Preserved 16mm color home movies shot in the 1950s by Bell County coal camp doctor John Parrott will be premiered by Appalshop as part of the 2016 Seedtime On The Cumberland Festival in Whitesburg.
Parrott’s films document a range of local events including a family field day and kids’ costume contest, a cheerleading squad at a high school football game, a small-town circus parade, a tobacco farmer harvesting leaves and a church group attending a river baptism. The films were preserved with support from the National Film Preservation Foundation and numerous donors. A score written by Robert Andrew Scott will be performed live by the composer.
Bell County Historical Society and Museum Executive Director William S. Tribell will participate in a post-screening discussion.
“Bell County has been working with Appalshop for many years on film preservation projects,” said Tribell. “We are all very pleased to see Dr. Parrott’s films preserved and archived, and being shared with an audience in this manor. I always enjoy visiting Appalshop, but to be a part of this screening and discussion is an honor, and of course I look forward to all future collaborations.”
Bell County historian Tim Cornett first approached Appalshop with 16mm film shot in the 1930s and 40s by Dr. J.H. Hendron in 2005. Appalshop become custodian, with an eye toward preserving the 20 or so hours of film. Cornett then raised the money to begin preservation. The 1938-39 Kentucky Mountain Laurel Festival footage was first to be preserved and once finished the film was shown at the Bell Theater in Pineville. Cornett was thinking that would generate donations to preserve the rest of the footage, but he says that it kind of backfired in a way, instead of money, people began bringing more film.
“We wound up with film from Edith Asher and from the family of Dr. J.S. Parrott as well as others,” said Cornett. “Bell County has been fortunate to partner with Appalshop to preserve some of the film taken in days gone by. It is really interesting to note that so much 16mm film was taken during the 1930s and 40s and then again in the 1960s. We are just now beginning to discover several caches of 8mm film from the 1960s as well, and we are negotiating with the families who own them and Appalshop.”
The public is invited to this special screening of Dr. Parrott’s Bell County films at the Appalshop Theater, located at 91 Madison Avenue in Whitesburg, at 2 p.m. on June 4.
For more information on this event or on Appalshop and the 2016 Seedtime on the Cumberland Festival, contact Appalshop at 606-633-0108 or find them online at seedtimefestival.org or [email protected]