South Carolina filmmaker delivers holiday movie set in home state

"Christmas in Carolina" stars Kellie Williams and Darius McCrary of TV sitcom "Family Matters."

By Robin Gibson

"What started as a playful conversation with my mom in our family room is premiering nationwide on November 1st!" — Stacie Davis

Is it too soon to get in the holiday spirit? If your answer is no, then news of this film's debut will make you happy. "Christmas in Carolina," written and produced by South Carolina's own Stacie Davis, features a career-driven protagonist named Elle (Joslyn Y. Hall) who finds love unexpectedly after losing her parents in a car accident.

Her love interest, Wesley (David L. Rowell), who is also career driven, invites her home to, you guessed it, South Carolina, to meet his parents for Christmas. Elle accepts the invitation and gains more than she could have possibly imagined.

It's a feel-good movie with a hint of nostalgia brought on by former sitcom siblings of "Family Matters" fame (Kellie Williams and Darius McCrary).

These are pictures of a black actor, Darius McCrary, left, and a black actress, Kellie Shanygne Williams. The pair played siblings on the television sitcom "Family Matters" and have starring roles as siblings again in the upcoming holiday film, "Christmas in Carolina"
Photo: Getty Images

McCrary and Williams, pictured above, played siblings on the popular television sitcom, "Family Matters," and star as siblings again in "Christmas in Carolina."

Davis holds a BA in Communications fromClaflin Universityand got her start in television news before transitioning to film. Prior to "Christmas in Carolina," she produced an award-winning sports documentary in 2017.

On what inspired the film: "I remember like it was yesterday. I was sitting in the family room with my mom watching a Christmas movie and I said to her, 'I can write a Christmas story.' Her response was, 'Yes, you can — all you have to do is write it.' I told her I would be back and left in the middle of the movie to begin."

Image may contain: 1 person, standing and shoes

How she did it: "The first thing you learn if you want to be an independent filmmaker, is how to use all the resources at your disposal. After I wrote the script, I needed actors. My first stop was a site calledBackstage.comand I also used social media.

"Kellie signed on and introduced me to Darius, who agreed to play the brother to Kellie’s character."

"My family sponsored catering, ground transportation, lodging, props, set decorations, and the list goes on. My church, The Door of Hope Christian Church, and The Christian Covenant Fellowship of Ministries also helped with catering and locations, took part as background extras, and joined in the choral."

"For the music, my sister, Christina Davis, wrote five original songs that are placed in the film. Truly, it was an entire village. After months of prepping and planning, and asking for a lot of favors, it was time to shoot. We started at the beginning of December 2019."

Image may contain: 1 person, standing and shoes

Defining moment: "On the last day of filming, when we said, 'It’s a wrap!' I realized I had just seen my script come to life with actors portraying characters I wrote. It was such an amazing feeling because I remembered how I started this project, writing in my room, usingWriter Duet."

"Even though we had little money, we had faith, a big dream and ambition to make it possible. I truly believe all things are possible to those that believe. Matthew 19:26"

Achieving a national audience: "A couple of years ago, I made a documentary and when I was looking for a distributor I foundLegacy Distribution.I connected with the company's CEO, Dana Webber, one of the most dynamic business leaders I've ever met."

This is a picture of a black woman filmmaker named Stacie Davis wearing a white sleeveless blouse and black slacks with black high heel shoes holding a director's cut board.

"While my documentary wasn't a match for her company, we stayed in touch and she was the first person I called about 'Christmas in Carolina.'

"After watching the early footage, she said 'YES!' And she worked with me to get everything finished and approved, from the trailer to the film itself."

"For all the indie filmmakers out there, Webber, and her company, Legacy Distribution, are the best to work with!"

"Christmas in Carolina" is available On-Digital and On-Demand Nov. 1, 2020.