RAPID CITY, S.D. — Charlie Buhler grew up in Rapid City and Mitchell, South Dakota and now lives in Hollywood, pursuing a career in film making.
Her film, “Before the Fire” is a pandemic thriller that ironically was written, produced and released just before the COVID-19 pandemic hit here in the US.
“So it was like I’ve been thinking about and working on a pandemic movie and researching pandemics for years, and then I finally realized it into the world during our premiere and then the whole world shut down because of the pandemic, so it was very strange timing,” Buhler said.
The film follows a Hollywood actress whose rising career is cut short when an influenza pandemic sends her back to the small town she fled years before. But she soon finds something more dangerous than any virus waiting for her.
The majority of the movie was filmed in South Dakota, mainly East River with some being on her grandparents farm.
Buhler said filming in South Dakota allowed her to make the quality film on a little budget. Buhler also mentioned that the South Dakota communities were very supportive and this was a great starter film to be able to release.
“But now the way that people are receiving it and interpreting it is completely different contextualize because it’s real and it’s not just speculative, so I felt like it has been good for the movie in some ways because it’s made people feel a lot closer to it,” Buhler said
The dramatic, action thriller will begin showing at theaters across South Dakota and North Dakota beginning August 14.
Elks Theatre in Rapid City will carry with film beginning Friday, August 14.
“This move has really been the launching point for me and so now I have a lot more things in the works, because of the opportunity that this movie created, so it was definitely a great calling card to show what I was capable of with no support, so if I can do that with nothing, imagine if I had something. And so I think that it’s been a really good time for me and I’m excited about the things that are going to come next,” Buhler said.
Buhler says seeing her movie at the local theaters will help support local, small business. After it hits theaters, the movie will be out on demand, on other various platforms for viewing.
She enjoys making movies in her home state and takes any opportunity she can to promote the culture in South Dakota, saying, “Especially on the coast, there is one perception about what South Dakota is like, and I think it’s a diversity thing. I am biracial, my mom is black and my dad is white and so when people see me, they don’t initially expect that I am from South Dakota, but South Dakota is my home, it’s the only place I’ve ever known, so I think people should know and see that it’s a million different experiences growing up here.”
Buhler is currently in post production on her new documentary, “Rosebud,” which follows the lives of 3 Native American hip-hop artists on the reservation in South Dakota.
Click here for the “Before the Fire” website.
Click here for the “Before the Fire’ Facebook page.