Mississippi Elementary School Principal Directs Horror Film | Entertainment

In addition to lead actress McCoy, a theater graduate from USM, the film also features Raylen Ladner, a Mississippi native, a supporting actress; Christopher Boler, USM film graduate and sound engineer; Adrienne Newell, Hattiesburg resident and background actress; and Joe Hodgin, composer. Several USM theater students were also background actors in the film.

Filming locations for “Royal Jelly” included Gulfport, Biloxi, Diamondhead, St. Martin and Lucedale.

Riley was an educator at a Mississippi public school for 18 years, having served three years as principal of Benndale Elementary School in the George County School District. Riley graduated from USM with a film degree in 2001.

“I did ‘Royal Jelly’ while working full time as an elementary school principal and graduating (as an education specialist),” Riley said. “Oh, and there was also this little COVID-19 thing going on at the time.”

When people find out they think I must be a crazy workaholic. It’s amazing what you can accomplish when you are really passionate about something.

Lead actress McCoy described the film as Riley’s passionate project. She said the shoot took over a year instead of the typical two months because it had to be shot on weekends.

“’Royal Jelly’ has been a great experience,” said McCoy. “There are some really talented people on the coast. … I feel like it’s becoming more and more common to shoot movies in Mississippi, and I feel like it’s starting a bit. … I feel like all the projects I’ve worked on in Mississippi have been very unique.

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