When an industry is brought to its knees in small town America, what happens?
BOONE is a feature length documentary that focuses on a county in southern West Virginia, its residents and the struggle they are currently facing both financially and personally. It is a first hand look at what happens to a town when it is drug to the bottom and left for dead by the rest of the country.
Boone County was once a flourishing coal town that was rich in culture and industry. Now, due to the collapse of the coal industry, Boone tops the nation in unemployment, economic status and prescription drug abuse. This has left many of its residents wondering what the future will bring or if there is a future left at all. In some ways, Boone has lost its reason for being.
In April of 2016 I made a short proof of concept video, showcasing various statistics about the town that included things like: unemployment rates, suicide rates, poverty rate and the drug over dose rate. Shockingly Boone led the nation in many of these categories. I made the video public on Facebook and the next morning I woke up to an overwhelming response rate.
The video had received over 20,000 views and over 1,000 shares in the matter of 12 hours. People from around the state shared the video, asking friends and family to take a look at this heartbreaking tale of a county that once thrived.
The proof of concept is below:
Due to the wild success of this small video, I decided to do more research on the subject. I focuses on three main pillars in my research: the coal industry, the Great Depression happening in Boone County and the increasing drug epidemic in the small county. For nearly 5 months I researched these points and my world was flipped upside down by some of the staggering stats I managed to come across.
After talking to a few residents of the town and the success the proof of concept video had, I thought it was my duty as a filmmaker to make a longer piece on the subject. And so I began my journey into making my first feature length documentary entitled “BOONE.”
In December of 2016 I began with a fundraising campaign, looking for $10,000 to make the documentary happen. I turned my sights to Indiegogoand began a crowdfunding campaign. Though we did not reach our $10,000 goal, we did manage to raise nearly $7,800 on the site alone. However, with outside contributions to the project we were able to get even closer to our goal and eventually raised $9,100.
We were able to give away great perks to those who contributed to the project! Some of the perks included posters, stickers, copies of the film and even a t-shirt.
The project is currently in the pre-production stages and we plan of starting production in early April of 2017.