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“A Mask on the Mountains”: Young filmmakers make a documentary during the pandemic

Published: Jul. 29, 2020 at 6:42 PM EDT
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WHITESBURG, Ky. (WYMT) - Appalachian Media Institute holds a Summer Documentary Institute every year, teaching students 17-21 about filmmaking while highlighting the area of Appalachia. AMI is a product of Appalshop. More than 50 years ago the youngest filmmakers started Appalshop with a vision.

“If you give young people professional equipment and pay them so that they can take a professional amount of time to make a story you end up with a professional quality story,” said Instructor Benny Becker.

Creating stories from the region by those from the Mountains.

“Helping us understand a whole of what’s going on and trying times why there is so much information happening and it can be hard to connect the realities of what is happening in real communities like ours,” said Becker.

Despite the coronavirus pandemic, the course went on as planned just with adjustments.

“Producing media, in general, is a big challenge and a big task but doing it remotely and during a pandemic and having all these extra barriers, it made a lot more challenging,” said Hannah Adams.

Topics in the documentary vary.

“My story focuses on the foster care system and how it has changed,” said Adams

“College students switching to online classes instead of in-person classes,” said Nikole Lee.

“I talk about all the cancellations with like big events and festivals in Eastern Kentucky,” said Alyssa Helton.

“How racism and prejudice in healthcare is affecting black and brown folks living in a pandemic right now,” said Abby Enfusse.

As young adults learn more about their home and forced to face tough situations at a young age.

“It’s either worrying about getting the virus and going to school or letting your education far behind and staying home,” said Enfusse.

“It’s scary knowing that I’m going to be entering the workforce more than likely during the pandemic. I graduate in December,” said Adams.

The documentary “A Mask on the Mountains” will premiere on radio station WMMT Thursday Night at 6 p.m.

Copyright 2020 WYMT. All rights reserved.

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