Appalshop @ 40: Classics from the Collection

Appalshop @ 40: Classics from the Collection

This series features a variety of characters, topics, film styles, and production dates that taken together reflect both the place-specific nature and universality of Appalshop media work. A number of the individual films have been preserved and remastered as part of the work of the Appalshop Archive.

All Past Episodes

Beyond Measure

56:40 | #111 | TV-G

Explores the interplay between culture and economy while looking at the economic history of the Appalachian region. Focusing primarily on current events, the film puts the challenges of large-scale job loss in historical context and documents efforts of citizens to rebuild their communities.

Sourwood Mountain Dulcimers/John Jacob Niles

34:40 | #110 | TV-G

I.D. Stamper, a master dulcimer builder and player from Letcher County, Ky., and John McCutcheon, a young musician, play together, swap tunes, discuss musical traditions, and demonstrate the difference between hammered and mountain-style dulcimer. And, a portrait of John Jacob Niles, the adding machine repairman who came to eastern Kentucky in 1909 and became a much-noted "arranger, expander, collector, recorder, and performer" of traditional Appalachian ballads. The film shows Niles in concert, at home, at work arranging his music, and explaining the historical place of balladry in American music.

Harriette Arnow/Ourselves and That Promise

56:40 | #109 | TV-G

In interviews filmed not long before her death, Harriet Simpson Arnow, author of the The Dollmaker, describes the basic biographical details of her life and reveals the difficulties of being a writer, a wife, and a mother. And. three contemporary Kentuckians, James Still, Robert Penn Warren, and Billy Davis, discuss their work and its relationship to the environment in which they live.

Nimrod Workman: To Fit My Own Category/Coal Miner: Frank Jackson/UMWA: A House Divided

56:40 | #108 | TV-G

Nimrod Workman was born in 1895 and spent his life raising a family of eleven by working in the West Virginia coal mines. The film is an extended visit at his home as he and his family prepare meals, build an addition to the house, dig for yellow root, swap jokes with the neighbors, and enjoy each other's company. Next, an early Appalshop film juxtaposes coal miner Frank Jackson's personal recollections of union organizing and mining work with scenes of him in and around the mines. Also, a film of a speech given by W.A. Boyle, president of UMWA, at a miners' rally in Big Stone Gap, Va., in the summer of 1970 with scenes at a mine and interviews with working and disabled miners.

Long Journey Home

56:40 | #107 | TV-G

This documentary dispels this myth of a "pure Anglo-Saxon" Appalachia as it explores the ethnic diversity of the region, the economic forces causing people to migrate into and out of the area, and the personal choices individuals make to stay, to leave, and to come back.

Strangers and Kin

56:40 | #106 | TV-G

The film traces the evolution of the "hillbilly" image through Hollywood films, network news and entertainment shows, dramatic renderings of popular literature, and interviews with contemporary Appalachians to demonstrate how stereotypes are created, reinforced, and often used to rationalize exploitation.

Buffalo Creek: An Act of God/Buffalo Creek Revisited

56:42 | #105 | TV-G

On February 26, 1972, a coal-waste dam owned by the Pittston Company collapsed at the head of a crowded hollow in southern West Virginia. The disaster left 125 dead and 4,000 homeless. Interviews with survivors, representatives of union and citizen's groups, and officials of the Pittston Company are juxtaposed with actual footage of the flood. Filmed ten years after the Flood, Buffalo Creek Revisited looks at the second disaster, in which the survivors' efforts to rebuild the communities are thwarted by government insensitivity and a century-old pattern of corporate control of the region's land and resources.

Hand Carved

56:40 | #104 | TV-G

Chester Cornett made chairs for Presidents and his work is displayed in museums across the country. In this film, Chester fells a tree on the site of his family's homeplace on the top of Pine Mountain in southeastern Kentucky and transports it back to his small apartment and workshop in inner-city Cincinnati. He uses simple hand tools to chop, whittle, and carve the wood into an exquisite, eight-legged, "two-in-one" rocker.

Coalmining Women/In Ya Blood

56:40 | #103 | TV-G

Interviewed at home and on the job, women coal miners tell of the conditions that led them to seek employment in this traditionally male-dominated industry and the problems they encountered once hired. And, the story of a typical young man from Appalachia in the summer after his senior year in high school. He must face the difficult decision faced by many Appalachian youth - whether to stay in the mountains or leave in search of a "better life."

Big Lever

56:40 | #102 | TV-G

In 1978 Richard Nixon chose Leslie County, Ky., for his first public appearance since resigning the presidency. Priceless footage of his visit introduces this incisive and sometimes hilarious look at the engines that drive American politics. The film explores the machinations of party politics in this rural and staunchly Republican county.

Sunnyside of Life

56:40 | #101 | TV-G

Celebrates the legacy of the country music dynasty of the Carter Family by focusing on the Carter Family Fold in Maces Spring, Va., an old-time music hall founded in 1975 by Janette, Joe, and Gladys, the children of A.P. and Sara Carter. The film features Saturday night performances at the Fold by such artists as the Home Folks, Red Clay Ramblers, and Hot Mud Family. The film also includes a history of the Carter Family.

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