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Grant number: TD-235104-16

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Southern Documentary Fund (Durham, NC 27702-3622)
Ashley Blair York (Project Director: August 2015 to present)

A History of Rural Appalachian Culture

Development of a feature-length documentary film focusing on media portrayals of American mountain and rural populations over the past one hundred years.

The Hollywood Hillbilly is a feature-length documentary intended for public television broadcast. The film examines representations of Appalachia in the media as constructed over the past century. The documentary uncovers the origins of the American “hillbilly” archetype, explores the impact of these representations in Appalachia and beyond, reveals how this shape-shifting icon reflects the evolution of America’s aspirational self-image over the decades, and asks critical questions about our role as journalists and storytellers in representing the communities we portray. Anchored in a historical framework, the project seeks to engage audiences through an exploration of humanities ideas, themes, and scholarship; raise a multitude of questions related to regional and rural identity and socio-economic class; and offer an urgent exploration of how we see and think about white poverty in rural America.

Project fields:
Film History and Criticism; History, General; Rural Studies

Media Projects Development

Public Programs

Total amounts:
$50,000 (approved)
$50,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
5/1/2016 – 9/30/2016