October 2, 2023
RALEIGH – The John Locke Foundation’s gripping short film, In the Pines, is making waves through the film festival circuit. The film, produced by Greg de Deugd, and directed by Dugan Bridges, is a tale of resiliency in the face of hate and political turbulence. Set in the backdrop of a post-Reconstruction Wilmington, the powerful film has already captivated audiences across the globe, winning Best Ensemble Performance at the Foothills Film Festival, Best Period Film at the Southern California International Film Festival, and Best Film, Best Actor (John Potvin), and Best Actress (Pandora Broadwater) at the Golden Hour Film Festival.
“We wanted to capture audiences’ interests and encourage curiosity about the events that led up to the tragedy in Wilmington in 1898,” said the film’s producer Greg de Deugd. “Wilmington witnessed the only coup d’état in American history to ever actually overthrow an established government. The fact that many are unaware of this history demonstrates how few have given these events the attention they deserve in the past.”
The film’s narrative unfolds through the eyes of Scarlett Manning, portrayed by award-winning actress Pandora Broadwater, as she recounts a chapter of her life to a documentary filmmaker. Scarlett’s story is set against the backdrop of a fierce propaganda battle fueled by the state’s dominant newspapers, aiming to incite racial animosity and regain political control of the valuable port city of Wilmington. Scarlett’s father, the publisher of the city’s black-owned newspaper, becomes the solitary voice of truth amidst a sea of racist falsehoods. As chaos engulfs their city, Scarlett finds herself entangled in the web of the powerful elite, embarking on a daring journey to protect her loved ones.
“When I was approached to direct In the Pines, I was not only riveted by the story, but also fascinated with the history,” stated director Dugan Bridges. “We hope that this project can bring awareness of these historical events to a new audience – one previously unreached by textbooks and documentaries.”
Clocking in at 18 minutes, In the Pines was fully funded by liberty-minded donors and produced by the John Locke Foundation, an organization committed to advancing liberty in North Carolina. The film was produced with the assistance and expertise of the team at Just Add Firewater, a production company committed to making an impact through stories that matter.
The talented cast and crew for In the Pines, includes breakout star Amara Ayer as the young Scarlett Manning, Kamary Phillips as her father Williford, and John Capocci as former governor Charles Aycock. Together, they bring the tumultuous events of 1898 to life, immersing viewers in a world of love, deception, and the struggle for truth. The film has garnered widespread praise, with free speech advocate and former president of the ACLU Nadine Strossen calling it, “thoroughly engrossing and powerful. A thought-provoking interlocking of past and present. This film will go a long way toward raising awareness of this tragic and overlooked moment in history.”
Don’t miss your chance to watch In the Pines at the Raleigh Arts & Film Festival on Saturday, October 7, 2023, at 7:30 PM. The Raleigh Arts & Film Festival is hosted at NC State University Centennial Campus, and features over 200 independent films, live music, visual artists, and spoken word performances. In the Pines will also screen in North Carolina at the Tryon International Film Festival, Fayetteville’s Indigo Moon Film Fest, and the Beaufort Film Festival this year.