The creators of two exhibits on display at West Virginia University’sDowntown Campus Library want their works to open up conversations about life in Appalachia.
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Last time we were back in West Virginia, we met up with our friends, Jonathan and Clara (Coat of Arms Post), to help film at the Swiss restaurant, the Hütte, in Helvetia. Jonathan and Clara have been working on a documentary project about Helvetia--Clara's hometown--for a while now. I'm excited to see what they come up with. Kerrin shot some sweet slow motion on the FS7 and flew his drone about...I collected audio and photos and explored the many books, photographs and artifacts in the tiny restaurant. If you haven't been to the Hütte to eat yet, go! It's delicious. Just imagine: homemade, fresh baked bread, mounds of swiss cheese and frothy hot chocolate. YUM.
I have spent the last three days with my family (distant and close) and was thinking about how quickly the places and people you leave behind transform. For some odd reason, you expect things to stay the same. I'm not sure why I have that perception, my life changes quickly. But I have always assumed that when I return home it would feel the same, it would look the same. But it never does. It always changes. The kids from up the holler are now in college. The dark-haired ones have greyed. The "little girl" I grew up with is pregnant with her third child. The names we once heard announced for prayer requests, have been laid to rest. Some have lost their vision, and others have found their voice. I'm glad things change, but sometimes you have to accept that keeping up with that change is impossible.
Over the next couple months I will be adding to a series of microshort films (1-2 minutes) that focus on observing life in Appalachia. The footage from the series was shot in 2012 while I was filming for Hollow, an interactive documentary about the residents of McDowell County, West Virginia. From May to September, I filmed seven terabytes of footage in the coalfields.
Many of the interesting moments and awesome people I met did not make it into the interactive doc so I'm happy to find a new home for these people and places in this series. You can expect to observe church services, front-porch haircuts, residents wandering through abandoned buildings, riding on golf carts with the elderly, tent revivals and moments at home. I am very excited to share some of these slices of life with you.
You can view the first five shorts and read my artist statement here. Enjoy and stay tuned.
Barber Shop. Montevallo, Alabama