Director: Anthony Slone
Release Year: 1997
Running Time: 26:44
Original Format: 3/4" Umatic
Color / B&W: color

Applewise is an insider’s portrait of the Mullins family, third generation apple growers, and their struggle to maintain and manage one of only two remaining family-run apple orchards in Wise County, Virginia. The program follows the growing seasons as family members try to keep the orchard business profitable while struggling with pesticide issues and sustainability. Others look to the coal industry to strike it rich, and valuable orchards are strip mined and destroyed. The documentary explores issues of self-sustainable agriculture and sustainable land management, corporate competition, pesticide use and family unity.

In following Roy Mullins, his parents, and his brother in their attempts to make a go of the apple business, Applewise tells the story of a family that is on one hand extraordinarily industrious and inventive, but on the other hand not unlike most American families who are trying to seize the opportunities around them, to earn a living, and look after the next generation.

Screenings & Festivals

WBRA/Roanoke Public Television


“Anthony Slone’s documentary “AppleWise” looks at the ‘death’ of business for once-thriving apple growers in the Wise County, VA, area. I really like this one because it examines several generations of one family. The documentary ends with a poignant, tragic scene of the orchard – as the camera-angle widens and pulls back, the viewer sees the strip mining equipment in the distance and hears the roar of machinery. Good stuff
for those who want to delve into social & cultural history as well.”
~ Darlene Wilson
Director, Institutional Planning and Research
Southeast Community College