Appalshop at the Margaret Mead Film Festival

Have you ever been a stranger with a camera?

When you turn 50, it can be tempting to focus on the past.

But we’re actively making work at Appalshop today.

And next week, Appalshop filmmakers will present their films at the Margaret Mead Film Festival in New York City.

It’s a huge honor. The Margaret Mead Film Festival features documentaries that highlight the complexity and diversity of people and cultures around the world, inspired by the anthropologist’s work and her own groundbreaking use of film and photography.

The festival presents the best in non-fiction film — and this year, that’s Appalshop.

On Saturday October 19, the festival will screen three films by Appalshop filmmakers: Elizabeth Barret’s “Stranger with a Camera,” Anne Lewis’ “Evelyn Williams,” and Oakley Fugate’s “Not a Daughter.”

All explore a changing Eastern Kentucky.

Evelyn Williams fights to protect the region from oil and gas drilling well into her 80s in Anne Lewis’ film.

transgender boy who didn’t think he’d make it to 18 achieves a sense of self-acceptance against a backdrop of homelessness, an abusive mother, and homophobia in Oakley Fugate’s film.

And Hobart Ison — feeling like a prop in the War on Poverty’s humiliating narrative — shoots and kills a journalist named Hugh O’Connor who came bearing “a camera like a gun,” as another journalist describes it in Elizabeth Barret’s “Stranger with a Camera.”

The film is a particularly good fit for a festival focused on the ways we capture communities and the ethics of how we tell their stories.

Following the screening of all three films, Elizabeth Barret will be recognized and take part in a Q+A.

Then on Sunday October 20, another Appalshop filmmaker, Mimi Pickering, will join her for a panel on film collectives like Appalshop.

We’re thrilled to join other American collectives who use media to empower community voices.

Mimi and Elizabeth will speak alongside filmmakers and leaders from Kartemquin and Pacific Islanders in Communications (PIC) who mentor filmmakers, provide equipment, and produce award-winning films like we do.

It’s an honor to take part in the festival at any time, and this is at least the third time the Margaret Mead Film Festival has screened work from Appalshop.

But as we begin our 50th anniversary year, our inclusion in the festival serves as a particularly good reminder that it’s as much about what we’re up to today as what we were up to in 1969.

We’re still producing work today. If you’re in Kentucky, you’re always welcome in Whitesburg to see all our artists’ work.

And if you’re in New York City next weekend, please join us at the American Museum of Natural History for the Margaret Mead Film Festival.

Mimi and Elizabeth will be happy to see you.

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