“hillybilly,” a new documentary filmed in West Virginia and neighboring states, will be shown at the historic Lewis Theatre on Tuesday, Nov. 20 at 7 p.m. Jon Matthews, co-producer, will host a discussion following the film. Tickets available at this Lewis special event are $8, full time students $6.
Jon was born in Alum Creek and recently lived in Lewisburg before moving back to Los Angeles. He was a civil rights lawyer and ACLU-CT director before following a dream. In 2009, Jon was accepted – with a full scholarship – to NYU’s graduate film program. Jon’s thesis film, “Surviving Cliffside,” screened in a dozen festivals around the world. Jon’s next film, a narrative feature called “Black Dog, Red Dog,” was co-directed by James Franco. He wrote and directed a crime drama “Khali the Killer.”
In “hillbilly,” directors Sally Rubin and Ashley York show the evolution of the uneducated, promiscuous “hillbilly” stereotype in media and culture, linking it with corporate exploitation of Appalachia’s natural resources. The film examines the experience of rural voters and seeks to expand understanding of the region by featuring diverse communities in Appalachia.
The film goes on a personal and political journey into the heart of the Appalachian coalfields, exploring the role of media representation in the creation of the iconic American “hillbilly,” and examining the underpinnings of this infamous stereotype.
The film also seeks to open dialogue within the filmmaker’s family, which finds itself voting on both sides of the aisle. hillbilly uncovers an unexpected set of artists, poets, and activists, queer musicians, Appalachian poets, and feminists – all unexpected voices emerging from this historically misunderstood region.
This documentary is a timely and urgent exploration of how we see and think about Appalachian and rural identity in contemporary America, offering a call for dialogue between urban and rural communities during this divisive time in our nation’s history.