A new independent film explores the problems and potential that lies in Eastern Kentucky. The film is premiering as part of nonprofit group Kentuckians for the Commonwealth’s “Louisville Loves Mountains Week.”
Ralph Davis is a native of Floyd County in Kentucky. Besides his foray into independent filmmaking, he runs the local newspaper and is the market manager for the Floyd County Farmers Market.
Davis says he made “Appalachia 2050” after years of frustration at watching films about the region made by non-natives. He says those films often focus on stereotypes, and he wanted to see a film create a real portrait of Eastern Kentucky.
“I’ve said for years, somebody should talk to the intelligent people, the people who are here working everyday, trying to improve the region in order to show that there are steps being taken, and there still are regions that need to be addressed,” he says. “And the region’s not a charity case.”
Davis says he based his film on a simple idea: what do the region’s residents want to see in Appalachia by that year? In the film, he talks to people about Eastern Kentucky’s past and future. Davis says he wants viewers to realize that the key to revitalizing the region lies with its people.
“I think we’ve fallen into a trap of people are waiting for something to happen, rather than realizing they have the power to make something happen,” he says. “And so what I hope to see out of the documentary is that people begin talking about these kinds of issues and what they can do.”
Davis says even though Eastern Kentucky has long been dependent on the coal industry, most of the people he’s spoken to realize the fossil fuel won’t have as significant a role in the region’s future.
Appalachia 2050 will play tomorrow at 7pm at the Clifton Center. There’s a $5 suggested donation, and proceeds benefit Kentuckians for the Commonwealth.