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Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival


Directed by Sally Rubin, Ashley York

Opening Night Gala, Southern Stories / USA / 2018 / 85 mins / English / Arkansas Premiere

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The Arlington, Cinema 1
October 19, 2018 7:00 pm Buy Tickets


Hillbilly takes a political, philosophical, and personal journey into the heart of the Appalachian region to illuminate the point of view of a misunderstood population that is frequently mocked and blamed for America’s social ills—not to mention was a driving influence in the 2016 Presidential election that has widened the cultural divide in America.

This eye-opening film deconstructs the “hillbilly” stereotype and analyzes the media’s imagery and negative portrayals that have perpetuated a misconception of the rural Appalachian identity. The film counters this stereotype by highlighting some of the positive celebrity role models, including Dolly Parton and Loretta Lynn, and interviewing some of the real people who call the Appalachian region home: an unexpectedly diverse group that includes artists, activists, intersectional feminists, queer musicians, and “Affrilachian” poets. Some of them reveal how they are torn between their love for their land and the frustrating reality of the polarizing politics.

In the weeks leading up to the 2016 Election, director Ashley York, a liberal feminist living in L.A., takes a trip back to her hometown in Eastern Kentucky and confronts her own family’s opposing political beliefs. Her approach sets an example of civility when discussing and understanding different political viewpoints and cultural identities.

Hillbilly sets the tone of this year’s Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival as it reflects the complexities and complications of our collective human experience.


Directors: Sally Rubin, Ashley York
Producers: Sally Rubin, Ashley York
Cinematographer: Bryan Donnell
Editors: Melanie Vi Levy, Stacy Goldate

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Dates & Times


The Arlington, Cinema 1
October 19, 2018 7:00 pm Buy Tickets