Lexington Film Premiere Benefits Appalshop in Eastern Kentucky


LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) – A Friday night at the Kentucky Theater as a bustling crowd waits for popcorn and drinks before finding their seats.

“I had no idea this is where this would take us,” said Rebekha Mcauley.

Trainee director at the Appalachian Media Institute, Rebekha Mcauley created one of three films focusing on the Appalachian region for Appalshop. Films they thought were lost less than two months ago.

“Our original screening was actually scheduled for July 29. One day after the flood. So the movies were pretty much finished and edited, but the deluge passed and we thought we lost all the movies,” Jessica Shelton, director of the Appalachian Media Institute told Appalshop.

Weeks of work that AMI director Jessica Shelton thought no one would ever see.

“It’s now more important than ever, when you have a huge natural disaster, to hear the stories of the people who are actually experiencing it,” Shelton said.

“When the flood first happened, and I was able to get out of my house, you know, you couldn’t even drive on the roads, and I saw the Appalshop was under the “water, I was devastated. I spent my whole summer working on this movie. And we were in the blue, like we didn’t know anything,” Mcauley said.

But to the surprise of Mcauley and Shelton, a technical assistant from the company was able to save their work. And now films highlighting their own communities are premiering at the Kentucky Theater to raise money for Eastern Kentucky Flood Relief.

“So I guess it’s a small advantage, if you try to think positively. I’m so happy to be here. It’s a big deal for me,” Mcauley said.

Mcauley’s film focuses on health care and the inner workings.

Another student’s film shines a light on Appalachian gambling culture.

The third film is a compilation of interviews with people from the Appalachian region. You can learn more here.


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