Boone Docs switches spotlight to independent documentary films


Mickey Hutchings

The Appalachian Theatre on King Street. The theatre has been a historical landmark in Boone for decades.

Tucker Wulff, Reporter

Independent and documentary films will fill the spotlight in Boone Docs, a year-round film series presented by the Appalachian Theatre of the High Country, as early as Sept. 20. 

According to the Appalachian Theatre’s official announcement, the series is a “collaborative initiative to bring together film fans and community partners to create a High Country home for independent film.”

The Boone Docs series allows collaboration between the Appalachian Theatre and other partners to provide a variety of films to viewers and fans in and around Boone, said Laura Kratt, executive director of the Appalachian Theatre. 

“Presenting documentary is hard,” Kratt said. “It’s financially very challenging, and everybody needs help doing it, including us, so why not collaborate with other partners that want to do film?” 

According to the announcement, South Arts, a nonprofit regional arts organization based out of Atlanta, selected the Appalachian Theatre “as one of only 17 screening partner organizations in the southeast United States” to host this year’s Southern Circuit Tour of Independent Filmmakers.  

The partnership with South Arts was a “natural first step” for Boone Docs, Kratt said.

Poster for “Coded Bias.” The Appalachian Theatre will present documentary films in the year-round film series, Boone Docs, starting Sept. 20.  (Courtesy of the Appalachian Theatre)

The Appalachian Theatre will kick off the six film series with an online screening of “Coded Bias” on Sept. 20 free of charge. Each film in the lineup will feature post-screening content such as  Q&As, workshops and class visits.

Both online and in-person screenings will typically be paid ticket events, Kratt said, but thanks to community and campus partners, the Appalachian Theatre was able to make the first event of Boone Docs free for viewers. 

“Coded Bias,” which examines the biases in facial recognition software, will be available for viewing in a three hour window on the Appalachian Theatre website. After the film, there will be a pre-recorded conversation with the filmmaker available for virtual attendees. 

Kratt said the Appalachian Theatre is constantly looking for “underserved markets” and how it can better provide content in those areas. 

“We’re looking for unique artistic and cultural experiences that we can bring to this community,” Kratt said, “and we feel that focusing in on independent documentary film through the Boone Docs series is a great way to do that.”