Strangers and Kin: A History of the Hillbilly Image (Film)

Strangers and Kin: A History of the Hillbilly Image

  •  Herb E. Smith
  •  1983
  • Color IconColor
  •  58:47
  •  16 mm film
Film Description
Using funny, often poignant examples, Strangers and Kin shows the development and effect of stereotypes as technological change collides with tradition in the Southern mountains. The film traces the evolution of the “hillbilly” image through Hollywood films, network news and entertainment shows, dramatic renderings of popular literature, and interviews with contemporary Appalachians to demonstrate how stereotypes are created, reinforced, and often used to rationalize exploitation. Strangers and Kin suggests how a people can embrace modernity without becoming “strangers to their kin.”

Screenings & Festivals
  • American Film Festival
  • Festival Internacional de Cinema/Figueira da Foz, Portugal
  • Museum of Modern Art
  • Museum of Art, Carnegie Institute

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“Any society is diminished when one of its segments is stereotyped or exploited. Viewing Strangers and Kin is not a provincial exercise. It is part of our growth as a viable democracy.” — Wilma Dykeman, author
“Excellent….Stimulating….Original in its presentation.” — Brown University
“There’s not a TV watcher or movie fan who won’t be surprised and enhanced by this lively and meaningful presentation on stereotypes we thought we had discarded 20 years ago.” — Duke University