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The Cotton House

When Lily and her family move into the Cotton House she discovers a ghost that has inhabited this plantation since before the Civil War. This ghost, William Cotton, needs Lily’s help to get his Will from his evil wife Mildred so that he can finally make amends for a tragedy long ago. Unfortunately Mildred is more than ready to fight anyone who dares get in her way. Awards: One Love Award, Jamaican Reggae int’l Film Festival

CREW: Produced, Directed and Edited by:  Russ Brandon Written by:  Russ Brandon and Julia Langenderfer Principal  Cinematographer: Gowri Goli Audio: Will Baker  PA:  Mel Welch

CAST: W. Scott Parker III as William Cotton Jennifer Russoli as Mildred Cotton Geneveive Fougerousse as Lily Khadijah Barber as Elizah Kerry Cashion as Lily’s mom Tim Ross as Lily’s dad Khaiyah Barber as Elizah’s mom Delmar Burkett as elizah’s dad Jermaine Alston as ghost of Elijah

“The Cotton House” is a low budget movie with approximately $800 total in production costs, mostly paying for actors’ food and hotels. It was produced in Durham, North Carolina at the Leigh Farm Park, a historic site with permission from Durham Parks and Rec. The fireplace which covered the secret room was donated by Restore of Orange County. It too three days of shooting at three locations; Leigh Farm park, my house where I converted a room into a secret room, and at a friend’s farm house. The two young girl actors were part of Sterling Montessori Charter school film club in 2012 where I work as a teacher and run that after school club. The story came from trying to make a scary story for kids that had a message but not too scary. One of my students in 6th grade loved writing but hated math so when she was done with math I would say now write this up or that up. I came up with the story and she would put it in her words then I would edit it a lot. The two ghosts are actors who have acted together before. They prepared together an audition for me and sent me the link. It worked. I could see they created the drama and could do the physical fights.  Some of the other cast and crew came from “RTP Let’s Make a Movie” Meet-up group. We only had three days to shoot so we didn’t green screen the ghosts in which would have been better since we could have made them translucent instead of glowing. We shot the scenes without them for a second then had them step in so I could matte them out then in post and then fade them in. Some white costumes and white make-up was the last touch.