Appalshop Film & Video student produced videos, the Appalachian Media
Institute, began in 1988 as a desperate response to the increasing high drop-
out rate of area high-school students. These interns, along with their
sponsoring educators, learn video production in a community context and work
with a range of artists which include film and video makers, radio producers,
actors and storytellers, authors, and local community leaders. The objective
of the institute is to engage the students in a course of study which allows
them to become active participants in their communities. During the past
eight years, 94 imaginative young people form rural Appalachian schools have
completed the AMI summer program, and more than a 1,000 students have
participated in AMI’s school year programs.
Video produced by AMI students.
* Black and Blue
Women talk candidly about the mental and physical abuses they suffer/suffered
* Digging for a Living
Unemployed coalminers from eastern Kentucky and southwest Virginia talk about
the mental and financial hardships faced by themselves and their families
after the mines have closed.
* New Woman Blues
Due to the large number of male miners losing their jobs in the Appalachina
coalfields, many wives and mothers have been forced to become the “bread
winners “ These women talk about the hardships of becoming the only family
member employed, usually for low wage jobs with no benefits, and the ordeals
of keeping home and family intact in a male-oriented society.
* Signs and Wonders
Appalachian area church members, Joanna Lamb, Vendetta Fields, and Florida
Slone, talk about their religious beliefs and the dreams and visions that
they have experienced.
* Gone But Not Lost
Gone But Not Lost focuses on the deaths of two teens who died in automobile
accidents and how their deaths affected families and communities. Family and
friends share memories and talk about the tragedies.
* Just Takin’ a Chance
This documentary takes a trip into bingo parlors, the “new” gambling casinos
of eastern Kentucky. The rather unique personalities interviewed discuss
the monetary gains of bingo and how gambling affects the lives of people
within the community from this “new and growing gambling” craze.
* Those Who Believe
Explores the practice of snake handling during religious services of the
Holiness Pentecostal churches in Georgia, Kentucky, Tennessee, and West
Virginia. Church members talk candidly about their religious practices of
taking up serpents, the drinking of deadly poisons, and the laying-on of hands
for healing the sick. The documentary includes footage of snake-handling
services in the Appalachian region as believers practice their faith.
* Against the Wind
Portrays the true side of motorcycle gangs. Bikers talk about their
feelings of being stereotyped as “the bad guys.”
Price: $50; S&H $15.