HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - A North Carolina film maker is working on a documentary telling the story of both the spring rally and Bikefest. He spent the past two weeks filming both rallies as he works to complete the three-year project. He shared his thoughts about the festival and what he hopes his film will achieve.
Filmmaker Ricky Kelly, CEO of Kelly Entertainment Productions, says his film titled, "Black Beach, White Beach, The Tale of Two Beaches "is near completion. He says he attended both rallies over the past two weeks to put the finishing touches on the film that explores the culture of motorcycle events and how vastly different, yet similar, they are.
Kelly says the film shows the truth behind both events, and removes the veil of racism that exists in South Carolina. The documentary features interviews with Myrtle Beach mayor, John Rhodes, Atlantic Beach mayor, Jake Evans, vendors from both Spring Rally and Bikefest, attendees of the events, business owners, and more.
"I want Myrtle Beach to know this is not a hit piece on the city, again I love this city, I bring my family with me, I just would like to be welcomed," explained Kelly.
He's says he is taking a historical look at the origin of both Spring Harley Rally and Atlantic Beach Bikefest.
Kelly added, "That's the aspect that I am going from - an historical aspect, not just black people come this week, and white people come next week everybody knows that, but what they don't know is the history of Atlantic Beach, and the history of Harley week."
The film also tells the story about segregation, and what he says is the reason for Atlantic Beach. "Black people were not welcomed in Myrtle Beach," said Kelly.
The filmmaker said he has spent time talking to people at both events. "I talked to the vendors during Harley week, and the people who were attending I concentrated on the vendors and the people," explained Kelly.
But, Kelly says after coming to Myrtle Beach for more than 20 years, he doesn't feel welcomed to Myrtle Beach. He adds the 23-mile traffic loop and the excessive number of officers are reasons he feels that way.
Kelly says the documentary trailer has gotten more than three million views. "A lot of people want to hear this story and it's time we tell it, and there's a lot of people who don't want this story to come out," he said.
Kelly said he continues to see so many things wrong with what happens Memorial Day weekend.
"We don't see that type of policing throughout the year, it's just when we come here, and I think it's wrong, I think that traffic pattern is wrong." Kelly said, "We don't feel welcomed here, and this over policing is just un-American."
Kelly said he understands that Ocean Boulevard can get congested, and understands something needs to be done to ease traffic, but he doesn't believe the traffic loop is the answer.
"One of the reasons the boulevard is so congested is there are no events to pull them away from the boulevard, well this year, they did all they could to have as many events and concerts, and of course, they had their vendors there, so it was packed in Atlantic Beach," Kelly said. "We need more of that, we need more things, and activities for people. I applaud Atlantic Beach for putting things together for us to do because if the city was more inviting and they would somehow offer to be a part of some events to help welcome us it would go a lot better."
He hopes his film will help start a movement and give an eye-opening tale to what really happens during these events. Kelly says the trailer has people talking and coming forth with ideas of how to improve the city's efforts to make bikers feel welcomed.
"Why don't we join both rallies together and have a two week festival and it's not black bike week, and its not white bike week it's just a bike festival for Myrtle Beach, which is a great idea," said explaining an idea he got from a person who watched his trailer.
He says personally he think there should be a Bikefest commission.
"We should form a commission and we take all the players that are involved in this story, the mayors, the Ruff Ryders, who bring the largest contingent of motorcycles, the Carolina Knight Riders, who started the event, people from the community here, people from the community in Atlantic Beach, and we come together, not for a few hours, we spend an entire weekend going back and forth about different ideas," explained Kelly. "Maybe we can come together and come to a resolution. If we really want to solve this problem, if you really want to welcome people to Myrtle Beach."
The documentary will be the featured at the Cucalorus Film Festival in Wilmington, and the New York Hip Film Festival in the Fall.
If you are interested in viewing the trailer in its entirety, click here.