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Keeping it family-oriented
Camden High School grad brings family story to film
BillJayandWifeWEB
Bill and Pam Jay made her familys story a movie, Union Bound.

A Camden High School graduate of 1968 utilized his love for war history to tell the story of his wife Pam’s ancestor through the movie, “Union Bound” which will be showing at Regal Sandhill 16 in Columbia for one night, Wednesday, Aug 24. 

Bill Jay grew up in Lugoff, attended Camden High School and graduated from the University of South Carolina. A long-time history buff, Jay eventually got the opportunity to pursue that interest when he was given the diary of Joseph Hoover, his wife’s great-great grandfather.

“Before my wife’s father died, he knew I was a history war buff. He gave the diary to me,” Jay said. 

While he was living in New Jersey, he transcribed the faded 4”x3” diary. After transcribing the diary, which was written in a different style than one would see today, Jay and his wife thought it would be a great story. It is the story of a Union soldier during the Civil War, Joseph Hoover and his friend, both of whom escaped from a prisoner of war camp in Florence and were aided by slaves to get back to the Union.

If one thinks about it, it is the Underground Railroad backwards, Jay said. 

Jay and his wife, Pam, lived in New Jersey for fourteen years, but have been living in North Carolina for twelve years. She owned a consignment shop, and a few scenes of a movie were filmed there a few years ago. She contacted the company involved and told them they believed Joseph Hoover’s story would be a great film. The producer of the movie, Michael Davis, is also the owner of Uptone Pictures, and he was interested in the story. 

Bill and Pam Jay invested money into the movie, and will receive a percentage of the profits for owning the story.

“It was filmed pretty much in North Carolina, outside of Durham on a plantation,” Jay said. 

He also says that local Durham people were integral in the movie. They filmed during the month of June; with the actors often wearing heavy Civil War gear. In fact, one of the lead directors had to be hospitalized for heat exhaustion. 

“My daughter went to school for film in New York,” Jay said. “She was a second assistant director with the movie.” 

When that director was hospitalized for heat exhaustion, Jay’s 28-year-old daughter was a lead director on a couple of scenes in the movie.

He explained that this movie needed to be shown in Columbia because there was a limited release nationwide and his friends and relatives here in Kershaw County would not be able to view the movie otherwise. 

“We’ve been to several premiers and film festivals for the movie, and Tank Jones played the real life slave, Jim Young, that helped Hoover journey to freedom. Jones won best supporting actor at one festival,” Jay said. 

In a few film festivals, “Union Bound” was awarded “Best Film” and “Best Director.” 

Jay and his wife are listed as executive producers for the film, and he said tickets to see the movie must be purchased online at tugg.com/events/136311. People can purchase tickets up to four hours before the showing.