SHOWCASING THE BEAUTY AND COMPLEXITY OF APPALACHIA
The Boone Docs Film Festival returns to the App Theatre on February 25
BOONE, N.C. – The Appalachian Theatre of the High Country announces that the Boone Docs
Film Festival jury has selected 12 thought-provoking and compelling documentary shorts
reflecting on and celebrating life in the Appalachian region. The festival will be held at the historic
venue in Boone, N.C. from 2 to 5 p.m. on Saturday, February 25, 2023. In addition to the films
being screened, the event also includes Q&A with filmmakers, plus the announcement of the
“Jury’s Choice” and “Audience Choice” award winners.
Boone Docs Film Festival, a celebration of Appalachia, is a collaboration between the
Appalachian Theatre and Appalachian State University faculty Beth Davison, Tom Hansell and
Anne Ward. Subjects of the documentary shorts selected for the festival include luthiers,
veterans, musicians, farmers, Cherokee elders, Junaluska matriarchs, protesters, Greek
restauranteurs in Birmingham, ways to protect wildlife from interstate traffic along the Pigeon
River Gorge, and rock climbers seeking to ascend “the inner mounting flame.”
“These documentaries reflect the fact that there is not one single story that reflects this region.
The Appalachian region is an incredibly diverse place, and this festival celebrates those who live
and work in Appalachia,” said Tom Hansell, professor of Appalachian Studies and one of the
organizers of the festival.
A pre-festival Boone Docs event will be held at the Blowing Rock Art History Museum from 6 to
7 p.m. on Thursday, February 9 to screen the two award-winning films from last year’s inaugural
festival: Jury’s Choice award winner “Bright Morning Stars: The Johnsons of Hemphill,” directed
by Thomas Payne (who also has a film in this year’s festival); and Audience Choice award winner
“Alchemy,” directed Bridget Fitzgerald.
The 12 documentary shorts selected to be screened in the 2023 Boone Docs Film Festival are:
● “Brothers Like These” directed by Ross Kauffman, with former North Carolina Poet
Laureate Joseph Bathanti serving as an advisor – a group of veterans dealing with PTSD
find profound healing by writing about their trauma after years of suffering.
● “Environmental Defense Fund” by Lloyd Productions. A collaboration between the
Environmental Defense Fund and NC A&T University, this film looks at farmers who have
adopted climate-resilient farming practices.
● “Inner Mounting Flame” by Andrew Kornylak – the story of Watauga County climbing
legend Mike Stam and his second quest to climb the High Country bouldering “test piece”
– the Inner Mounting Flame.
● “Junaluska” by Artemis Independent/Boonies Productions – a documentary short that tells
the story of a little known but mighty Black community established in Boone, North
Carolina in the late 1800s. This story includes historical images, audio clips and interviews
with matriarchs and community pillars Roberta Jackson and Sandy Hagler. Executive
produced by Selena Lauterer and Kelly Davis.
● “Linda & Henry” by Rebecca Branson Jones – documenting the love story of Linda &
Henry, now in their 51st year of marriage and Henry’s 60th year of playing fiddle.
● “Mountain Banjo Luthiers” by Jesse Barber – this film focuses on two mountain banjo
luthiers in Watauga County and talks about the continuation of the craft.
● “No Such Right: The End of Roe in Appalachia” – produced by four teenagers as part of
the Appalachian Media Institute – this reflects the filmmakers’ search for answers in the
wake of the Dobbs ruling and documents Dobbs protests in Kentucky and West Virginia.
● “ᎤᏕᏲᏅ (What They’ve Been Taught)” by Brit Hensel – filmed on the Qualla Boundary and
Cherokee Nation, this documentary explores expressions of reciprocity in the Cherokee
world, brought to life through a story told by an elder and first language speaker. Filmed
in North Carolina and Oklahoma.
● “Philoxenia” by Jessica Chriesman – a short documentary highlighting the synergy
between the Greek notion of philoxenia (“friend of the stranger”) and Southern hospitality,
as expressed through Birmingham, Alabama’s Greek-owned restaurants.
● “That Tree Lives On: A Film about Terry Ratliff” by Ethan Payne – focusing on the life and
work of Terry Ratliff, who makes chairs with his hands and lives way up in the mountains
of Appalachia in a cabin made of wood that he also made with his hands.
● “The Search for Safe Passage” by Garrett Martin – a short film showing the ways that the
Wildlands Network and the National Parks Conservation Association are seeking to make
Interstate 40 along the Pigeon River Gorge safer for wildlife and people alike.
● “Women and Ginseng” by Clara Haizlett – One chapter in a film about three women and
their unique relationships to American ginseng, a valuable medicinal plant native to the
“We’re happy to work with the historic Appalachian Theatre, which provides an incredible space
to showcase the work of talented filmmakers from around the Appalachian region,” said Beth
Davison, documentary filmmaker and one of the festival’s organizers.
Tickets to the Boone Docs Film Festival at the Appalachian Theatre are $10 each and available
for purchase online via ATHC’s touchless ticketing portal at: https://www.apptheatre.org/newevents/2023/2/25/boone-docs-film-festival.
About the Appalachian Theatre
The mission of the Appalachian Theatre of the High Country is to revitalize and sustain this historic
community touchstone as a quality home for diverse artists and audiences with a special focus on programs
that celebrate our distinctive Appalachian heritage and enhance our capacity to serve as an economic
catalyst for Boone and the High Country. Once a gorgeous 999-seat Art Deco movie house, the building
closed in 2007 and sat empty and gutted for years. On October 14, 2019, the Appalachian Theatre
reopened its doors after a $10 million renovation that brought the distinctive Art Deco details back to this
historic theatre and created a new 629-seat, state-of-the-art, acoustically fabulous venue for live concerts,
films, plays, and dance performances. The historic Appalachian Theatre has entertained regional
audiences in the heart of downtown Boone, North Carolina since 1938. More information can be found at
our website: www.apptheatre.org
About the Boone Docs Film Festival
The Boone Docs Film Festival, founded in 2022, shares short-format documentaries that celebrate the
Appalachian region and provides a platform for stories about and by the people who call the Appalachian
Mountains their home.