Filmmakers Getting to the Bottom of Lake Lanier's Dark History
The sunken city of Oscarville is the origin of many frightening legends. The Forsyth County town had a very dark history to begin with; it was once home to an estimated population of 1,100 Black people until three men from the town were accused of the rape and murder of a white woman named Mae Crow in the early 1900’s. The men were subsequently
lynched for the suspected crime, but this was not the end of it.
White mobs called The Night Riders took it upon themselves to respond by destroying the town of Oscarville and driving the Black population out of the county through demonstrations of force such as burning down churches and
businesses and firing guns into homes and at livestock. In the 1950’s, the site of these injustices and horrors found itself
submerged by water, at the bottom of today’s Lake Lanier.
Filmmakers are intrigued by this story and want to blend the history and horror of the town in a feature film that “does
Oscarville justice” by capturing the weight of the struggles and injustices that the Black citizens of Oscarville endured. Their
film titled Lanier is set to begin the filming stage in February of 2022.
“There’ve been movies that have happened at Lake Lanier, but nothing has ever hit on Oscarville or anything even close to that,” said Director, Co-Writer, and Producer William Bush-Anderson. “There’s nothing more fearful than a real life intruder coming inside your home. You think they’re on the outside, but they may already be inside. Just that idea of that real-life horror — that’s what really drove me, aside from anything paranormal, because the best horror movies are the
movies that could actually happen to you.”
The injuries and disappearances of recent times were initially what brought this team of filmmakers to Lake Lanier, but once they delved deeper into their research of the area they realized that Oscarville would play a key role in the movie. In the opinion of the film’s Co-Producer, Cindy Kunz-Anderson, the disturbing history that lies at the bottom of Lanier is what has unleashed this paranormal activity. She believes that the series of unfortunate events at the lake are caused by spirits seeking retribution for the brutal crimes committed against Oscarville’s citizens, which is a sentiment likely to be expanded upon in the film.
“It’s not going to be pretty,” said Co-Writer, Producer and lead Actor Ali Ashtigo. “To show the scenes of this film — it’s got to be harsh, or else people aren’t going to get it, the pain of the people. In order to show that, maybe horror is the best way to do it.”