News Column

Locally made indie benefits veterans

July 2, 2013

YellowBrix

July 02--Actress Sharon Morris Conley has snagged roles in numerous movies made in Atlanta, including "The Blind Side," "The Odd Life of Timothy Green" and "What to Expect When You're Expecting," along with locally produced television series including "Drop Dead Diva," "Necessary Roughness," "Meet the Browns," "Single Ladies" and "Rectify." In the future, she'll be seen in "The Good Lie," which wrapped local filming earlier this year, and "Endless Love," which is still going on.

But she's most excited about "D.N.R.," the independent film she and her husband, David M. Conley, worked on together. It's 37 minutes long, stars the Conleys and four other actors, and takes place almost entirely in one room, but it's packed with tension, drama and twists.

The movie is about a disturbed veteran who returns home addled from the war only to encounter a new battle at home, and the Conleys are promoting it in conjunction with the July Fourth holiday, hoping the movie will raise funds and awareness for the servicemen and women who need help adjusting to civilian life.

"D.N.R." is currently available online at sharonconley.webs.com/d-n-r for a $3 viewing fee, and a portion of proceeds will be donated to the Wounded Warrior Project, which aids military personnel recovering physically or mentally.

"We're using the film to help wounded warriors who are not getting the help they need," said David Conley, who wrote, directed and produced the film. "I just thought it would be a good way to bring awareness about (post-traumatic stress disorder)."

Conley, who served as a U.S. Army military police officer, said his father returned from an Army hitch in Vietnam forever changed.

"My mother always said he was different" after coming home, he recalled. "We're just starting to understand what PTSD is about. We're trying to do our part."

The movie has been featured in a number of film festivals to acclaim; it's a past "Best Short" winner of the BronzeLens Film Festival. The Conleys hope it'll be picked up by a network to be developed into a series. Until then, Atlanta's growing film industry is keeping them busy.

"'Rectify' is filming in Griffin, Ga. Whoulda thunk it?" Sharon Conley said, referring to the drama series created by Ray McKinnon. "People are realizing you don't have to live in L.A. to work in this industry."

She's appeared in films made elsewhere, including the first "Hunger Games" movie, which was filmed in North Carolina (the sequel, "Catching Fire," filmed here last year, and the next in the series, "Mockingjay," heads here later this year). But she and her husband are committed to participating in the ongoing local film scene.

"Our goal is to make everything here and to use the plethora of talent that's here," Sharon Conley said. "We want to put together great stories and great performances."

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(c)2013 The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (Atlanta, Ga.)

Visit The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (Atlanta, Ga.) at www.ajc.com

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