Lights, Camera, Action

Grandson of Manning woman releases film


Actor and award-winning filmmaker Robert X. Golphin has just released his new film, "Essential". 

The sixteen minute drama follows a young family forced to navigate an uncertain future, after domestic and global events compound. 

“2020 has obviously turned into a very unexpected year,” said Golphin. “It has been a domino-effect of epic proportions. I have had distant relatives and colleagues who have contracted COVID-19, or know someone who has. And, of course, people of color and their allies are now demonstrating their need for equality. These things inspired me to come up with this story.”

The film follows a family who is observing and dealing with these issues within their household, and was shot remotely. According to Golphin, his film takes a “fly-on-the-wall” approach to some of these problems, approaching them subtly. 

“I can’t tell people what to feel, nor do I want to, but in all of my work I try to inspire and provoke,” said Golphin.

The project features actor/singer Lauren Michelle Morgan ("Freshman Friday", "Voice of Majesty"), and Golphin (Denzel Washington's "The Great Debaters", HBO's "The Wire"), as the parents of a young boy, portrayed by actor/model Channing Brisbane. Golphin directed from home, giving instruction to each actor over text, call, and email, as they filmed from their home. This presented a new challenge for the young director/actor.

“It was an interesting process,” said Golphin. “We shot everything in one day, and it took me a few weeks to edit, but I am happy with how everything came out.”

Golphin wanted to make sure he presented these topics so that a universal audience could appreciate them, regardless of their background. 

“I don’t think it brow-beats,” said Golphin. “It is a heavy film, but it is also leisurely. I hope it makes you feel like you're right there in the room.”

Golphin lived with his grandmother, Henrietta Pompey Bennett of Manning, while he attended Morris College (Sumter). 

"The past few months and weeks have been particularly difficult for many families," said Golphin. "Especially those of color. I was compelled to present my creative interpretation of this very poignant moment in time, amid a family's internal and external struggles."

"Essential" was filmed earlier this month in various cities and released on Father's Day.

The project is available to screen online at

and, and currently courting the film festival circuit. 

About the Director

Robert X. Golphin's award-winning limited digital series Voice of Majesty, centers on a group of aspiring musicians brought together by their love for preeminent American vocalist, Marian Anderson. 

Robert also directed the upcoming feature-length college comedy Freshman Friday (Slates Squared Entertainment), which co-stars singer/songwriter Brian McKnight, Jr. (son of Grammy nominated R&B icon Brian McKnight and international recording artist Julie McKnight).

Robert has written, produced and/or directed multiple award-winning short films, music videos, documentaries, spec TV pilots, commercials and screen and stage-plays. He has produced multiple projects alongside Niki Koss (star of the ABC/Freeform series Famous In Love). 

Some of Robert's most notable accolades for screen and teleplay writing includes recognition at the ABC (American Broadcasting Company) Talent Development Program, Set In Philadelphia Screenplay Competition (sponsored by the Greater Philadelphia Film Office, Oscar nominated Stephen J. Rivele, Comcast and NBCUniversal), and the Accolade Film Competition.  He is the author of the YA novel Abandoning Adam: Confessions of an HBCU Scholar, available through thousands of retailers nationwide. 

Robert mentors and has been shadowed by youth on and off the set. His teaching credits includes the Kathy Wickline Casting Acting for The Camera & Rehoboth Summer Children's Theatre Film camps.  He is a 2020 Barrymore Award Nominator and previously served as a judge for the 20th Annual Scriptapalooza Screenwriting Competition.

Robert holds an MFA in Screenwriting (Spalding University), B.A. in Theatre & Film (Magna Cum Laude, Saint Augustine’s University) and Diploma in Creative Writing (Philadelphia H.S. for Creative & Performing Arts).

Editors Note:

Portions of this article come from a press release sent to The Manning Times by RXG Publicity, as well as an “About the Director” section from Robert Golphin’s Website.