filmAddie Whitlow, Chattanooga, Tenn. – The Backlot is a monthly gathering at which local filmmakers, actors, actresses and others to interact and showcase their work.

“[The Backlot] is a place for film. We are not a group.” Chris Holley, director of the Heritage House, said. “Instead, we are a place for the groups themselves.”

The Backlot meets every third Monday of the month from 6:30-9:30p.m. at the Heritage House Arts & Civic Center. Admission is free of charge; it is only asked that you try to bring a potluck dish or a non-alcoholic beverage.

This month’s meeting, Dec. 21, will feature Apryl Kelli Hughes, a professional makeup artist who founded ReMake Me, a business specializing in makeup design.

Hughes discovered she had a passion for makeup at a very young age. At 14, she did makeup, hair and wardrobe for professional photoshoots for a friend’s stepfather.

Hughes attended Chattanooga State to study skin care, where she graduated valedictorian and is now a licensed aesthetician. She has won two awards for makeup and design from Miller-Motte makeup competitions.

The motivation behind having Hughes attend The Backlot’s December meeting is mainly to help actors and actresses enhance their makeup and make their skin look both better and healthier. The Backlot hopes to help people who are interested in filmmaking – whether it is in front of or behind the camera – do everything they can to get their films recognized.

Photo contributed by The Backlot

Holley said the Backlot tries to be on both sides of the camera for directors and actors and actresses.

A typical evening at The Backlot includes casting calls, screenings of completed films or films that are in progress or presentations by professionals working in the film industry.

Holley said that The Backlot hopes to give people an audience for their films and constructive feedback, if they want it.

“We started The Backlot because we had a lot of different groups across town that wanted to show films and write scripts; so that all the different groups could meet together,” Holley said.

The Backlot began almost four years ago in March, and current attendance ranges anywhere from 40-80 people at each meet. Holley said that people come from all over the Southeast to attend.

“We’re always growing and open to new ideas for speakers,” said Holley, “We encourage people to come to us with their short films.”

For more information about The Backlot, visit