White Lightnin'

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White Lightnin'
White lightnin.jpg
Theatrical poster
Directed by Dominic Murphy
Produced by Sam Taylor
Mike Downey
Written by Eddy Moretti
Shane Smith
Starring Edward Hogg
Carrie Fisher
Muse Watson
Cinematography Tim Maurice-Jones
Edited by Sam Sneade
Vice Films
UK Film Council
Film and Music Entertainment
Mainframe Productions
The Salt Company International
Distributed by Momentum Pictures
Release date
Running time
92 minutes
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Budget $2 million[1]

White Lightnin' is a 2009 dramatic thriller film directed by Dominic Murphy and written by Eddy Moretti and Shane Smith. White Lightnin' was inspired by the life of Jesco White, an Appalachian mountain dancer.[2] It was shown at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival.[3]


Jesco White (Edward Hogg) is the last of the West Virginia mountain dancers. He is the son of D. Ray White (Muse Watson), the greatest mountain dancer of all time. Ever since Jesco was a child, D. Ray tried to keep him on a straight path—one that would put him on the right hand of the Lord. Dancing was just one way to keep Jesco from losing his soul. But from a young age, there was temptation drawing him away from D. Ray, away from the dancing. There were the voices in his head, tormenting him. Maybe that’s why Jesco loved to get high.

Hooked on sniffing gas, glue, lighter fluid, airplane cement, Jesco was constantly finding himself in trouble with the law. He landed in the reform school more than once, and it was here that he spent most of his adolescence, left to endure the horror of the voices.

Years after his time in reform school, Jesco had made the best of staying true to his daddy’s word. He tried to stay as straight as he could, and used the dancing to do so. But the devil has his ways too, and soon Jesco was back to his old vices. On his way around the south, dancing and performing in whatever local dives he could, Jesco met the woman of his dreams—four foot three inch Enid Carter (Carrie Fisher). Jesco renames her Percilla. An off-beat pair, the two managed to keep all their wickedness inside the family.

Long and Davie—the two men responsible for dragging D. Ray years earlier behind their pickup until he was dead, are released from prison because of a trial error. It was as though God were testing Jesco again, tempting him with the taste of revenge. And so this temptation is satisfied, and Jesco got the revenge he craved, brutally torturing and murdering the two. After accidentally killing the officer who comes to arrest Jesco, he takes to the woods. Jesco hid himself in the cabin deep in the West Virginia hills previously inhabited by the preacher, whose voice Jesco constantly hears in his head. Jesco encounters God, cutting and chopping himself until he dies to expiate himself of his sins.




It was filmed with a $2 million budget. Although the story takes place in West Virginia it was mostly filmed in Croatia, though additional shooting was done in West Virginia.[1]


White Lightnin' received positive reviews from critics receiving an 80% on Rotten Tomatoes.


  • Golden Gateway of India Award 11th Mumbai Film Festival 2009
  • "Golden Hitchcock" at the Dinard Festival of British Film, 2009[4]
  • Fantasia Festival "Jury Prize for Best First Feature"[5]
  • British Independent Film Awards Most Promising Newcomer for Edward Hogg


  1. ^ a b Thomas, Archie (29 October 2007). "Ed Hogg steps into White Lightnin'". Variety. Retrieved 9 September 2010.
  2. ^ Romney, Jonathan (27 September 2009). "White Lightnin' (review)". The Independent. Retrieved 9 September 2010. 
  3. ^ "White Lightnin'". Archives. Sundance Institute. Retrieved 9 September 2010. 
  4. ^ "Palmares 2009" [2009 Awards]. Festival du Film Britannique de Dinard. Retrieved 26 August 2010. 
  5. ^ "A record breaking 13th edition of the Fantasia Festival". Fantasia International Film Festival. 31 July 2009. 

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