Documentary Films • TV Spots • Concert Films

Self-Proclaimed Entertainment

Our Mission Our Work

About SPE

We are a film production company from the Deep South with a focus on documentaries.

Our Mission

Self-Proclaimed Entertainment was created to develop and produce compelling documentaries and unscripted television with a cinematic flair. Combining decades of experience in traditional journalism with a history in high-end commercial production, SPE has set out to redefine “reality” into something that aspires to a higher standard – both in terms of social responsibility and production value.

Founded in 2011 as the result of a development deal to create a documentary series titled Deadly Secrets of the Cold War, SPE quickly shifted its attention a feature-length music documentary, Duke & The King. The film premiered at the 2012 Nashville Film Festival and went on to play a number of festivals and special engagements throughout the Southeast, including the SoAL Film Festival, where it won the award for Best Feature.

Following the success of Duke & The King, SPE soon began developing a new music documentary about Newgrass pioneer Sam Bush. The film will premiere in 2015, along with a feature-length concert film and accompanying soundtrack albums.

Self-Proclaimed is currently developing feature documentaries, concert films, and docu-style commercial productions.

Why Self-Proclaimed?

Why on earth would an entertainment company adopt the name “Self-Proclaimed?” Other than the fact that self-deprecation is funny in that post-modern, ironic kind of way, there is a story behind the name.  You see a few years ago, one of our projects found itself where many entertainment properties do: in the middle of a frivolous lawsuit. In the suit, the disgruntled party referred to one of our executive producers derogatorily as a “self-proclaimed filmmaker.” Rather than get angry, we had a good laugh and realized that was the only name for our company.

Not only is the name a way of owning an attempted insult, but it says something about our philosophy. We won’t kowtow to the industry establishment, and simply believe what they tell us entertainment should be. We’re experienced, professional storytellers. We know what works and what doesn’t. Sometimes what works may fly in the face of popular wisdom – perhaps because no one else has dared to try it. In the end, all we can do is follow our instincts. If we think it’s entertainment, we’ll proclaim it as such.

By the way, the lawsuit failed … our guy prevailed … and the name is here to stay.

Dream it. Live it. Proclaim it. 

Good filmmaking begins with understanding the rules of structure. Great filmmaking is knowing when to break them. 

Self-Proclaimed Entertainment


We believe our work speaks for itself. Browse our most recent projects below.

  • That was the best music documentary I’ve ever seen. 

    Cole Lumley - film fan
  • I was blown away … much more than the Elvis storyline. 

    Erin Shaw Street - Editor, Southern Living
  • Best film ever! So lucky that I have gotten to experience it through amazing directors. 

    Sheryl Kimerling - Duke Bardwell fan
  • This film really moved me. 

    Jeff Jeffcoat - Musician/Filmmaker
  • We loved being there … the film is incredible! 

    Boukou Groove
  • [/ut_quote_alt] 
  • It’s a fantastic film! Loved every minute of it. 

    Mike Ragsdale
  • I can’t stop thinking about the film and Duke. I can understand the desire to tell his story. 

    Madra Medina McDonald

SPE Crew

We bring a potent arsenal of creative skills, thoughts, and ideas to the table. Meet our team:

Kris Wheeler

KrisFounder/Producer/Director – Metro Atlanta

Former journalist, magazine publisher turned documentary filmmaker with more than 25 years of experience in various media fields. Kris has spent a career crafting the skills of a storyteller, with his early years spent within the newspaper ranks as an award-winning reporter and feature writer. In addition to his work as a co-producer/director on numerous commercial and corporate productions, Kris is currently co-directing his third feature-length documentary film, Revival! The Sam Bush Story. His previous film, Duke & The King (co-directed with Wayne Franklin) earned the Best Feature Award at the SoAl Film Festival.

Wayne Franklin

WayneFounder/Producer/Director – Metro Birmingham

Wayne Franklin grew up in the suburbs of Mobile, Alabama, served his three years in Tuscaloosa, and then began a career in commercial production in Birmingham. A career director and editor, Wayne co-founded the Sidewalk Film Festival in Birmingham and is the co-producer/director of the award-winning documentary Duke & The King. In 2013, he published his first novel, Midlife Mouse, which reached as high as the top-five of Amazon’s bestsellers for satire. He is currently in production on his third feature-length music documentary collaboration with directing partner Kris Wheeler. The film, Revival! The Sam Bush Story explores the life and career of new grass pioneer Bush.

Patrick Sheehan

PatrickProducer/Director/DP/Sound Mixer – Nashville, TN

Frequent SPE collaborator Patrick Sheehan directed “Man in the Glass: “The Dale Brown Story,” featuring Matthew McConaughey, Shaquille O’Neal and John Wooden. The film won the Award of Excellence at the 2011 Los Angeles Film Awards and Audience Choice – Best Feature-Documentary at the 2011 Sidewalk Film Festival.  Patrick was co-Director of Photography and audio on Gideon’s Army, official selection at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival.  The film aired on HBO in the summer of 2013 and earned an Emmy nomination in 2014. Other work includes Director of Photography on the award-winning documentary American Man with Jon Frankel of HBO Real Sports, which aired on ESPN Classic.