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Cabarrus Magazine

"Wednesdays at the Gem" Gets National Acclaim

Feb 07, 2013 10:55AM ● By Jason Huddle

The Gem Theater

Charlotte  - Wednesdays at the Gem, an original screenplay written by Joanne Hock and Jane Balfrey, which was part of a feature article last year in Cabarrus Business magazine, has been selected as a semi-finalist at the 2012 Los Angeles Screenplay Competition.

"Gem" takes place in the Depression Era South, where Hollywood glamour and racial tensions fatally collide at the all-white Gem Theatre. Defying the Jim Crow Laws, a 10-year-old black boy and a white box-office girl build an unlikely friendship and smuggle the neighboring black community into the theatre for illegal late-night screenings.

Hock came up with the story after listening to her Grandfather recount Hollywood’s glory days as a child. As a theatre manager for Warner Brothers in the 1920’s, he had countless stories about old Hollywood glitz and glamour. As an adult, Hock felt compelled to retell his stories, intertwining them with some of America’s most important history; namely racial segregation. Balfrey assisted Hock as she sought to finesse the many stories into a polished script.

GreyHawk Films will be producing the feature film and is currently seeking funding. GreyHawk Films is Hock’s production company with business partner and Producer Robin Grey.

The nomination from the Los Angeles Screenplay Competition added to Gem’s ever-growing list of accolades. Most notably, the screenplay was a Nicholl Fellowship Semi-Finalist, awarded by the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences, The Academy is known around the world for its annual Academy Awards, informally known as the “Oscars”.

"Gem" has also won awards for Best Screenplay at the Long Island Film Festival, Best Screenplay Runner-Up at the Peachtree Village International Film Festival and an Award of Merit at the 2011 Los Angeles Cinema Festival of Hollywood.

Unfortunately, Wednesdays at the Gem was not selected as one of the “Top 5 Feature Screenplays” for the competition, which were announced during a ceremony on Wednesday, January 30, 2013 in Beverly Hills, CA.  However,  being selected as a semi-finalist from hundreds of entries from around the world shows the feature's potential and the possibility of more awareness for it's namesake theater, located in Kannapolis.

View a teaser trailer for the film at

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