Hello Hollow!http://www.submarinechannel.com/wp-content/plugins/slideshow-gallery/vendors/timthumb.php?src=wp-content/uploads/slideshow-gallery/feature pic.jpg&w=768&h=432&q=100&a=t
Oh hello! Now here’s a formidable documentary about a subject that I - as a European - never heard of before and even have little to do with: the massive brain drain of small-town America. But it touched my heart, so here it goes: how did documentary maker Elaine McMillion pull it off?
Hollowing out the Middlehttp://www.submarinechannel.com/wp-content/plugins/slideshow-gallery/vendors/timthumb.php?src=wp-content/uploads/slideshow-gallery/Elaine_McMillion1.jpg&w=768&h=432&q=100&a=t
When Elaine (in the picture) read the book ‘Hollowing out the Middle’ by Patrick Carr, she recognized she was one of the many young people fleeing from their rural homes Carr talks about. “I really related to the town and people the book represented. I got in touch with the author...”
Great care for detailshttp://www.submarinechannel.com/wp-content/plugins/slideshow-gallery/vendors/timthumb.php?src=wp-content/uploads/slideshow-gallery/infographic.jpg&w=768&h=432&q=100&a=t
Her documentary about the people of McDowell County became this massive project, in which you can spend three days wandering around. Despite its huge quantity of footage, the navigation is a relaxed experience, without information overload but with great care for details. Take for example the beautiful infographics.
Very crowd sourcedhttp://www.submarinechannel.com/wp-content/plugins/slideshow-gallery/vendors/timthumb.php?src=wp-content/uploads/slideshow-gallery/crowd sourced.jpg&w=768&h=432&q=100&a=t
Hollow is crowd sourced on three different levels: it’s crowd funded via Kickstarter and the viewer can also add to the stories with photos, ideas and data. But most important, a big part of its footage is crowd sourced by the portrayed inhabitants themselves, after Elaine trained them.
“It started with mural artist Tom Acosta”http://www.submarinechannel.com/wp-content/plugins/slideshow-gallery/vendors/timthumb.php?src=wp-content/uploads/slideshow-gallery/Tom Acosta.jpg&w=768&h=432&q=100&a=t
Elaine tells how she found so many participants. “Every person I met gave me 5-10 names of other people to talk to. By the end of the summer, I had interviewed around 75 individuals and trained 20 residents on how to shoot video...”
Drug addicts vs. hardworkinghttp://www.submarinechannel.com/wp-content/plugins/slideshow-gallery/vendors/timthumb.php?src=wp-content/uploads/slideshow-gallery/negative-hopeful.jpg&w=768&h=432&q=100&a=t
She also provided story telling workshops. “During that time residents helped guide us to stories and people. Very telling is this image from the workshop where they listed the way they are typically represented [by the American media] and the way they see themselves: drug addicts vs. hardworking.”
McDowell County in West Virginia a gorgeous place. It’s hard to imagine that it’s so plagued. Fortunately, what characterizes the people in Hollow is that they’re amazingly enterprising. Not only are they deeply connected to this land, but also to each other. They stand out for each other and unite into caring facilities.
In Hollow, high schooler Josh Clevenger believes that his peers should get out of this place, chase their dreams and come back to feed the place with their talents and skills. Builder Penni Padgett did just that with a job she’d done for free: building homes.
The mineshttp://www.submarinechannel.com/wp-content/plugins/slideshow-gallery/vendors/timthumb.php?src=wp-content/uploads/slideshow-gallery/the mines.jpg&w=768&h=432&q=100&a=t
Despite a lot of the mines have closed down, there are still some in operation. In one of the most fascinating videos you get to go down in the mines together with the workers. A rather eerie experience...
“We built back some pride that has been lost in these communities. Hollow allows the people of McDowell County a chance to re-envision their future and the role they will play as our nation becomes more urbanized.”
'Hollow', or how crowd-sourced storytelling celebrates local change
Documentary maker Elaine McMillion made a splendid interactive documentary about the brain drain of McDowell County, West Virginia and how its people deal with this and other hardships. Thanks to a Kickstarter campaign and the Tribeca Film Institute’s New Media Fund , she helped locals to tell their own story in ‘Hollow’. Take a look and take your time, because it’s a long ride.