Screen scene: Local film news

FAMOUS FRIENDS: A still from the pilot episode of Highston, starring 2015 Warren Wilson College graduate Lewis Pullman (center) and his imagined celebrity friends Shaquille O'Neal, left, and Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, right. Amazon Studios has picked up the comedy for an entire season. Photo courtesy of Amazon Studios

• On Dec. 18, Amazon Studios announced that it will produce an entire season (five to nine episodes) of the comedy Highston, starring 2015 Warren Wilson College graduate Lewis Pullman. The show follows Highston Liggetts, whom the official summary describes as “a kind and curious 19-year-old struggling to find his place in a world he doesn’t quite understand. To help him cope, Highston imagines a constantly changing roster of celebrity friends who provide him with comfort and advice — much to the concern of his bewildered but empathetic extended family.”

The show also stars Mary Lynn Rajskub (24) and Chris Parnell (Saturday Night Live) as Highton’s parents. The pilot episode, written by Bob Nelson (Nebraska), directed by the team of Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris (Little Miss Sunshine) and featuring guest appearances from Shaquille O’Neal and Flea (The Red Hot Chili Peppers), is available to watch for free online. Once the season is completed, it will be available for free to Amazon Prime users. Others may purchase individual episodes or the entire season. avl.mx/243

• The GiddyUP Film Tour brings its collection of thrilling mountain bike cinema to The Orange Peel Wednesday, Jan. 6, at 6:30 p.m. The event’s first hour offers an opportunity to connect with the local riding community while browsing the latest gear and discussing riding plans for the upcoming season. The screening begins at 7:30 p.m., and proceeds benefit the Amy D Foundation. The nonprofit organization, created in honor of the late cyclist Amy Alison Dombroski, empowers girls and young women in the sport. Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 the day of the show. theorangepeel.net

• Asheville bluegrass quartet Tellico was slated to perform at Arden’s Moonlight Mile studio in November. The set was to be filmed as the final part of Joe Kendrick’s and Tony Preston’s third episode of Southern Songs and Stories. The  rest of the footage from the series was also slated to be screened that night for attendees. The show was postponed when lead singer Anya Hinkle became ill the day of the event and has now been rescheduled for Sunday, Jan. 17, at 6 p.m.

The documentary features scenes from Tellico performances in Franklin and Asheville as well as Hinkle in a trio setting in Floyd, Va. The episode also includes interview footage of all four band members in separate settings, plus chats with legendary fiddler Arvil Freeman and musicians Mac Traynham, Jackson Cunningham and Galen Kipar. The event is the primary fundraiser for producing the film, and only 50 seats are available. Tickets are $18 in advance and $20 the day of the show. They may be purchased online or by calling 704-300-9776. southernsongsandstories.com

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About Edwin Arnaudin
Edwin Arnaudin is a staff writer for Mountain Xpress. He also reviews films for ashevillemovies.com and is a member of the Southeastern Film Critics Association (SEFCA) and North Carolina Film Critics Association (NCFCA). Follow me @EdwinArnaudin

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