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Creatives in Appalachia


Creatives in Appalachia

Do you make media and/or art? Do you live in Appalachia? 

If you answered yes to those questions, you should get on a new database of makers in the region. I'm creating a list of those of us who make media in the region, in hopes that we can start collaborating and make better work! If you want your name to be featured on the list get in touch below.

For the sake of keeping things less complicated, I'm looking for folks who do: video, film, editing, writing, animation, design, illustration, photography, interactive media, technology, audio, journalism, music, exhibitions, installation art, etc.

IMPORTANT: You have to make work from or about Appalachia. You must be interested in collaboration and not just self-promotion.

Not sure if your city/town is in Appalachia? Check out this map courtesy of Looking at Appalachia.


Name *



Happy 151st Birthday To An Old Friend #WV151

Today is West Virginia's 151st year of statehood. While most Americans don't celebrate their native land's statehood, we West Virginians do. We're proud and weird people.

Last year, the Hollow team and I launched this baby into the world. It says everything I want to say about this state, so for today I will share some of my favorite (winter) photos of this place we call home.




This road didn't exist when I lived in Logan. When I drive through West Virginia I try to imagine the work involved to create roadways through these mountains.


Here I got my first fish, took bubble baths, wrecked my Barbie car, celebrated my 4th birthday, watched my baby sitter eat a whole jar of pickles, swam in the back of a pickup truck filled with water and built igloos when the snowed trapped us on the hill.


Downtown Logan, West Virginia.


Williamson, West Virginia.


Morgantown, West Virginia.


The building that used to stand here burned to the ground. Inside of said building was Saks Jewelry, my mom's place of employment. Today, they have relocated and a gravel lot occupies the space.


There really is nothing like a West Virginian sunset.


It's nice to take a moment and see the details.




My uncle built this house in the 1970s. He is one of the most intelligent and creative people I have ever known. He has never been married, never had a driver's license and lives alone. The house is built on, and in between, a huge rock cliff in Nicholas County, W.Va. He used to have a dark room in the house but has since converted it into his computer room. Times change.


Great Uncle Roy (said uncle of story above).



I'm named after this sweet woman. Great Aunt Eva Elaine Russell. Known in the county as a fantastic school cook for decades.




My Paw Paw Doy's woodstack.


Silver and blue.


Paw Paw Doy taking a break from the swarms of grandchildren and great-grandchildren.


The newest grandchild.


One day I will learn how to play the fiddle from this man.


My favorite view.

Processed with VSCOcam with g3 preset

And one from summer. My favorite season is fall but something about these winter photos felt appropriate for WV's 151st.

Happy Birthday, West Virginia.




New Awards & Opportunities for Hollow


Over the past couple days, some pretty cool awards have been announced. Check out the images/links below and thanks to everyone for your continued support of Hollow! HOLLOW is a finalist in the SXSW Interactive Awards in the "Activism" category

Green, governmental and non-profit projects striving to make the world a better place.

Screen Shot 2014-02-05 at 8.14.43 AM
Screen Shot 2014-02-05 at 8.14.43 AM

Congrats to the team (especially to our sound designer, Billy Wirasnik, and music composer, Lee Strauss) for winning two Platinum AVA Digital Awards for Creativity (Web Video)/Original Music and Radio.

Screen Shot 2014-02-05 at 8.43.03 AM
Screen Shot 2014-02-05 at 8.43.03 AM

Hollow is featured for Eastern Oregon's Film Festival's Online Selection.

The rise of digital cinema has shown that 20th Century exhibition models are increasingly insufficient. Cinema is in constant flux, and without adapting to changes in the distribution landscape, most filmmakers cannot survive. We believe that festivals’ inclusion of online works is progressive, and vital to independent cinema. The Internet also serves as a temporary home for some of the more intimate, experimental works that move us.

I have also been invited to lead a discussion and screening at the following places, this spring:



1 Minute in Appalachia: Video Series


  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.


2013 In Review


2013 In Review

2013 has been an amazing experience. I am extremely grateful to all of you who have supported, shared and helped bring Hollow to life. There is still work to be done, but I can safely look back on 2013 with full satisfaction and gratification. I feel so lucky that we have been invited to screen and present Hollow 23 times in a 5-month period. We have traveled from California to NYC and from Appalachia to Amsterdam. We have won several awards and were most recently chosen for IDFA's DocLab. Nearly 80,000 people all around the world have experienced Hollow online since June 20. We're looking forward to experiencing what 2014 has in store for the team and community. We have several more Kickstarter-backer screenings to hold, but here are some university and conference screenings that are already lined up (starting in January): OSU, Davis & Elkins, Shepherd University, Wheeling Jesuit University, iDocs, Appalachian Studies Conference and Vermont College of Fine Arts.


New Production


New Production


For the past couple days (and through next Sunday) Kerrin and I are spending time searching for legacy of Seamus Heaney, an Irish poet who recently passed away. Heaney’s impact on his home country is quite astounding and we have been lucky enough to meet some great young poets and friends from his hometown, so far.


Camden Intl Film Fest


Camden Intl Film Fest


What an honor to be able to present Hollow alongside Barbara Kopple and “Harlan County, USA.” Interesting discussion all made possible by the awesome work of Sean Flynn and Ben Fowlie at Camden International Film Festival and the Points North Documentary Forum.