Filmmaker presents award-winning documentary March 27

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Article Published: Mar. 15, 2012 | Modified: Mar. 28, 2012
Filmmaker presents award-winning documentary March 27

Farmer Harding Ison from Kingdom Come Creek, Ky., is among the people included in the documentary, ‘Beyond Measure: Appalachian Culture and Economy.’
Film still courtesy of Herb E. Smith



Documentary filmmaker Herb E. Smith will present his film, “Beyond Measure: Appalachian Culture and Economy,” on Tuesday, March 27, at 7 p.m. in Appalachian State University’s Belk Library, Room 114.

The screening is free and open to the public.

“Beyond Measure” tells the stories of people wrestling with drastic economic changes in the Appalachian coalfields.

The beauty and challenges of living in the mountains are shown, as the people describe their daily lives and explain how the mutual aid of extended families and attachments to the land are more important than the things economists usually measure. The film documents the efforts of citizens rebuilding their communities.

Smith is one of the founders of the Appalshop media arts center ( http://www.appalshop.org), located in Whitesburg, Ky.

Appalshop was founded in 1969 as a film training program for low-income youths and is dedicated to using the power of the arts to support communities’ efforts to solve their own problems in a just and equitable way.

Today, Appalshop productions reach several million people nationally and internationally.

Smith describes Appalshop’s unique approach to documentary film by saying, “Most of the time, filmmakers fly into a place, make a film and then fly into some other place. They have little depth of personal experience in the place that they’re making films about. We have been making films in one place for more than 40 years. Along with that sense of longevity, you also get a deep sense of place. I think that’s what keeps our work honest.”

In “Beyond Measure,” Smith tackles one of the most complex components of Appalachian history, the mountain economy. He presents both traditional and modern economies and compares how the idea of economy has changed during time.

“A beautiful film about Appalachian people, their relationship with the land and its rich resources that are often owned by corporations elsewhere,” said Loyal Jones, retired director of the Berea College Appalachian Center.

Smith’s films have been shown throughout the country in community centers, union halls, the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.

International screenings of his work include Paris, Berlin, Rome, Calcutta, Bombay and Chengdu.
For more information, contact Tom Hansell at University Documentary Film Services at (828) 262-7730 or (hansellts@appstate.edu)

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