FILMOGRAPHY

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AS LONG AS I REMEMBER: AMERICAN VETERANOS 2009, 54:00 Editor (Producer/Director Laura Varela)
The personal toll and legacy of the Vietnam War on Mexican American communities through the stories of three South Texas artists. Click for film website.

MORRISTOWN: in the air and sun 2007, 60:00
A working class response to globalization filmed over an 8-year period in the mountains of east Tennessee, interior Mexico, and Ciudad Juarez. Currently playing. More info

HIGH STAKES 2007, 14:00 version for grassroots use, longer version in progress
An intimate look at the impact of No Child Left Behind on a predominantly Latino class of 5th graders and their teacher. More info

UP THE RIDGE 2006, 56:40 Editor (Produced by Nick Szuberla and Amelia Kirby)
An in-depth look at the United States prison industry and the social impact of moving hundreds of thousands of inner-city African American and Latino offenders to distant rural outposts. Click for film website.

TEXAS MAJORITY MINORITY 2004, 10:40
About the struggle to register Latino and African American voters in Texas and the disenfranchisement of thousands of voters which created a system of political apartheid. Includes Spanish version and excerpts of the last interview with Ed Wendler. More info

HIS EYE IS ON THE SPARROW 2003, 26:40
Ethel Caffie-Austin, West Virginia ’s first lady of gospel music, performs and teaches African American spirituals, hymns, and contemporary gospel songs. "Captures her in all her spendid humanity and holy devotion," Jude Binder, director Heartwood Dance Company
Dallas Film Festival; International Festival of Cinema and Technology: St. Louis Film Festival.

SHELTER Remastered 2008, 2001, 56:40
In 1974, three women opened the first shelter for battered women in this country. A grassroots movement not only saved lives but changed the way we think. Shelter follows four West Virginia survivors as they move towards lives of safety and dignity.
Trailer. ITVS web site.  New Jersey Film Festival; Philadelphia Film Festival; Great Lakes Film Festival; Kentucky Theater, University of Texas Bass Lecture Hall.

TO SAVE THE LAND AND PEOPLE Remastered 2009, 1999, 56:40
The Appalachian Group to Save the Land and People used every means possible, from legal petitions to guns and dynamite, to protect their land from strip mining.
"A wonderfully human and good humored presentation of a major tragedy. Downright truth telling of a defeat without despair," --George Stoney, New York University. Jurors’ Award, Louisville Film and Video Festival 1999; screening, Texas Documentary Tour 1999; SXSW.

ROUGH SIDE OF THE MOUNTAIN 1999, 56:40
Community organizing and the "steel ceiling" encountered by two company towns -- Trammel and Ivanhoe, Virginia -- as they struggle to develop new economies.
“Universal... should be seen by everyone concerned with community renewal and social justice.” –Hywel Francis, University of Wales-Swansea.
Director's Citation, Black Maria Film and Video Festival; National Council on Foundations Film Festival; Louisville Film and Video Festival.

EVELYN WILLIAMS 1995, 26:40
Coal miner’s daughter and wife, mother of nine, domestic worker and community organizer whose awareness of class and race oppression led her to a lifetime of activism. View clip from Evelyn Williams.
Margaret Meade Film Festival; Black Maria Film Festival; National Organizers Alliance; Charlotte Film Festival; OWL screening for positive portrayal of older Americans; Sinking Creek Film Festival.

JUSTICE IN THE COALFIELDS 1995, 56:40
demonstrates how current labor law has crippled the collective bargaining power of unions and weighed the scales of justice against working people. The documentary follows the United Mine Workers strike against the Pittston Coal Company and explores the strike's social, cultural, and economic impact on coalfield communities.
"A must-see for anyone interested in one of the most important labor struggles of recent years." - Tom Zaniello, George Meany Center for Labor Studies
Gold Plaque, INTERCOM; Big Muddy Film Festival; International Labor Film and Video Festival, Seoul, Korea; Sinking Creek Film Festival; Women in Film/Chicago; Emory University panel and discussion.

View trailer, Justice in the Coalfields.

READY FOR HARVEST, CLEARCUTTING IN THE SOUTHERN APPALACHIANS 1994, 28:30
Looks at a citizen's campaign against clearcutting North Carolina's native forests and alternative approaches to est management.
"... a factually sound and emotionally stimulating video presentation of a major issue ..." - Edward C. Fritz, Forest Reform Network
North American Association for Environmental Education; San Francisco Environmental Film Festival; INTERCOM 1994; Charlotte Film Festival; Sinking Creek Film Festival.

BELINDA 1993, 29:00
The AIDS advocate who spoke of the need for a collective response not crippled by homophobia, racism, fear, or ignorance. View clip from Belinda.
CINE Golden Eagle Award; Big Muddy Film Festival; EarthPeace International Film Festival; New York Film Festival; USA Film Festival; Women in the Director’s Chair; National Educational Film Festival.

FAST FOOD WOMEN 1992, 29:00
An inside look at the lives of women who fry chicken, make pizzas, and flip burgers at four fast food restaurants in easter Kentucky. Documents the low wage, no benefits jobs in America's new service economy. View clip from Fast Food Women.
"A must-see look at the working poor," --Minnesota Star Tribune
International Labor Film and Video Festival, Seoul, South Korea; London Film Festival; American Film and Video Festival; Chicago International Film Festival; National Educational Film Festival; Sinking Creek Film Festival, Special Jury Award - 1992 USA Film Festival.  PBS National
Broadcast on P.O.V.; cablecast on The Learning Channel’s “The Independents: Through Her Eyes.”  

HANDS ON: A YEAR IN AN EASTERN KENTUCKY CLASSROOM 1992, 28:00
Examines the potential of a student-centered, democratically run learning environment based on Foxfire methods in an economically disadvantaged rural second grade.  
"That one wonderful teacher and the loving parents depicted said more about real Kentucky values than the many volumes I have read and program learning materials I have seen.... I really cannot say enough good things about the multi-layered messages in that show." - Virginia Fox, Executive Director, Kentucky Educational Television

CHEMICAL VALLEY 1991, 56:40 Co-director with Mimi Pickering
Environmental justice and environmental racism in Institute, West Virginia where a chemical plant produces the same deadly toxins that killed at least 3,500 people in Bhopal, India.
"Remarkable interviews, sense of place... integrity and intelligence." -juror, American Film and Video Festival
Broadcast on P.O.V., Blue Ribbon, American Film and Video Festival; Best Environmental Film, EarthPeace International Film Festival; San Francisco International Film Festival; Women in Film Festival/AFI .

MORGAN SEXTON: BANJO PLAYER FROM BULL CREEK 1991, 29:00
Eastern Kentucky's Morgan Sexton cut his first banjo out of the bottom of a lard bucket, and some seventy years later won the National Endowment for the Arts' National Heritage Award for his "amazingly pure and unaffected singing and playing style."
"Morgan Sexton has endured the Depression, cultivated a mountain farm and survived the hazards of a mining career with an impressive dignity and presence. He is truly a national treasure, and this wonderful portrait allows us to enter his life." -Loyal Jones, Director, Appalachian Center, Berea College

ROVING PICKETS 1991, 28:00
Coal miners, coal operators and other participants recall the sometimes violent battle over jobs, health care, and a voice in the political system that focused national attention on the economic crisis in the Appalachian coalfields and stimulated President Johnson’s interest in creating a "war on poverty."
View clip from Roving Pickets.
"Chronicles one of the most important resistance efforts of poor people in Appalachia." -Ron Eller, Department of History, University of Kentucky. "Well worth seeing." -Bill Bishop, political columnist

ON OUR OWN LAND 1989, 28:30
The citizens' movement to stop strip mining without the landowner's consent which resulted in an amendment to the Kentucky constitution. 
"Illustrates a conflict that won’t go away, in which the texture of community is pitted against the drive towards profit at any cost... lets coal operators damn themselves with their own words." -Pat Aufderheide, In These Times
1990 Alfred I. DuPont/Columbia University Award for Independent Broadcast Journalism; American Film and Video Festival; Robert Flaherty Seminar.

Read articles about censorship of the film.
View clip from On Our Own Land.

SO WAS EINSTEIN: A LOOK AT DYSLEXIC CHILDREN 1988, 29:00
Focuses on four students and their families and describes the guilt, frustration, and misunderstanding that often come with having dyslexia, and the hope and increased self-esteem that come through hard work, sensitive programs, and caring personnel. "Presents a very human portrait of children and teachers grappling with an important but little understood condition." -Howard Gardner, Professor of Education, Harvard University

HARD TIMES IN THE COUNTRY: THE SCHOOLS 1988, 29:00
The impact of the War on Poverty on school systems in eastern Kentucky and describes how the solutions that were implemented -- in particular school consolidation and vocational programs -- often failed to meet the needs of the area’s children.
" A very poignant report on the impact school consolidations have had on individuals and communities....I just wish it had a happier ending." -John Skawski, Department of Education, Cornell University

LILY MAY LEDFORD 1988, 29:00
Lily May Ledford--the original "banjo-pickin' girl"--led the Coon Creek Girls, the first all-woman stringband on radio. The program includes footage of Lily May performing and interviews and comments from scholars and musician friends about her struggle for autonomy in the music business and the role she played in the commercialization of mountain folk culture.
"Pure delight for those interested in the history of commercial country recordings and early radio." -The Old-Time Herald. "A tribute to her life and career in music" -Jeff Titon, Brown University, Journal of American Folklore

MINNIE BLACK'S GOURD BAND 1988, 29:00
Minnie Black is ninety years old but she's still making music and art out of the gourds she grows in her backyard garden in East Bernstadt, Kentucky.
"Not to be missed!" -Eric John, The New York Center for Urban Folk Culture.
"Delightful story of a woman rich with love, joy of life, imagination and creativity." -Bob Gates, Director, Kentucky Folklife Program
City Lore Festival of Film and Video, New York, Museum of Modern Art, Retirement Research Foundation--Silver Owl Award

GRASSROOTS SMALL FARM 1988, 29:00
The story of 260 families in eastern Kentucky who banded together in a cooperative designed to make small, subsistence farms viable.
"Best piece of work on rural community development that I have ever used. It gives a taste of rural America, and a real look at the way grassroots organizations work. It's a real picture of dignity." -Marvin Pippert, Asst. Professor of Sociology, Roanoke College

MUD CREEK CLINIC 28:30, 1987
Portrait of Eula Hall and a primary health clinic organized by a welfare rights organization in eastern Kentucky.
"Eminently lucid and captivating....A sobering and compelling rendition of a grassroots success story in Appalachia...an exceptionally valuable vehicle for learning about the people and conditions of this region." -Gifford S. Nickerson, North Carolina State University, in Science Books and Films
Columbus Video Festival Blue Ribbon; Council on Foundations Film and Video Festival; Science Books and Films Festival

MINE WAR ON BLACKBERRY CREEK 1986, 29:00
A report from the long and bitter United Mine Workers of America strike against the A.T. Massey Coal Company, a subsidiary of a multinational corporation that also mines coal in South Africa.
"A humanistic examination of a coal miners’ strike, the filmmakers let the parties involved speak for themselves, and no other commentary is needed. This strike resembles nothing so much as a war....Through it all, the importance of believing in what is right, and standing up for those principles no matter what the cost, comes through like a ringing bell." -Rod Granger, film critic and juror, Expo XXI
American Film and Video Festival--Finalist; Athens International Film and Video Festival; Big Muddy Film Festival; Council on Foundations Film and Video Festival; Global Village Documentary Festival;BACA/Brooklyn Arts Council.

MABEL PARKER HARDISON SMITH 1985, 28:30
African-American teacher in the coalfields for 35 years and gospel musician.
"Smith articulately recollects the life of a black miner’s family while archival and personal photos fascinatingly illustrate her colorful narration." -Booklist
"Literally hundreds of African-Americans from Appalachia who’ve left their ’footprints in the sands of time’ admit readily that they were standing on the shoulders of great teachers in the area’s ’colored’ schools, teachers like Mabel Parker Hardison Smith. I thank God for the ’Mabels in the Mountains." -William Turner, Department of Sociology, Winston-Salem State University
Anthros/the Barbara Myerhoff Film Festival; Atlanta Film and Video.

ARTUS MOSER of BUCKEYE COVE 1985, 29:00
Artus Moser, "a Renaissance man of the mountains," was born in 1894, and grew up on the Biltmore Estate near Asheville, North Carolina, where his father was a forester. He was the first Appalachian to collect ballads for the Library of Congress.
"Vintage photographs, musical selections, and Moser's artwork combine in this intimate family interview to reveal a true preservationist of mountain life." -Booklist

I'M WHAT THIS IS ALL ABOUT 1985, 29:00 with Mimi Pickering
Parents in rural Lincoln County are shown fighting for equitable treatment of their children, for the preservation of community schools, and to protect the jobs of teachers who care more about kids than toeing the political line.

PEACE STORIES 1985, 29:00
Experiences of three veterans from the south who decided that war is wrong -- William Farmer, a World War I veteran; Connie Bowling who worked on the atom bomb; a Jack Wright, a Vietnam veteran.

SARAH BAILEY 1984, 29:00
From Bledsoe in Harlan County, Kentucky, a portrait of e of Appalachia's finest weavers and corn shuck artists.
"From her corn shuck dolls and flowers to spinning wool and cooking the daily meal, Sarah makes every aspect of her life a work of art. This program is as much about sharing and Sarah's need to pass on her treasures to others as it is about the wonderful things that she creates." -Bob Gates, Director, Kentucky Folklife Program

YELLOW CREEK, KENTUCKY 1984, 29:00
Documents the efforts of the Yellow Creek Concerned Citizens to stop a commercial tannery from dumping toxic wastes into the creek that flows through their small community near Middlesboro, Kentucky.
"Excellent--an absolutely first rate documentary that is crystal clear in concept and content." -juror, Athens Video Festival
American Film and Video Festival--Finalist