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Sally Rubin

Sally Rubin

Sally Rubin (co-director) is a documentary filmmaker and editor who has worked in the field for more than 15 years. Her mother is from Calderwood, Tennessee, a hollow in the Smoky mountains. She grew up visiting Appalachia and has been spending time with family and friends in the region for many years. Sally recently completed Life on the Line, a documentary about a teenage girl living on the border of the US and Mexico -- a Fledgling Fund recipient that premiered in 2014 at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival and across the country on PBS.

Her previous film, Deep Down (co-directed by Jen Gilomen), was an ITVS, MacArthur, Chicken and Egg, and Fledgling-funded feature-length documentary about two friends in eastern Kentucky who find themselves divided over mountaintop removal coal mining near their homes. The film was part of the 2010-2011 Independent Lens Emmy-winning PBS series, and has reached almost 1.5 million people through its broadcast, distribution, and outreach campaign. It was nominated for an Emmy for its Virtual Mine outreach project, in the category of New Approaches to News and Documentary.

Sally's other credits include The Last Mountain, a film about her father's death in a hiking accident that was broadcast on PBS, Robert Greenwald's Iraq for Sale: the War Profiteers, (Editor), and the television series "The Freedom Files" (Editor), as well as David Sutherland's 6-hour Frontline special Country Boys, about two boys in Floyd County, Kentucky (Associate Producer), and "Riverwebs" (Editor), which broadcast nationally on PBS.

She recently completed a short that aired in conjunction with David Sutherland's Kind Hearted Woman on Frontline in 2013. In 2004, Sally founded the groundbreaking Straight Outta Grrrlville Film Festival in San Francisco, and continues to produce local events and benefits for artists and filmmakers, in conjunction with her own continued work.

Sally is also full-time documentary professor at Chapman University and a graduate of the M.A. program in Documentary at Stanford University.

About the film: …this film is for anyone who is a hillbilly or anyone who knows one…

Appalachia is as old as it is complex. Made up of Kentucky, Tennessee, West Virginia, North Carolina, and Virginia, as well as parts of Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Georgia, the region and its people are home to a mountain range and a history that make it an undeniably special - and even quintessentially "American" - place. Due to a century-and-a-half of reliance on coal as its core industry, one of its defining characteristics has been a "boom and bust" economy that has also made Appalachia a region of poverty and a frequent focus of national attention. From these mountains and circumstances have emerged a complicated, often problematic, and enduring American archetype: the hillbilly.

Hillbilly: Appalachia in film and television is a documentary film that examines the iconic hillbilly stereotype in film and television. The film explores more than a hundred years of media representation of mountain and rural people, reveals how the hillbilly icon reflects America's aspirational self-image over the decades, and offers an urgent exploration of how we see and think about poor, white, rural America.


Sponsored by the Appalachian Studies Program, the Department of Communication, Film Techniques & Technology, the Department of Anthropology, Sociology and Social Work, and the Honors Program.

Published on October 05, 2017

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