Private Project

The Hermit

The tragic story of the Hermit of the Great Dismal Swamp.

  • William Julius Howard III
    "The Great Dismal" "The Incredulous Case of Aliens, the US Govt, and Arnie Smith"
  • William Julius Howard III
    "The Great Dismal" "The Incredulous Case of Aliens, the US Govt, and Arnie Smith"
  • William Julius Howard III
    "The Great Dismal" "The Incredulous Case of Aliens, the US Govt, and Arnie Smith"
  • William English
    Key Cast
    "Ben Marshall"
    Midlife, The Great Dismal
  • Project Type:
  • Genres:
    drama, thriller
  • Runtime:
    18 minutes 16 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    February 13, 2023
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
    Nikon Z9 and Nikon Z7
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Director Biography - William Julius Howard III

Born in Wilson, North Carolina, William Howard is a photographer and writer/director/producer. He attended North Carolina State University with a major in English Writing/Editing. Going by the name 'Bill', he is married to Susan since 1995, with three children, Turner, Julianne, and Cooper, and five dogs.

After taking a different career track, he began writing a weekly newspaper outdoors column in January 2011 that was carried by as many as 16 different newspapers in North and South Carolina. He also became the paddle sports columnist for North Carolina Sportsman Magazine, which continued until the magazine merged with South Carolina Sportsman Magazine. At one time, Howard was named in the top 10 outdoors writers to follow and his blogsite which were online versions of the column, was consistently ranked in the top 10 of outdoors sports blogs according to Google analytics.

His outdoors columns rarely contained hunting and fishing reports, rather the stories were often nostalgic reminiscences. He had a flare of setting a strong hook that would circle back around at the end of the column.

After going full-time as a photographer in 2015, he continued learning new techniques and disciplines in photography. Specializing in real estate, commercial, landscapes and sports action photography, his images have been printed in many major photography and sports magazines and sites, including Outdoor Photographer magazine, Sports Illustrated and ESPN the Mag. He has had prints on exhibition throughout the world including Seoul, South Korea where one of his images was selected for the Black and White Portrait Photographer of the Year.

HIs first dive into filmmaking began in 2019, when he filmed a short experimental film 'Whirligigs at Night.' He entered the short film in only two film festivals, where it was the feature in one and the lead-off film in the other. Over the Halloween weekend of 2021, he filmed 'Tramping Ground' along with James Cox, where Howard was the cinematographer, editor, co-director and co-producer. This was his first scripted film with cast and crew.

Afterwards, wanting to film his own stories, Howard set out on November 30, 2021 to write a low budget feature length screenplay. Finishing the script and re-write 10 days later, he began casting for 'The Great Dismal' with production targeted for February 2022. The film will introduce Jamison Utley as the lead character, and TikTok star Sam Bailey as a lead supporting actor. Veteran actors William English and Berle Stocks round out the main cast. On January 21, 2021, the script was selected for the Toronto Film and Script Awards.

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Director Statement

The Hermit is a prologue of the feature film The Great Dismal. When I notified William English of his role after casting, he questioned what is the hermit's motivation? Why is he a hermit. As we spoke, I decided to add The Hermit as a post-credits scene, or sequence actually.
The Hermit first and foremost, explains why he became a hermit. It turns the film The Great Dismal from a thriller to a tragedy.