App State professor recognized for Best Southern States documentary

App State professor recognized for Best Southern States documentary
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By Meghan McCandless from Appalachian Today. January 31, 2019. BOONE, NC — “Sound and Sole,” a short film by assistant professor Cara Hagan, has won Best Southern States documentary at the Southern States Indie Fan Film Fest held in Biloxi, Mississippi. Hagan, who teaches in Appalachian State University’s Department of Theatre and Dance, spent nearly 18 months creating the piece on local clogger and buck dancer Arthur Grimes.

COVER IMAGE: Cara Hagan, assistant professor of dance studies in Appalachian’s Department of Theatre and Dance, far left, with clogger and buck dancer Arthur Grimes, center, and AppTV General Manager Robert Gelber at the Boone Film Festival in November 2018. Photo submitted

“‘Sound and Sole’ features a man of color practicing a nonconcert dance form born of a colloquial nature, and the music is by local resident Trajan Wellington,” she said. “It shines a light on the rich African-American culture here in Appalachia.”

Arthur doesn’t text, so when we needed him I’d give him a call or go downtown and start looking.

“Sound and Sole” is Hagan’s third documentary, and one that took quite a bit of planning, she said. In addition to coordinating logistics with her Appalachian film crew — AppTV General Manager Robert Gelber, Tom Hansell, associate professor in the university’s Appalachian studies program and co-director of University Documentary Film Services, and alumnae Susanna Kornegay ’18 and Molly Clay ’15 — she often had to physically locate Grimes.

“Arthur doesn’t text, so when we needed him, I’d give him a call or go downtown and start looking,” she said. “He owns his own moving business as well, so we needed to work around his schedule.”

Hagan also crowdfunded the film, raising enough to cover costs through an Indiegogo campaign during spring 2018.

After almost 18 months of preparation and hard work, the film premiered at the Boone Film Festival in November 2018.

Hagan said Grimes, who attended the documentary’s premiere at the Boone Film Festival, was pleased with the final product.

Hagan is the founder of the American Dance Festival’s Movies by Movers film festival, a biannual event that, according to the festival’s website, celebrates the “collaboration between the ephemeral art of live movement and the perpetual nature of film.” As curator of the program, she screens all submissions, allowing her to mark recent trends in American dance film projects.

She said the experience encourages her to share work that’s not typically seen on the dance film circuit.

Overall, Hagan has submitted “Sound and Sole” to more than 40 festivals around the country and has been accepted to five, including the most recent event in Biloxi.

“I’m excited to have this opportunity — to show the beauty that exists in Appalachia in different ways. I’m thrilled that we were able to bring the film to a festival and have our hard work recognized,” she said.

About The Author

As Editor and Publisher of Blowing Rock News, David Rogers has chosen a second professional career instead of retirement. For more than 35 years, he served in the financial services industry, principally in institutional equity research. He grew up in the oilfields north of Bakersfield, California and was a high school English major and honors student. From an economically disadvantaged family background, he worked his way through college (on grounds crew and in dining hall, as well as advertising sales for college newspapers), attending Johnston College at the University of Redlands, Claremont McKenna College, and California State University, Bakersfield. Other jobs to pay for college included a Teamsters Union job in South Central Los Angeles, a roustabout in the central California oilfields, and moving sprinkler pipe and hoeing weeds in the cotton fields west of Bakersfield. Rogers' financial services industry career took him from Bakersfield to La Jolla and San Diego, then to Chicago, New York City, San Francisco, Newport Beach and Charlotte before arriving in the High Country in 2000 to take a volunteer position coaching the rugby team at Appalachian State University and write independent stock market research. He spent three years as a senior financial writer for a global financial PR firm with offices in Los Angeles, New York, Shanghai, Beijing, Tel Aviv, and Frankfort (Germany). Rogers is the author of "The 90% Solution: Higher Returns, Less Risk" (2006, John Wiley & Co., New York). He is married to wife Kim (Jenkins Realtors), and shares in the joy provided by her three grown children and five grandchildren.

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