Movie Director/Producer Andrew Howell directs Putnam County Sheriff Howard Sills in a scene from the Eatonton-filmed “83 Days.” Sills was cast as Judge Witherspoon in the movie.

By Shannon Sneed
The Eatonton Messenger
November 22, 2018

Filmed in Eatonton, including at Tytan Studios, The Eatonton Messenger office and the Putnam County Courthouse downtown, the movie “83 Days” will be released worldwide on Dec. 9.

The movie stars several local personalities, including Sheriff Howard Sills as Judge Witherspoon and Church Central Eatonton Pastor Michael Griffin as the priest. Local filmmakers, Tytan Pictures, provided assistance with locations, cast and logistics.

“We are really excited about this release,” Tytan CEO Jim Stone said. “We are proud and honored to be a part of this film.”

A film by Director/Producer Andrew Paul Howell, and co-produced and written by Ray Brown and Summer Howell, Dejean Deterville stars as ill-fated George Stinney Jr. and beloved actor Danny Glover is cast as Leroy. Matthew Bellows stars as Deputy Clarkston, Brett Rice as Sheriff Hawkins and David Keith as Mayor Jenkins.

Based on a true story, the film is set in 1944 South Carolina where 14-year old George Stinney Jr. became the youngest person executed by electric chair in the United States.

He was arrested on suspicion of murdering two white girls, Betty June Binnicker, 11-years old, and Mary Emma Thames, 8-years old, while they looked for flowers.

When the girls did not return home, search parties were organized. Their bodies were found the next morning in a ditch with severe head wounds.

According to 83daysfilm.com, a few hours later, George was arrested and interrogated in a locked room by two white officers, with no lawyer present. Within the hour, the deputy announced that he had confessed to the crime.

Jury selection began at 10 a.m. on April 24, and by 5 p.m., they were deliberating the case. Ten minutes later, they came back with a guilty verdict and he received the death penalty.

Just 83 days later, on June 16, George was put to death.

Initially, the movie will be released as a short film and is set to be shown at several film festivals. It is scheduled for Dec. 6-9 at Tampa Bay Underground Film Festival 2018 and at Houston Black Film Festival March 27-31, 2019.

The film has also been submitted to the 35th Sundance Film Festival, 28th Aspen Shortfest, 18th Tribeca Film Festival and 50th Nashville Film Festival, among several others.