Visit NC movie entry features Charlotte’s small businesses

Filmmaker Trey Edwards is sharing how he fell in love with Charlotte, and he’s looking for your support.

The recently transplant submitted a short film about his first visit to the Queen City to Visit NC’s Firsts That Last Film Series competition. The contest gives 12 filmmakers the opportunity to share their stories about the firsts they experienced while visiting North Carolina — and viewers can vote for their favorite until Sept. 30. The winning filmmaker will receive $30,000.

Moving to Charlotte

Edwards first came to the city in May 2019 for a bachelor party and fell in love. He later took his wife to visit Charlotte, and she was hooked, too. They were looking for a place to move that was not too far from Kentucky, and Charlotte turned out to be perfect for them.

The couple rented a small apartment in Plaza Midwood for themselves and their newborn daughter in January 2021. “I moved here just to have better opportunities with chasing my dreams in the film industry,” Edwards told CharlotteFive.

Plaza Midwood, South End and NoDa are Edwards’ favorite parts of the city. “We just love going back there, getting coffee, checking out the small sandwich shops, local places there,” he said. The couple moved to the University area in May 2021 because they needed a larger house when they learned they were expecting their daughter.

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Edwards filmed at some of his favorite local businesses, including The Culture Shop, Legion Brewing and Art with Frnk and Co. Trey Edwards

He particularly likes NoDa’s artsy vibe. “It’s just really cool to be there and just walk around and see the murals on the walls,” Edwards said.

He likes how Charlotte supports local and small businesses — and that’s why he focused on them in his film.

[READ MORE: ‘Trying to stay as long as I can’: Rising rents are changing the character of Plaza Midwood]

Making the movie

Edwards’ movie “Center City!” — the only one touting Charlotte — is based off of the South End Hops Festwhich he attended with a small group of friends in South End in May 2019. In the film, he highlights Legion Brewing, The Culture Shop and Art with Frank and Co.

Edwards focused on Plaza Midwood spots to keep everything contained and places he had built a rapport with. “They are just the most kind people,” he said.

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Filmmaker Trey Edwards is the director of “Center City,” short film in Visit NC’s Firsts That Last Film Series contest that filmed at Charlotte locations including Legion Brewery. Trey Edwards

  • Legion Brewing in Plaza Midwood: It was the first brewery Edwards and his wife went to in Charlotte together. He makes a nod to his wife, who is blonde, with the seasonal beverage “Blonde Ambition.” In the movie, Edwards says the beer reminds him of home.

  • The Culture Shop: When Edwards first moved to Charlotte with his wife, they lived in the Hawthorne apartments across from The Culture Shop, where they became regular customers. “The Uncle Sammy has been my go-to sandwich,” he said.

Edwards was selected as a finalist after submitting his film idea and was given a three-day window to shoot the film. He flew in his three best friends to act in the film along with his cousin and mentee to work as a crew member. Edwards was the main camera operator and drone pilot, while his cousin acted as a second videographer.

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Trey Edwards’ short film “Center City” features Art by Frnk and Co., along with a few other Charlotte businesses. Trey Edwards

Edwards hopes to be a huge contributor for making Charlotte a hub for the film industry. “I am hopeful to use the winning funds from the Visit NC film competition to open a studio for virtual production next year,” he said.

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Lorenza Medley is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and is a freelancer for CharlotteFive. When she’s not lost in the aisles of a library, you can find her chowing down on some barbecue ribs or exploring her local Target.


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