Mayor Scott Jackson and Judge Executive Chuck Caudill presented Gleckman with a handmade wood-art piece symbolizing the key of the city. “It is not often we have an outsider come to our community and create something positive.” said Mayor Scott Jackson.
The Hills I Call Home is a documentary feature film directed, edited, filmed, and co-scored by Ashton Gleckman - known for his award-winning Holocaust documentary, We Shall Not Die Now. The Hills I Call Home takes viewers inside the town of Beattyville Kentucky. Despite being one of America’s most economically distressed towns, the film shows how Beattyville is home to an empowered, diverse, and resilient population.
Gleckman and his crew, spent weeks camped out in Beattyville interviewing residents, members of the local government, and traveling the region speaking with scholars of Appalachian studies.
“It was important to me to make sure we bring the film back here and show it all of you.” Gleckman told the small gathering. “I had over 30 hours of footage to work down into one hour. There are so many uplifting personal stories that it could have made several more films.”
The Hills I Call Home, with its breathtaking visual allure and emotionally moving musical score, explored Beattyville’s unique culture, community, and values through the use of personal interviews.
Individuals interviewed for the film included: Scott Jackson, Chuck Caudill, Tyler Chrisman, Sam Thompson Jr, Rochelle Thomson, Avis Thompson, Sam Thompson Sr, Ewan Thompson, Bob Smith, Troy Davidson, Jameka Shuler, Keith Gabbard, Ray Crabtree, Vickie Crabtree, Teresa Mays, Donnie Benton, Archie Moore, Joshua Sniezek, Jeff Hobbs Jr, Karisa Phillips, Jessie Acosta, Sarah Barney, Taylor Drake, Steve Mays, Sarah Wasson, Bradley Johnson, Roy Tackett, Dedra Brandenburg, Patricia Cole, and Ben Andrews.
At the end of the film, Chuck Caudill thanked Ashton for the film. “He didn’t come in with any preconceived notion or a point that he felt needed to be proven. That open mindedness allowed him to really capture the local people’s perspectives about living here and convey that in the film. Whereas many news agencies come here to create articles that fit their pre-planned narratives, a concept I recently learned described as ‘poverty porn’”.
In January, the film was accepted into the Bayou Film Festival in Louisiana and in February it will be shown at the Beaufort International Film Festival in South Carolina as a finalist. Recently it was announced by Gleckman, that they had secured international distribution with Gravitas Ventures, an independent film distributor company, who will release the film worldwide on March 23rd. It will be available on iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, Fandango and other streaming platforms.
“Everyone here was so nice and supportive. Beattyville feels like my second home and I look forward to coming back and visiting.” Gleckman said.
Refreshments were served by the Beattyville/Lee County Tourism Commission, Downtown Beattyville Alliance, and the City of Beattyville. Enlarged prints of landscape scenes around Beattyville/Lee County were on easel displays in the entrance of the auditorium. The drone arial images on display were by No Buzz Productions.