about the film

some stories just have to be told.

How did this idea originate?

On August 6, 2019, Josh Mancuso and Ketch Secor met for a cup of coffee in Nashville, Tennessee. One thing that emerged from that meeting was the idea for this film, based on the realization that the story of black Appalachians has largely been overlooked and untold. Soon thereafter, the idea was shared with Adam Dickson and those involved at The Langston Centre in Johnson City, Tennessee, as well as some in the African-American communities of Southwest Virginia. One year later we received a grant from the 400 Years of African-American History Commission, and our journey had officially begun. In 2021, we added Frederick Murphy as a Co-Director, and we secured additional funding from the 400 Commission, as well as East Tennessee State University.

 

What can viewers expect from the story?

Our film will take you to the essence of Appalachia where you will hear the stories of those who have been often forgotten, as well as those who have achieved great success despite being a minority in one of the most unique places in America. This journey will uncover that Appalachia is not as "White" as outsiders might think. Rather, you will experience a region that is full of voices from those of African descent contributing to the culture of Appalachia through music, politics, education, athletics, leadership, economic development, history, business, culinary arts, and plain ol' blue-collar grit. We desire for you to see it all; the virtue, challenges, resilience, and presence. As their story unfolds from the 19th century till today, you'll laugh, cry, and applaud these torchbearers who continue to honor the legacies of those before them, while trailblazing new narratives for future generations. 

When will the film be finished?

We expect to release the film in February, 2022, as a celebration of Black History Month. 

What is the intended use/distribution of the film?

Like all filmmakers, we want our work to be seen by as many people as possible. First, because it's a vitally important story for our country to know. Second, because we're artists and we believe in what we create. We'd love to see the film in theaters, and on Netflix or other streaming service. We will allocate effort and resources to making that happen. Additionally, we'd like the film to be made available to school systems, universities, public libraries, museums, and other organizations that can leverage it for educational purposes. Upon the film's completion, our first objective will be screening our movie at major film festivals, as well as public/private screenings in various communities. Our team is donating 50% of any profits to black cultural institutions in Appalachia. 

 

How can people help?

Do you know someone who is interested in this story? Somebody we should interview? A person who can help us with distribution? Let us know! For some other ways to help, Click here.