Angela Reinhardt / Photo
Jethro Flicks’ Executive Producer Tim White gets into character at the gallows inside the Old Jail where he filmed Southern Spirits. The film will run the last three weekends in October inside the historic Main Street building. Follow Jethro Flicks on Facebook for information about showing dates and times and where you can purchase tickets. Each show is $10 and includes a tour of the Old Jail.
Most people have been to haunted houses or haunted hayrides during the Halloween season – but how many people can say they’ve watched a spooky film inside a spooky old jail in the days leading up to All Hallows Eve?
This year movie-goers will have their chance with Southern Spirits, the locally-produced film that will be presented inside the historic Old Jail on Main Street the last three weekends in October. The film follows the story of a jail tour guide who, after being granted access by the “Keymaster,” unintentionally conjures ghosts of former inmates and sparks a series of tragic events.
“It’s tasteful, there isn’t any gratuitous violence, just implied violence,” said Jethro Flicks’ Executive Producer and Director Tim White, who is ecstatic about presenting his first full-length film to the public. “It’s got a more Hitchcock feel.”
White, who daylights as an attorney, has been filming home movies and videos for decades, and even appeared as an extra in “In the Heat of the Night” and other commercials/productions - but since 2009 has wanted to take his love of the film industry a step further. The seed for Southern Spirits was planted earlier this year after White became a volunteer with the Pickens Historical Society and began giving tours of the jail, which was built in 1906 and has a plethora of creepy features that make it perfect for a scary flick.
“I walked in and it was just like a lightbulb went off,” he said. “I knew I had to film there, with the old, closed in space and the gallows. It screamed to me that the idea I had from 2009 needed to be revived.”
White was on a mission to prove that quality films could be made on a low budget. He began recruiting local actors and got in high gear to film and edit the movie in time for the Halloween season. He’s spent 100s of hours in the last few months in preparation and secured the Old Jail for the screening location.
“I wanted to show that this can be done with just one guy a didn’t have to cost $9 million,” said White, who in addition to directing also appears in Southern Spirits. “I think we nailed it. I handpicked local actors with little to no experience and was able to give direction and just be relaxed about it. The last few weeks of getting this ready to show has been the most fun I’ve ever had. I wanted to prove I could do this.”
The film features 13 locals, including White, Pickens Progress Editor Dan Pool, Bill and Bay Cagle, Nancy and Steve Dennison, Mark and Terry Forrest, Donnie Low, Jim Trimby, Edee Disharoon, Beth Johnson Coberly, Lee Banks, and Henry the dog.
White, a Pickens resident, is also excited about showcasing the community he loves.
“I love volunteering at the jail and giving tours, and I love this town – but people need something to do and I want to show people that amateur movies can be fun. These are all local people, local sites, and it highlights Jasper and showcases the town,” he said.
If the movie garners any attention outside the county the director believes it could attract people to Jasper to see the filming location. He also said there will be a sequel next Halloween, and anticipated Jethro Flicks will produce two films per year.
Plans are to run Southern Spirits the last three weekends in October on Friday and Saturday nights at 7 and 9 p.m., with the possibility of additional dates and times to be added if demand requires. Follow Jethro Flicks production company on Facebook for more information about where to purchase tickets, which will be $10 per person and include a tour of the old jail before the show. The movie runs 67 minutes. White recommends the film for adults and children above 13.