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The 2012 Summer Documentary Institute ended only a week ago, on Friday, July 27th, where we held our official screening of the following works at the Appalshop Theatre, in downtown Whitesburg, Kentucky.  We had a very exciting program this year with yet another group of exceptional young people from the mountains, each bringing their own unique vision and understanding of both the region itself, and the issues that concern it.  This summer is of particular importance, as it marks 25 Years of AMI – which we will no doubt expand on in the coming weeks.

For seven grueling weeks, these young people learned from top-to-bottom the process of documentary film, with assistance from both AMI and Appalshop staff — from the technical (camera/audio techniques), to networking and performing interviews, to the actual process of editing and story-building.  After learning these basics, interns select their topics of interest, break into teams, and spend the next three weeks running a self-initiated workflow plan to finally produce their end-product.

Please join us in celebration of all of their hard work:


“Before It’s Too Late”
Produced by: Cory Coots, Ellie Hogg, Angel Hill, Jade Slone, and Jarrod Stamper
#Environment #WaterQuality

“Embracing Culture: Appalachian Art”
Produced by: Oakley Fugate, Joey Salyer, and Savannah Swinney
#Arts&Culture #Community

“Life’s a Fight”
Produced by: Kennedi Caldwell, Christian Chadwell, Brian Dunn, and Nkengafac “Beck” Lekealem
#Bullying #SocialIssues

Set in Letcher County, Kentucky, a rural community that hosts the headwaters of three major rivers, “Before It’s Too Late” explores the issue of water quality, its importance, and what may result if we continue this devastating path.

AMI, Summer 2012
Produced by: Cory Coots, Ellie Hogg, Angel Hill, Jade Slone, and Jarrod Stamper

Through the voices of various artists from the region, “Appalachian Art” attempts to express the importance of creative experiences in small rural communities.


AMI, Summer 2012
Produced by: Oakley Fugate, Joey Salyer, and Savannah Swinney

Fall 2011
Running Time: 03:33

“Middle School Consolidation” is a current event piece concerning the proposal of consolidation for Letcher County’s K-8 schools. In this piece we hear the voices and opinions of both school officials as well as parents.

Listen to: Middle School Consolidation

Produced by: Brady Caudill, Cheyenne Collie, Brook Hampton, and Katelyn Sexton.

AMI’s Fall Audio Lab participants have just completed their first radio documentary works surrounding the subject of high school drop out rates in central Appalachian. Participants this term range in ages from 13 – 17, and all hail from Letcher County, Kentucky. This is the first time that AMI has opened its doors to students as young as 13.

On November 17th, 2011, the following pieces were aired on WMMT‘s “Mountain News and World Report” during a special report on area schools.  This show will be re-aired on Thursday, November 24th at 6:00pm.  Tune in locally at 88.7FM, or listen online via the WMMT website.


Brady Caudill, Cheyenne Collie, Brook Hampton, and Katelyn Sexton focused on the issue of teen pregnancy, its relation to high school drop out rates and what options teen mothers are given to complete their high school education. This piece contains the voices of mothers who have both dropped out and remained in school.

Listen to: Teen Pregnancy

Alexis Fields, Matthew Mullins, and Katie Ross explored the reasons why students drop out, and what resulting issues arose from their decision. In this piece we hear the story of Matthew, a gay teen who is pressured into quitting because of bullying, and Norma, a teen mother who dropped out of school in the 8th grade.

Listen to: Reasons

Oakley Fugate, Dustin Hall, and Jared Sexton confronted the increased disparity of punishments over the years in public schools, as well as the issue of neglect to certain casts of students. We hear the voices of Oakley’s father, who recalls his experiences as a high school student in the 1970s, Justin, a Junior at Letcher County Central, and Tony Sergent, former high school teacher and current principal at a local Elementary school.

Listen to: Progress and Punishment



AMI, Spring 2010
Running Time: 04:23

“Gordon” is a short film concerning the daily toil and stewardship of a small mountain estate.

Produced by: Miranda Couch and Jake Sexton

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