Versailles family pursues own path in independent films
For one Versailles family, pursuing roles in independent films is just like any job. It’s about building a resume and getting on-camera experience so other opportunities will come their way, explains Vince Bingham, 45.
He and his wife, Chantel, have aspirations in film. It’s an ambition shared
by her son, D Depp, a 2017 graduate of Woodford County High School.
“The process (of making a film) is what I like best,” says D, 21. “... I’m one of those people who just kind of sits back and takes everything in, and likes to learn ... the dos and the don’ts.”
It’s a learning curve his mom and Bingham are helping him navigate because they understand success comes with hard work and long days.
Bingham knows it only takes one film – citing “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” as an example of an independent film that took off.
“There’s just a lot of opportunity to get your work out there now,” says Bingham. He says streaming services opened up a world of opportunity for independent film companies like his family’s His Will My Hands Entertainment.
Bingham has already written several stories and adapted a book, “From the Penitentiary to the Pulpit” into a screenplay. If any become a hit, he and Chantel say they’re ready to go to Hollywood … or Atlanta, which she says has become the new Hollywood.
“At 51,” Chantel says, “I know that I can still do it.”
Their film production company’s name came from a belief that God has had His hand on this relationship since the day they met, says Chantel, executive director of the Housing Authority of Versailles.
Bingham, who hopes to direct Chantel and D in a movie as he transitions to the production side of the industry, says everybody in this family “came with their own energy, their own ideas and their own dreams.”
D’s experience in front of a camera began while modeling for Images in Lexington at age 5. And he vividly recalls bombing a commercial a year or two later because he wouldn’t take a bite of strawberry pie. He didn’t like pie and wasn’t going to lie on camera.
So he missed out on $600 and “they sent us home,” recalls his mom laughing. She started acting in commercials and modeling with Images at age 15, and had an opportunity to pursue a modeling career, but the ‘87 WCHS grad never did.
Chantel’s independent film career began taking shape with recent roles as a news reporter in a short film, “Jesus Smile” and as Detective Andrews in “Window with a View,” which starts production in March.
D, who once shared the spotlight with his mom on touring st
age productions as a kid, says he was more into writing stories than being a model or actor. His interest in writing took root in third grade at Northside Elementary when he wrote a three-page story every week about a pencil and an eraser. Both were superheroes.
It wasn’t until his mom and Bingham became a couple in 2015 that D says he became genuinely interested in acting. Landing the role of a quarterback in a yet-to-be-released independent film, featuring Bingham as the running back, gave D confidence and an interest to pursue opportunities in front of the camera.
Being told he had a lot of potential from someone in the film industry – writer, producer Tory Jones – made it real for D, who has since been cast in other indep
endent films that are being produced in the Central Kentucky area.
“I want to do everything,” says D, a certified personal trainer and a senior at the University of Louisville majoring in sports administration. “Whatever comes at the moment is what I want to do.
“… I feel like I’m capable of doing a whole lot … so I just want to do everything.” Most recently, he wrote a children’s book, “Don’t Let Them,” which is being illustrated by his cousin, Caleb Grisby.
Enjoying the little things in life became more important in recent years after losing people who were close to him. He’s gotten more serious about his life, his goals – and said his tattoos represent who he’s become.
A single mom for 14 years, Chantel says her only child was compassionate from an early age, bringing home stray dogs because they needed a home.
“He’s always been a thinker. And he’s very profound in his thinking,” she explains. “… I knew because he was that way, he was going to be fine …”
Growing up, Bingham says he was very active in Jessamine County’s community theater scene and continued acting as a student-athlete at Transylvania University. He planned to move to Los Angeles and pursue a career in film or TV after playing professional basketball in Austria, but chose to stay home instead.
When the independent filmmaking scene began to blossom in Central Kentucky, Bingham landed the role of Djinn in “Shadows Light” in 2008. Henry Clay High School’s college and career coach says he’s been an educator for 20 years, but he’s always had an interest in pursuing a career in film.
Bingham and Chantel view filmmaking as a way to balance their work life “with some fun stuff,” he says. And they’re ready if they get that life-changing phone call for a film that hits.