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Everett Osceola produces feature film with all-Native cast

“Don’t Let It In” executive producer Everett Osceola, center, joins Geraldine Osceola, left, and Daniel Nunez for filming at the SemFuel gas
station in Big Cypress on March 26. Osceola and Nunez appear in the movie. (Courtesy photo)

Everett Osceola grew up watching horror movies and has a strong passion for the genre. Now he’s involved in making them

Osceola is the executive producer for “Don’t Let It In,” a feature-length horror film with an all-Native American cast. The film is in post-production after about two weeks of filming on the Big Cypress Reservation and other South Florida locations. The cast consists of nine Seminole tribal members and two actors from other tribes.

Everett Osceola grew up watching horror movies and has a strong passion for the genre. Now he’s involved in making them.

It isn’t Osceola’s first film. During the pandemic he produced a short 15-minute film – also called “Don’t Let It In” – and released it to virtual film festivals in 2020.

“The pandemic was a blessing in disguise; virtual film festivals had a much broader reach,” Osceola said.

The short version was so successful that Los Angeles-based Canvas Media Studios provided funding to expand it to feature length, 90 to 100 minutes.

Canvas recently signed a six-film deal with Fox Entertainment-owned MarVista Entertainment to focus on diverse, emerging filmmakers. The deal includes a global distribution commitment for the films. “Don’t Let It In” is the first film to be made under the agreement.

“Don’t Let It In” is based on a Seminole legend of an owl woman and shape shifter, whose name cannot be mentioned or she will come for you. Many tribes have similar legends. A deer woman shape shifter was featured in the TV show “Reservation Dogs,” created by Sterlin Harjo (Seminole Nation) and Taika Waititi (Māori).

“Other nations recognize the characters,” Osceola said. “All tribes have similar legends that are scary and not so scary. It’s a sensitive issue for Indians. When we take it to film festivals, it will bring Natives together through horror films.”

The story is about a Native woman with a troubled past that awakened a creature, which latched onto a family over the years. She returns to the reservation when her sister and other people go missing to try to figure things out.

“It’s a creaky door type of horror movie, it’s not too bloody,” Osceola said. “We want it to be PG-13. The film takes place on Seminole land, but some interiors were filmed off the reservation.”

The film was written and directed by Jay Henric. Osceola added rez slang and Elaponke and Creek languages in the script.

“It’s always been my dream to put our language in a movie,” Osceola said. “Actors wore their own clothing since the budget was so low. I’m happy to have patchwork on the big screen.”

Osceola is in the cast along with Seminoles Aubee Billie, Carradine Billie, Delilah Hall, Doc Native, Daniel Nunez, Everett Osceola, Maryjane Osceola, Geraldine Osceola and Avadie Live Stewart. Taylor Kinequon (Cree/Anishabee) and Beniaren Kane (Hidatsa, Ho-Chunk and Prairie Band Potawatomi) round out the cast.

Nunez plays a gas station attendant whose scene was filmed at the SemFuel gas station in Big Cypress.

“When I saw the post for casting, I was down to help out or act,” Nunez said. “I think it’s cool to be part of that.”

Geraldine Osceola learned a lot about filmmaking and loved being part of the film.

“I don’t see movies the same now,” she said. “I went to see ‘The Lost City’ and noticed a mic had moved during a scene. You have to memorize a lot of lines, but I did it in increments so it was easy. You also do a lot of waiting during filming, but it was fun and I enjoyed it. I’d do it again if anyone asks.”

There will be a soft release – possibly in August – with a wider release slated for mid-to-late September.

Corrections: In the original publication of this story, the name of the person in the Diedre Hall photo below and the tribal affiliation for Beniaren Kane were incorrect. Both have been corrected.

The filming of a night scene in a swimming pool for “Don’t Let It In.” (Courtesy photo)
Diedre Hall reads the script for “Don’t Let It In.” (Courtesy photo)
Beverly Bidney
Beverly Bidney has been a reporter and photographer for The Seminole Tribune since 2012. During her career, she has worked at various newspapers around the country including the Muskogee Phoenix in Oklahoma, Miami Herald, Associated Press, USA Today and other publications nationwide. A NAJA award winning journalist, she has covered just about everything over the years and is an advocate for a strong press. Contact her at