Sam Cole, an archival researcher for the documentary film hillbilly, visited Dr. Ann Ferrell’s Women’s Folklife class on Tuesday, September 18 prior to a screening of the film at the Capitol Arts Center that evening. The film premiered in May of this year.
Women's Folklife students were able to participate in a question-and-answer session with Cole, which followed an introduction to Cole's involvement with hillbilly and her personal connection to the places shown in the film. Hillbilly was brought to Bowling Green as part of the Southern Circuit Film Series with a sponsorship from WKU's Cultural Enhancement Series.
Cole’s visit provided context for the film’s discussion of Appalachian stereotypes in media representation. She maintains a “companion site to hillbilly” called Her Appalachia (herappalachia.com) through support from the Kentucky Foundation for Women. It lists several of these narrative tropes (the drug addict, the holy roller, etc.) and provides visual examples for each one to educate the website’s readership on the archetypes attributed to rural Appalachians in film and television.
Cole's archival research and grant writing contributions to the film have allowed her to become more aware of media stereotypes not only for Appalachians, but for other groups as well, and familiarized her with the process of filmmaking.
More information about the film can be found at hillbillymovie.com.