By Erin Holaday Ziegler
The University of Kentucky's Appalachian Center and Appalachian Studies Program will give the campus and Lexington community a realistic look at Appalachia through film in the center's first Appalachian Forum series event this week.
Young people from the Appalachian Media Institute (AMI) will showcase three films produced by AMI filmmakers from 3:30-5 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 1, at the William T. Young Library Auditorium. The short films will be followed by a question and answer session.
The film presentation will cover a wide range of content, including "Searching for an Appalachian Accent," a 15-minute film that explores the stigma attached to regional dialects; "A Little Piece of Me," a 10-minute piece that focuses on three stories about growing up gay in the mountains; and "True Cost of Coal," a 13-minute film that explores the mark the coal industry has left on Eastern Kentucky communities through personal stories.
The AMI, founded in 1988 by Appalshop, is a media training program for central Appalachian youth.
Appalshop, a multi-media arts and cultural organization located in Whitesburg, Ky., uses media to address the complex issues facing central Appalachia today. Using the technological and artistic resources of Appalshop, the AMI helps young people explore how media production skills can be used to ask, and begin to answer, critical questions about themselves and their communities.
Through the use of media, AMI participants receive the opportunity to have input into community dialogues and hone the skills and critical thinking abilities necessary to become leaders in creating sustainable futures for their communities. Since its inception AMI has directly engaged more than 600 young people in media production.
“The young filmmakers of the Appalachian Media Institute are inspiring in their frank engagement of issues of concern in and beyond Appalachia,” said Ann Kingsolver, director of UK’s Appalachian Center and Appalachian Studies Program. "we encourage everyone who can to see their work and talk with them on Thursday in this first Appalachian Forum. This series has been launched as a venue for learning from exchange between speakers based in Appalachian communities and in the UK community.”