'Hillbilly'

Questions about the 2016 election of Donald Trump, his support in Appalachia and stereotypes of the Appalachian region prompted filmmakers Ashley York and Sally Rubin to create “Hillbilly,” an award-winning documentary that will be shown next week at Shepherd University.

SHEPHERDSTOWN — The Emmy nominees behind the documentary “Hillbilly” will be here next week to talk about their film examining Appalachian stereotypes and the 2016 presidential election.

Ashley York and Sally Rubin will take part in a question and answer session after the film, set to be shown at 6 p.m. Feb. 21 on the campus of Shepherd University.

Admission is by donation and the film and discussion are open to anyone interested, according to Sylvia Bailey Shurbutt, director of the Center for Appalachian Studies and Communities, one of the event’s sponsors.

“This is an incredible opportunity for our community – to host a screening of this documentary and to discuss the work with the filmmakers,” Shurbutt said.

Rubin is a documentary filmmaker, editor, and professor who has worked in the field for more than 20 years. She earned her master’s in documentary film and video from Stanford University and now teaches at Chapman University.

York, born in Kentucky, earned a bachelor’s in journalism from the University of Kentucky and holds a master’s in fine arts from the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts. She teaches at USC’s Division of Media Arts + Practice.

Shepherdstown Presbyterian Church and the Robert C. Byrd Center for Congressional History and Education are the other sponsors of the film.

“Hillbilly” was filmed in West Virginia, Georgia, Kentucky, Ohio, Tennessee and Virginia.

According to a news release from Shepherd, the movie “ uncovers an unexpected set of artists, poets, activists, queer musicians, Affrilachian poets, and intersectional feminists—all unexpected voices emerging from this historically misunderstood region.”

York has said she began the project to better understand why so many in her own family voted for Donald Trump after backing Barack Obama a decade ago.

“I’ve thought about media representation for a long time, and I would say this has not been an easy story to tell at all,” Rubin said in the news release. “Appalachia is complex, multidimensional, and part of the country that is not easy to paint.”

The film recently won the jury prize for best documentary at the Los Angeles Film Festival.

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