Cucklebur & Co. will become the premier creative house of Southern storytelling through film, tv, new media and merchandise.
Our mission is to imagine, create, develop and produce projects and merchandise inspired by Southern experience.
What the Hell is a Cucklebur?
Genus Xanthium, or in the Southern vernacular, Cucklebur, is a tough fibrous plant with broad leaves and fruits that are burred, well known to hunters, farmers, and nature lovers. The fruit of this tenacious plant will bury itself into everything it touches and demand immediate attention when a few end up in your socks, your hair, or in your britches. And God forbid if you are on horseback and one ends up under your saddle!
The Cucklebur As Our Brand
There is abiding love here in the South and wherever Southerners venture beyond their front porch. We Southerners are fearless, following our hearts wherever they lead us. Our memories tether us to the petrichor of a rolling red river, spring honeysuckle blooms, the pungent fragrance of new pines in summer and the glow of golden hickories in fall. We always carry the warmth of home fires burning at dawn and dusk, the smell of hot biscuits and cornbread, and the contentment of sleeping bird dogs at the hearth after a cold hunt.
In our stories, ancient horrors also linger. Pain and suffering still scream from the Piedmonts to the rounded blue ridges, from the burnt plains of Texas and the cold streams of the Ozarks, echoes of misery drunk in the whiskey that is Kentucky, in the resounding twangs and fiddle cries along the Tennessee River, and the fermenting past still present in the ancient swamps of the delta and bayou. After all, are not joy and pain life partners?
We are all that is and can be Southern: fiercely loyal, impossibly forgiving - but never forgetting - and yet tenderly loving all within in the same sultry breath we draw in and exhale. We are Southern in everything we create, develop and produce…and like the “damned cucklebur” what stuck to us, our stories will imbed themselves into your hearts. We are Cucklebur & Co.
Jeff, "Jonesy" as he is known to all, spent his early childhood growing up in the cotton mill village of Sargent, Georgia and later on a family farm just outside nearby Newnan. A recipient of several athletic scholarships, Jeff attended multiple colleges and universities while frequently working in various trades including carpentry, and as a welder building radio towers throughout the southwestern US and Mexico. During and after college Jeff served in both the US Air Force and in the US Marine Corps.
Graduating from the University of North Carolina at Asheville where he studied creative writing and literature, Jeff was also a member of both the tennis and soccer teams. He then went on to serve as a Marine Officer across five continents. His military experience includes intelligence and counter terrorism, aviation, arctic warfare, and special operations.
After his military service, Jeff held many leadership positions with major corporations including Corning, Fluor Daniel, KPMG, and L3 Communications. His professional work includes experience in telecommunications, explosives and threat detection, nuclear technology, and French TGV operations. In the aftermath of 9/11, Jeff returned to the defense industry as a contractor focusing on threat detection including ballistics imaging, explosives, biometrics, human intelligence and counter terrorism.
Jeff wrote, directed and produced several projects for the Department of Defense and the Department of Homeland Security. In 2021 Jeff began consulting as a technical military advisor on the Fox drama, The Resident, and executive produced The Dishwasher, Cucklebur & Co.’s first short film.
Jeff writes under the nom de plume O.S. Jones.
Sydney Penny was born in Nashville, Tennessee into a family of musical entertainers. Her father, Hank Penny, was a pioneer of Western swing music and a comedian, and her mother, Shari, is an operatically-trained singer. She began her career at the age of three and a half performing on stage with her parents. At age 10, Sydney was cast as “Young Meggie” in the ABC mini-series, The Thorn Birds. Her performance inspired Daily Variety’s Army Archerd to declare her “a National Treasure.”
Widely recognized for her performances in film sensations such as Pale Rider opposite Clint Eastwood and Running Away as the daughter of Sophia Loren, Sydney was also chosen by famed French director, Jean Delannoy, to portray Saint Bernadette in the film Bernadette and its sequel, La Passion de Bernadette, for which she learned to speak fluent French. Sydney also garnered a Letter of Commendation from Pope John Paul II for her performance.
Sydney was nominated for two Emmy awards for her roles on Santa Barbara and All My Children. She spent two years in Paris and Montreal filming the international hit series Largo Winch as an ex-CIA bodyguard, a role which required training in kickboxing and a variety of weapons. Sydney has enjoyed recurring roles in the popular series Beverly Hills 90210 and Pretty Little Liars, as well as many starring and supporting roles in independent films.
In a successful career spanning more than 40 years, Sydney has worked extensively across three different continents and has also co-produced local film projects in Wilmington, NC such as Heart of the Country and The Dishwasher, a short film which she also wrote and directed.
As an active member of the Advisory Film Board for Cape Fear Community College, Sydney is instrumental in introducing many aspiring filmmakers to film and television.