Sharing the 29th Annual Summer Documentary Institute!

 AMI at the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 

AMI at the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 

The Appalachian Media Institute (AMI), Appalshop’s award-winning youth media program, is proud to share the powerful work of our 2017 cohort of Summer Documentary Institute interns. 

Each summer for the past 29 years, the Summer Documentary Institute (SDI) has invited central Appalachian youth aged 14-22 to engage in place-based education, documentary media-making and creative youth development at Appalshop. The SDI provides a nurturing environment for youth people to explore the ways media production skills can be used to ask, and begin to answer, critical questions about themselves and their communities. 

Throughout June & July, our 2017 youth interns and peer trainers participated in daily workshops in the Boone building– Appalshop’s digital classroom and youth space. During this time we participated in our second annual partnership with Carnegie Museum of Art, which provided us with the opportunity to travel to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to learn about the city’s various models of community-based arts with the museum as their classroom. 

The 2017 Institute provided our youth interns with the opportunity to engage deeply in the assets and possibilities contained within their home region, through workshops with local partners and community-based film assignments that highlighted regional arts and culture. 

You can view the final productions of our 2017 Summer Documentary Institute below:

An Elaborate Dream is a documentary by Lauren Rose, Jaydon Tolliver, Benjamin-Whaley Jones and Shaylan Clark that tells the story of the impacts of black lung disease on coal miners in eastern Kentucky. During recent months, lawmakers have tried to block funding for black lung treatments and benefits. This film hopes to bring awareness to a disease that has went unnoticed on a national scale. Viewers will experience the challenges that victims and their families face, along with insights from professionals in the field.

Jaydon Tolliver, a 2016 & 2017 SDI intern reflected on his piece Dying Breed: 

Black Lung is a very unspoken issue on a national level. Growing up in a coal family, I seen the issue first hand with my grandpa and his brothers. Three of the filmmakers on my crew have family impacted by black lung, and have watched them struggle trying to fight for their benefits. We made this film to bring awareness to this problem, and hope to expand the reaches of this documentary to show that there is a problem that isn’t being handled. 

An Elaborate Dream is a documentary by Kirstin Baum and Dusty Kiser that focuses on the life of Oakley Fugate. Fugate is a filmmaker who grew up in Eastern Kentucky and is dedicated to making movies in his home region. With a diversity of styles from his slasher movies to documentaries on school issues in the Appalachian community, Fugate is someone doing what he loves– inspiring and inviting others to do the same.

It Goes Unspoken is a documentary by Hannah Adams and Skylar Griffith that illuminates the role that Appalachian women play as the backbones of their communities. They carry households on their shoulders, provide life and shelter, all while attempting to live up to high expectations of who they are expected to be. This film sheds light on the unseen labor women perform every day and their demand for recognition.

The 2017 Summer Documentary Institute was made possible through the generous support of our partners at PhotoWings, Carnegie Museum of Art, Appalshop’s Production & Education Fund and The Alliance for Media Arts and Culture.

We’re also proud to share exciting recent press featuring alumnus of our Summer Documentary Institute:

Shaylan Clark (co-producer of Dying Breed, 2017) was interviewed in this important Washington Post piece: African Americans in Appalachia Fight to be Seen as Part of Coal Country.

Dusty Kiser, (co-producer of An Elaborate Dream, 2017) was featured in this SWVA Today article about his experience at AMI: Dusty the Documentarian

Dustin Hall (co-producer of The Lonely Thing, 2015) was featured on this video series by the New York Times: What Does America Stand For? 

Lauren Rose (co-producer of Dying Breed, 2017) was featured in this New York Times article: Reflections on Summer Jobs 

Lastly, our 2016 Summer Documentary Institute films were featured in the Oxford American with new interviews produced by filmmaker Jordan Freeman, thanks to the support of the Economic Hardship Reporting Project.

To support the Summer Documentary Institute or to donate to our weekly youth drop-in center, please click here.