7/27/23: Virtual Talks with Video Activists: “East Kentucky Flood”

Screening and discussion the documentary "East Kentucky Flood," with filmmakers Joel Cohen, Dee Davis, and Mimi Pickering.

On July 27, 2022, a massive flood swept through 14 counties in East Kentucky. The flood killed 45 people, and displaced thousands more. A year later, the affected communities remain on a long road to recovery. Join us for a screening of East Kentucky Flood with filmmakers Joel Cohen, Dee Davis, and Mimi Pickering.

Full replay of the July 27 event.

About East Kentucky Flood

East Kentucky Flood is a half-hour documentary that explores the repercussions of the flood, and those affected by it. It also sheds a light on what remains to be done for the area to recover from the devastating flood.

The area the flood hit is one of the most rural in the country, adding further challenges to rebuilding the community. The documentary was produced by the Center for Rural Strategies, and reveals moments of selflessness in the face of tragedy.

One of the most devastating results of the flood was the near-complete destruction of the Isom, Kentucky IGA. This grocery store was one of the only places to purchase groceries for miles, and after 8 months of planning and collaborating, has finally reopened. Read more about the flood and the film at The Daily Yonder: https://dailyyonder.com/east-kentucky-flood/

An excerpt from East Kentucky Flood

About the Filmmakers

Joel Cohen has earned numerous awards and critical acclaim over his almost 25 years as a video maker. He was the co-creator and formally the co-executive producer of the five-time Emmy-award–winning series Check, Please!, a restaurant-review show featuring “citizen-reviewers” which is the highest-rated local program on WTTW (PBS), Chicago. He has produced, directed and edited numerous documentaries for local and national distribution. Joel started his television career as a writer at SportsVision in Chicago in 1983. For five years he was on staff at WTTW, where he produced a variety of programs and had a hand in the production of three programs that won local Emmys, including one for the documentary, Vietnam: A Chicagoan Goes Home. He left WTTW to produce 52 one-hour episodes of The 90’s, a groundbreaking, critically acclaimed reality magazine series broadcast nationally by PBS. The three-year run of The 90’s culminated in three election specials that chronicled Bill Clinton’s rise to office. Cohen has produced reality-based programming and documentaries for PBS, UPN, WGN, Tribune Broadcasting, WTTW and WYCC, among others. During this time he also produced and directed corporate videos for companies including ORACLE, IKEA, Kellogg’s and Motorola. 

Dee Davis is president of the Center for Rural Strategies. Dee has helped design and lead national public information campaigns on topics as diverse as commercial television programming and federal banking policy. Dee began his media career in 1973 as a trainee at Appalshop, an arts and cultural center devoted to exploring Appalachian life and social issues in Whitesburg, Kentucky. As Appalshop’s executive producer, the organization created more than 50 public TV documentaries, established a media training program for Appalachian youth, and launched initiatives that use media as a strategic tool in organization and development. He is the chair of the Rural Assembly steering committee; a member of the Rural Advisory Committee of the Local Initiatives Support Corporation, Fund for Innovative Television, and Feral Arts of Brisbane, Australia. He is also a member of the Institute for Rural Journalism’s national advisory board. He is a member of the Board of Directors for the Institute for Work and the Economy. Dee is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences commission on the Practice of Democratic Citizenship. Dee is also the former Chair of the board of directors of Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation. Dee received an English degree from the University of Kentucky. He lives in Whitesburg, Kentucky.

Mimi Pickering has been making films and videotapes with Appalshop since 1971. Her documentaries often feature women as principal storytellers, focus on injustice and inequity, and explore the efforts of grassroots people to deal with community problems and work for change. A native of California who attended Antioch College, Pickering had her first media experience as an intern in Charleston, WV, working for the West Virginia Black Lung Association, a group of disabled coal miners and their families who were fighting for just compensation for their black lung disease and to reform the United Mine Workers Union. While in West Virginia, she began work with Appalshop on a film production that became her first 16mm film, The Struggle of Coon Branch Mountain. In 1972 Pickering relocated to eastern Kentucky to continue her film training and media production at Appalshop, but she has continued her interest in West Virginia subjects throughout her career. Pickering’s award-winning documentaries include The Buffalo Creek Flood: An Act of Man (1975), which was one of 25 “culturally, historically, or aesthetically” significant motion pictures named by the Librarian of Congress to the National Film Registry in 2005. Described by Newsweek as “a powerful piece of muckraking on film,” the documentary was a Silver Plaque winner at the Chicago International Film Festival.

This event is free to attend. Media Burn is a 501(c)3 nonprofit, and we depend on donations to continue our work. Please consider making a donation along with your ticket signup, or at https://mediaburn.org/donate, or by texting MEDIABURN to 44321



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