of those bring attention to this project, even though they are unrelated because they are Civil Rights era stories,” said Underhill. “However, this is still a story of warning, which I like. If we don’t do something to protect ourselves, we are going to have problems.”
For more information on the film visit www.thecarringtonevent.com