It has been billed as a documentary “for anyone who is a hillbilly, or anyone who knows one.”
On Monday, Oct. 29, at 7 p.m., Co-Director Ashley York will screen the new documentary film, “Hillbilly: Appalachia in Film and Television” in the EKU Center for the Arts (a change from its originally announced site) at Eastern Kentucky University. Part of EKU’s annual Chautauqua Lecture Series, the event is free and open to the public, and free parking is available on site.
“Hillbilly” reflects on the stereotypical hillbilly character in film and television. The film covers more than 100 years of media representation of rural Appalachian people and “offers an urgent exploration of how we think about the complex, poverty-stricken area.” The film has received critical acclaim, winning Best Documentary awards at the Los Angeles Film Festival, Traverse City Film Festival and Scruffy City Film and Music Festival, as well as receiving the Best Music Award at Scruffy City. It is an official selection of the Nashville Film Festival, Charlotte Film Festival, San Francisco DocFest, Heartland International Film Festival, Hot Springs Film Festival, Women Texas Film Festival, Southern Circuit 2018-19, and more.
York, a Kentucky native, is a media maker and film producer interested in documentaries, socially conscious media and emerging modes of storytelling. She is committed to feminist causes, inspired by the work of bell hooks, the late Aimé J. Ellis, Susan Sontag and Silas House. Her commitment led her to found the L.A.-based design collective Take Action Games, which has partnered with social justice organizations to make digital activist projects that highlight women’s issues. In film, she has worked with Academy Award-winning teams and produced several highly acclaimed documentaries. York received her bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Kentucky and her master of fine arts degree from the University of Southern California's School of Cinematic Arts, where she currently teaches.
The film’s other co-director, Sally Rubin, who gave a preview of the film as a work in progress in last year’s Chautauqua Series, has worked as a documentary filmmaker and editor for more than 15 years. Because her mother grew up in a Smoky Mountains hollow, she has made many visits to Appalachia to see family and friends. Her other documentary credits include “Life on the Line,” “Deep Down,” “The Last Mountain,” “Iraq for Sale: War Profiteers” (editor), “The Freedom Files” (editor), “Country Boys” (associate producer), “Riverwebs” (editor) and “Kind Hearted Woman.” In addition to her filmmaking, Rubin is currently a full-time documentary professor at Chapman University in Orange, California.
The screening will be sponsored by EKU Libraries, Interdisciplinary Studies,the Department of Communication, the Society of Professional Journalists and the Honors Program.