On Tuesday, U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) hosted more than 250 guests in the United State Capitol Building for a special viewing of the award-winning “Hollow” documentary with filmmaker Elaine McMillion Sheldon.
The film, which has been nominated for a 2014 Emmy Award and was awarded a 2013 Peabody Award, is an interactive documentary that features the stories of individuals living in McDowell County. It merges cinematic techniques with web-based storytelling to encourage a dialogue about the issues that small-town America faces.
“It was a pleasure to have Elaine, her team, and the residents of McDowell County in Washington to view this remarkable film, and I am so thankful for the opportunity to have this important discussion in our nation’s capital,” Senator Manchin said. “McDowell County is a special place, and its story resonates with many counties and small towns across America. It is past time that we broaden this discussion to a national level and determine how to rebuild and revitalize these communities, which have helped build America and are without a doubt the heart of this great country. Again, I extend a big thank you to all those who participated in the discussion and also to those who traveled from West Virginia to provide the fantastic food and beverages.”
In addition to the viewing of “Hollow,” the event featured West Virginia food and beverages and included a discussion with McDowell County residents. Guests included Mayor of Welch, Reba Honaker, McDowell County Commissioner, Harold McBride and President of the Tug River Health Association, Tim Crofton.
In addition, more than a dozen McDowell County residents traveled to the occasion, and more than one hundred West Virginians attended.
The Dean of the West Virginia University Libraries, Dr. Jon Cawthorne, also attended the event and announced a long-term agreement between West Virginia University and Elaine McMillion Sheldon, giving the WVU Libraries perpetual licensing rights to the documentary. In order to encourage students and professors to use the film’s material for research, historical and educational purposes, the University will house the film and will make it available to view on the web.