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WVU journalism alumna to screen interactive documentary during Mountaineer Week

Elaine McMillion (BSJ, 2009)Award-winning documentary filmmaker and West Virginia University P.I. Reed School of Journalism alumna Elaine McMillion (BSJ, 2009) will screen “Hollow: An Interactive Documentary,” during this year’s Mountaineer Week. The screening will take place at 7 p.m. on Nov. 7 in 205 Martin Hall.

The film focuses on McDowell County, W.Va., which was once known for its bustling coal industry and is now an economically depressed area struggling to maintain its identity.

McMillion, who is a native of southern West Virginia, wanted to capture the unique stories of the people in this area and finds particular significance in showing her film at WVU.

“For me, this screening is important not only because I’m an alumna but also because the film aligns with WVU’s land-grant mission to serve the people of the state,” she said. ”’Hollow’ is about helping to amplify a West Virginia community’s voice.”

McMillion stressed that WVU has the power to make a great impact on the state’s small communities and said showing the film to the WVU community will help others better understand the daily struggles people face in West Virginia’s small towns.

Described as “next level” storytelling by The Huffington Post, “Hollow” combines video portraits of area residents, photography, soundscapes, interactive data and grassroots mapping to share the stories of McDowell County. The web-based narrative allows viewers to chart their own unique path through the film to create a personalized, interactive experience.

Included on McMillion’s team are fellow SOJ alumnae Tricia Fulks (BSJ, 2009) and Megan Bowers (BSJ, 2009). Fulks served as a copywriter and researcher for the project, and Bowers worked as a story editor. In addition to tackling a new form of storytelling, they also discovered an innovative way to raise money for travel, equipment and other expenses by listing the project on the crowdfunding website KickStarter. They raised more than $28,000 in one month.

“Hollow” also received funding through two prestigious grants. In August 2012, the project was one of only six projects awarded a New Media grant from Tribeca Film Institute in partnership with the Ford Foundation, earning $65,000. In November 2012, the project received a $20,000 grant from the West Virginia Humanities Council.

The project is supported by Documentary Educational Resources and the West Virginia Filmmakers Guild. “Hollow” has screened at festivals across the country, including the New York Film Festival, and will be featured at the International Documentary Film Festival in Amsterdam in November 2013.

“Hollow” was released in May 2013 and can be viewed at Join the conversation on Twitter at #hollerhome.

Mountaineer Week is WVU’s annual celebration of West Virginia heritage and culture. It takes place on Nov. 1-10. For a complete schedule of events, visit:

View the official release at WVU Today.