// 16th of December, 2008

White hot commercials maestro Dominic Murphy's directorial debut, White Lightnin',  which tells the tragi-comic story of the life of Appalachian mountain dancer Jesco White, is one of the first  titles selected by the Berlin Film Festival's  Panorama chief Wieland Speck, after the Berlinale's traditional December screenings in London this weekend.

The film which is being handled for international sales by Sam Horley's Salt Co. has been picked up for UK distribution by Momentum Pictures.

Jesco (newcomer Edward Hogg) is the last of the Appalachian mountain dancers. Ever since he was a child hooked on huffing gas and lighter fluid, his daddy D Ray (Muse Watson) tried to keep his boy on the right hand of the Lord. But it didn't always take. Hopping from bar to bar as a young man, trying to make his daddy proud, Jesco meets Cilla (Carrie Fisher), twice his age, half his height, and the love of his life. But trouble was never far from him throughout the hollers of West Virginia. As Jesco puts it, "ther's tha devil movin thru my blood."

Shot on location in West Virginia, Eastern Ohio and the Zagorje area, the film stars Hollywood royalty and acting legend Carrie Fisher, newcomer Edward Hogg,  Prison Break star Muse Watson as well as Clay Steakley (Walk the Line), and Stephanie Astalos-Jones (The Neon Bible) The Film was written by Vice Magazine founder and scribe Shane Smith and Eddy Moretti; DOP was Tim Maurice-Jones (Snatch and Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels) and edited by Sam (Sexy Beast) Sneade

The score has been composed by Nick Zinner of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and the souped up soundtrack  features the Black Rebel Motor Cycle Club, Jesco’s buddy and contemporary Hasil "The Haze" Adkins, as well as Dolly Parton, Ozark Mountain Daredevils, Judy Collins, The Carter Family, Loretta Lynn, Tammy Wynette and Stringbean.

Produced by Mike Downey and Sam Taylor at London based Film and Music Entertainment via their Mountain Productions subsidiary, the film was funded by the UK Film Council and picked up coin as a schedule 1 film via the UK tax credits system. The film was co-produced by Mainframe and VICE , the New York hipster bible’s film division VICE Films.

"To get be considered good enough for a midnight screening in Sundance was a terrific accolade," says F&ME producer Mike Downey, "But for a Berlin invitation to come immediately afterwards was really the icing on the cake.  The gatekeepers of two terrific festivals have given their mutual blessing to a first time film maker who clearly has a terrific career in front of him."

Jesco White was first profiled on the Public Broadcasting Service's "Different Drummer" Series. Because of his popularity, PBS eventually released two documentaries about Jesco. The first was Dancing Outlaw (1991), directed by Jacob Young, which featured him at home in West Virginia and gave audiences a glimpse into his troubled life.
As the popularity of Dancing Outlaw grew, he was asked by comedian Tom Arnold to perform on the television show Roseanne. He traveled to Los Angeles for the performance, which was chronicled in the 1994 short film Dancing Outlaw 2: Jesco Goes To Hollywood also directed by Jacob Young.

However Jesco lore is not merely limited to a the odd documentary,although Johnny Knoxville is currently shooting a documentary about Jesco White and his extraordinary family.  He has long been a muse and hero for American bands up and down the country. Hank Williams III wrote the song "Legend of D. Ray White," which honors the cultural significance of Jesco's father. It also mentions Jesco, as well as another legendary Boone County artist, Hasil Adkins.

Tribute songs include "Jessico" by The Kentucky Headhunters, "Jesco (The Dancing Outlaw)" by Sam Black Church, "Jesco" by Trailer Bride, "Jesco White" by Jim Shelley, and "Dancin' Outlaw" by Ekoostik Hookah. The rock group Live included the line "...we'll lay flowers at the grave of Jesco White, the sinner's saint" in the song "Rattlesnake" on their album Secret Samadhi.

A short clip of Jesco dancing can be seen in Beck's "Loser" music video.

The stoner metal band Atomic Bitchwax used a Jesco quote in the track "Shitkicker" on their first album. The track begins with the Jesco quote, "Man, I got a double super-buzz. Here I was huffing, uh, li-, uh, airplane glue in a sandwich bag. Ya know, just all I could I breathed it on into my lungs and gettin' high. And then I'd take me a hit of that gas. Right after I'd hit it, man, you talk about a warped mind, I got one. And lighter fluid, ya know, I'd sniff it by the can. I mean I was Superman."



Katy Moylan                                     0207 3793973