Bernard Gets Famous

Written and Directed
by rAVEN ANGELINE WHISNANT

Bernard Hess JR. is a self made man;
So self made, in fact, that everything he believes about himself is a lie.

The son of a famous record producer (Bernard Hess, Sr.) and an aspiring musician himself,

Bernard has always contended with his mediocrity by desperately bluffing his way through his life. Like the world’s saddest con man, Bernard claims to be a visionary, a genius, a four-dimensional chess champion in a world of mere checker-players. In reality, he’s a well-meaning but deeply insecure amateur, with an inferiority complex a mile long and hardcore daddy issues. Bernard has commissioned a documentary crew to make a film about himself. He believes that this film will be a heroic story, charting his valiant rise from musician to music mogul as he attempts to follow in his dad’s footsteps.

In reality, the camera crew documents a non-stop string of hilarious blunders and heartbreaking failures as Bernard reaches the limits of his ability to talk his way out of his mistakes. Equal parts comedy and touching coming-of-age story—albeit late age—Bernard is the story of an aspiring artist learning to adjust his expectations, drop the toxically alluring façade of the hustle, and rediscover what truly makes him happy.

STATUS:

Filming + Post production 

WRITTEN BY:

Raven Angeline Whisnant

FESTIVAL CUT RUNTIME:

1 hour 38 minutes

STARRING:

Charlie Carson Monroe
Ari Borhanian
Stanley Monroe

In the heart of North Carolina’s extraordinary talent pool, Bernard is a love letter to NC artists, celebrating the remarkable talents that make our community shine. We’re crafting a joyful film that overcomes limitations, proving that genuine camaraderie and shared enthusiasm can yield extraordinary results.

Meet the Director

 

RAVEN ANGELINE WHISNANT

As a filmmaker she has experience in many
aspects of movie making, including directing,
cinematography, editing, and writing. Her wide-
ranging love of all aspects of film has of course led
her to her current role as Producer, and she opened
New 32 with her partners (and dear friends) in 2021.
Her films have been featured in festivals across the
country and internationally, and she has received
awards for her work both directing and writing.
Most notably, her most recent screenplay ‘Bernard
gets famous’ has received 12 festival wins for ‘best
screenplay’. In 2022 she was selected to participate
in a Sundance lab, with her upcoming vintage Sci-fi
comedy ‘Marsha: Astronaut Princess’. She is
extremely grateful to all the people who have
helped her along the way, and she loves being able
to now pay it forward to new creators, particularly
creating meaningful roles and opportunities for
women, and LGBTQIA+ folks!

About Charlie

 

Behind Bernard

“I wrote Bernard for Charlie, and frankly, if they weren’t interested, I just wouldn’t have made this movie. The irony of this character is that Bernard is deeply untalented, but requires an actor with an extremely wide range of talents. Improv, singing, dancing, comedic timing, physical comedy, and of course someone who is an actor talented enough to make this extremely bizarre person seem not only real, but likable. I know realistically there are millions of actors out there, but I truly believe there’s only one person in the world who could play this part. Charlie.

In addition to being deeply talented, Charlie’s been my best friend since we were little kids, and we’ve basically always been in a constant state of working on some kind of movie, play, show, you name it. So this whole thing has been a fantastic way to somehow get paid to goof off with my best buddy? I don’t know how no one has caught us yet, because it definitely feels criminal. Comedy is the perfect format for us, because we can really stay engaged creatively. We go in with the script, but we play around with it, we experiment with alternate punchlines, we try things we aren’t sure will work, we just have a lot of room here to really experiment and be creative. Truly no one ever makes me laugh like Charlie does. You know the kind of cheeks hurting, stomach cramping, eyes watering, can’t breathe kind of laughing, and they do it every day. So now I’m just filming it and making Charlie wear a bunch of sequins and feathers.”

Sound Director

 

CECILIA KEIRSTEAD

Cecilia is a boom operator and sound mixer who has worked on a variety of sets, and was lucky enough to get connected with New 32 in 2021. Originally brought on as the sound director for Bernard, she has expanded into writing and producing for New 32 as well. If you keep your eye out, you may see her in a cameo (or two, or three!) as well.

“Raven has created such an empowering working environment at New 32. She’s supportive and inspiring, and knowing that she believes in me has made it easier to believe in myself. Together, we’ve accomplished more than I could have thought possible.”

Meet the Director

RAVEN ANGELINE WHISNANT

As a filmmaker she has experience in many aspects of movie making, including directing, cinematography, editing, and writing. Her wide-ranging love of all aspects of film has of course led her to her current role as Producer, and she opened New 32 with her partners (and dear friends) in 2021.

Her films have been featured in festivals across the country and internationally, and she has received awards for her work both directing and writing. Most notably, her most recent screenplay ‘Bernard gets famous’ has received 12 festival wins for ‘best screenplay’. In 2022 she was selected to participate in a Sundance lab, with her upcoming vintage Sci-fi comedy ‘Marsha: Astronaut Princess’. She is extremely grateful to all the people who have helped her along the way, and she loves being able to now pay it forward to new creators, particularly creating meaningful roles and opportunities for women, and LGBTQIA+ folks!

About Charlie

Behind Bernard

“I wrote Bernard for Charlie, and frankly, if they weren’t interested, I just wouldn’t have made this movie. The irony of this character is that Bernard is deeply untalented, but requires an actor with an extremely wide range of talents. Improv, singing, dancing, comedic timing, physical comedy, and of course someone who is an actor talented enough to make this extremely bizarre person seem not only real, but likable. I know realistically there are millions of actors out there, but I truly believe there’s only one person in the world who could play this part. Charlie.

In addition to being deeply talented, Charlie’s been my best friend since we were little kids, and we’ve basically always been in a constant state of working on some kind of movie, play, show, you name it. So this whole thing has been a fantastic way to somehow get paid to goof off with my best buddy? I don’t know how no one has caught us yet, because it definitely feels criminal. Comedy is the perfect format for us, because we can really stay engaged creatively. We go in with the script, but we play around with it, we experiment with alternate punchlines, we try things we aren’t sure will work, we just have a lot of room here to really experiment and be creative. Truly no one ever makes me laugh like Charlie does. You know the kind of cheeks hurting, stomach cramping, eyes watering, can’t breathe kind of laughing, and they do it every day. So now I’m just filming it and making Charlie wear a bunch of sequins and feathers.”

Sound Director

CECILIA KEIRSTEAD

Cecilia is a boom operator and sound mixer who has worked on a variety of sets, and was lucky enough to get connected with New 32 in 2021. Originally brought on as the sound director for Bernard, she has expanded into writing and producing for New 32 as well. If you keep your eye out, you may see her in a cameo (or two, or three!) as well.

“Raven has created such an empowering working environment at New 32. She’s supportive and inspiring, and knowing that she believes in me has made it easier to believe in myself. Together, we’ve accomplished more than I could have thought possible.”

Original Score

written by ARI BORHANIAN

The community of our film

We have been helped by countless friends, family members, even kind strangers along the way. From locations, musicians, costumers, performers, even a mermaid – when we watch Bernard we feel the love of our local community who has helped us bring our dream to life, no matter how crazy it may be. We are deeply grateful for all of you, and we hope this movies brings a smile to your face!

“A LOT of special things have come out of this movie,
but by far the most special, is Cecilia.”

“For most of my 10 years as a filmmaker, I’ve been a one-man-band. Not by choice, but of necessity. Based in NC, it can be hard to find fellow filmmakers, and for the early days of my career funding was always touch and go…or nonexistent. In some ways I’m grateful for that time, because despite all its challenges, it pushed me to learn as many skills in film as I could. I can attribute a lot of my education today to the necessity for me to fill a lot of positions on my own film. This could be thrilling in its own way, but mostly felt hollow. I spent a lot of my time wishing I had even one friend I could collaborate with. Finally, in 2021, I found the friend I’ve been waiting for: Cecilia. The two of us have crewed Bernard together, and it has made this project so much more fun than I ever could have imagined. From the first time we spoke (we couldn’t get off the phone for 4 hours) I knew Ceci was my twin flame. Her level of talent, bravery, and sense of creative play make the film process so rich and rewarding. She makes my goals and dreams feel achievable, and the path towards them full of laughs. I can safely say my days of being a solo-filmmaker are over.” -Raven

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