About the Film
Portraits And Dreams revisits photographs created by Kentucky schoolchildren in the 1970s and the place where their photos were made. Photographer and artist Wendy Ewald, who guided the students in making their visionary photographs, returns to Kentucky and learns how the lives and visions of her former students have changed. The film combines the new narratives and insights of the now-adult students. A POV co-production with funding provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a private corporation funded by the American people.
Join WSKG for a free virtual screening of Portraits and Dreams. During the screening, join the chatbox conversation to featuring discussion questions and a conversation with special guest commentators.
This event will take place on Monday, September 21, 2020 at 7:00pm. Register online to reserve your spot.
Watch a preview of the film:
Engage with the Issues
POV believes in the power of film to engage communities in dialogue around the most pressing social issues of our time. Use the accompanying resources for Portraits and Dreams to learn about the issues and get involved:
Wendy Ewald (Director/Producer)
Wendy Ewald has collaborated in art projects with children, families, women and teachers around the world and in the United States for over fifty years. She has published 12 books and received many honors, including a MacArthur Fellowship. “Portraits and Dreams” was her first book published in 1985. It was called “an American masterpiece” by Booklist. The expanded and updated edition will be published in September 2020. Ewald created “Memories from the Past Centuries” for the exhibition “To the Rescue: Eight Artists in an Archive” shown at the International Center of Photography and other museums. In the archive of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, Ewald found case histories of children to be adopted after World War II. She worked with American students of the same age to create a two screen projection that inquired into their notion of history and ideas of what life was like for refugee children after the Holocaust. Her other production “On Reading” is an installation created for the Rhode Island Institute of Design Museum. The multi-screen installation focuses on the experience of elementary school children with learning disabilities and brings the viewer into their struggle to read. PORTRAITS AND DREAMS is Ewald’s first film project.
Elizabeth Barret (Director/Producer)
Elizabeth Barret has served in principal roles on approximately a dozen films and television programs. Born and raised in the east Kentucky coalfields, she joined Appalshop, Inc in 1973 as a first-generation filmmaker trainee. Her body of work is shaped by the history, culture, and social issues of Appalachia, centering the perspective of Appalachian people and paying particular attention to women’s histories and enduring folk traditions. Barret’s best known film is Stranger With a Camera, a self-reflexive documentary meditation on media representation and the consequences of image making. The film premiered at the 2000 Sundance Film Festival and was broadcast nationally on the PBS series P.O.V, as well as circulated at venues including MoMA (NY), Yerba Buena (SF) and the Guggenheim Museum (Bilbao). Barret is a recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship, and Kentucky Arts Council Al Smith Fellowship in Media Arts. Her work has been honored and presented at the Sundance Film Festival, American Film Festival, Margaret Mead Film Festival, and the Smithsonian Institution Festival of American Folklore, among others. In addition to her ongoing work as a community-based filmmaker, Barret serves as Director of the Appalshop Archive which safeguards and improves access to regional moving image collections, and engages the public and researchers with these unique materials.
Robert Salyer (Producer)
Robert Salyer is a documentary artist from the central Appalachian coalfields of southwest Virginia. Trained in media at Appalshop in Whitesburg, Kentucky and an Appalshop staff member from 1998 to 2014, Robert produced and edited SLUDGE, a documentary that examines a major Kentucky coal-waste spill and its effects on the environment and the community. Robert has worked as a resident artist at HBCU Kentucky State University, was a mentor for the NYU Tisch School/Appalshop Exchange and a workshop instructor for Appalshop’s youth media training program, Appalachian Media Institute. Robert’s work has been screened extensively in the U.S. and abroad, and has been included in such exhibitions such as MoMA’s Documentary Fortnight and the Film Festival Dokumenter in Jogjakarta, Indonesia, among others.
Recently, Robert was the associate producer for “Class of ‘27”, a documentary television program that aired nationally on PBS and was a recipient of a duPont-Columbia University Award in 2017. Robert resides in New York’s Hudson Valley and works as a consultant with American Documentary, Inc. and independently pursues documentary film projects.