4 months ago
“Portraits and Dreams” is a collaboration between our own filmmaker Elizabeth Barret and photographer Wendy Ewald, who taught elementary schoolers in Eastern Kentucky to photograph their own lives.
When Ewald reunited with her students 35 years later, now grown and with children of their own, Barret was there to capture their lasting connection and their reflections on the power of photography in our region.
Now "Portraits and Dreams" will premiere as part of the POV Docs Season 33, the longest-running showcase for independent acclaimed point-of-view documentary films.
It's an enormous honor. Unique for being a woman-led team, "Portraits and Dreams" is the second of Barret's films to be selected by POV Docs. And it's the second that explores the way Appalachia is portrayed, this time not by "strangers" — as in her internationally renowned 2000 release "Stranger with a Camera" — but by Appalachians themselves.
Ewald's collaboration with her students in the 1970s was a rare opportunity for kids in our region to uplift their own stories not as subjects, but as artists with agency and creative control.
To discuss what it means for Appalachians to portray themselves, two of those students will join Ewald and Barret on a panel prior to the PBS broadcast, a conversation moderated by photographer Jeff Whetstone and streamed over Facebook LIVE.
And if you can't get enough of the film — or want to watch it in-person — join our socially-distanced community screening of "Portraits and Dreams" outdoors under our solar pavilion the very next night, Tuesday September 8th. We'll screen the film at 7:30 pm, followed by a talkback with Elizabeth Barret at 8:30 pm with Appalshop Executive Director Alex Gibson.
Barret will join another panel discussion on Thursday September 10th moderated by photographer Roger May to discuss Appalachia, its representation, and the power of photography. Wendy Ewald and two of her former students will round out the conversation streamed over the Facebook pages of Appalshop and MACK Books, the publisher of the companion book to "Portraits and Dreams."
Can't wait until next week to see the film? You can watch a trailer of "Portraits and the Dreams" here.
We’re so proud of the work that both women have done at Appalshop, and we are incredibly excited to see the latest Appalshop film being honored by POV Docs.
“What emerges is the unbreakable, timeless bond between teacher and student and the transformative power of art,” says critic Ken Jacobsen, who has called the film “beautiful and deeply moving.”
We couldn’t agree more.
Tune in to your local PBS station Monday to see "Potraits and Dreams" make its POV Docs debut!
More information about the film is available at @appalshop on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter;@POVDocs on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and at www.pbs.org/pov; or through the hashtag #PortraitsAndDreamsPBS across social media.