Almost three years after filming began in Ashe County, North Carolina, the award-winning movie “The Mountain Minor” will make its national television debut on The Heartland Network on Saturday, June 6, at 8:00 p.m. Eastern time. The film will also stream that night at 8:00 p.m. on Heartland’s free Roku channel and www.watchheartlandtv.com.
Loosely based on the true story of writer-director Dale Farmer’s ancestors, “The Mountain Minor” follows five generations of an Appalachian family as they migrate from Eastern Kentucky to Ohio, dramatizing the spread of mountain music throughout the United States. Much of the filming was done at the Willett Ponds Pioneer Homestead in Todd.
“This film is about people leaving their homes and bringing their music and culture with them,” said Farmer, who lives in Southern Ohio. “They deserve so much credit for the music that eventually became country and bluegrass.”
“This film captures beautifully how the country music genre was born,” said Joel Wertman, president of The Heartland Network. “We are honored to bring this poignant American story to audiences across the country.”
Farmer, an old-time musician himself, was determined to portray the characters and Appalachian culture as authentically as possible, including the music. So much so, that when casting the film, he used real, old-time musicians instead of actors.
“I thought it would be easier to teach musicians how to act, than to teach actors how to play mountain music,” Farmer explained. “I did not want them to lip-sync or play to pre-recorded tracks, the way musical scenes are usually shot. Every musical performance in the film was shot ‘live,’ rough edges and all. I wanted everything to look and sound real.”
Produced by former Boone resident and musician Susan Pepper, ”The Mounain Minor” features several regional actors and musicians. The cast includes Smithsonian Folkways recording artist Elizabeth LaPrelle, The Tillers, Dan Gellert, Ma Crow, Trevor McKenzie, Lucas Pasley, Hazel Pasley, Asa Nelson, Warren Waldron, Judy Waldron, Aaron Wolfe, Jean Dowell and Pepper.
“The Mountain Minor” was honored with “The Spirit of the Mountains” Award at the UPIKE Film and Media Arts Festival. Additional awards include Best Drama at the Longleaf Festival at the North Carolina History Museum and the Franklin International Film Festival (Tennessee), Best Feature at The Northeast Mountain Festival (Georgia), and Best of Festival at The Endless Mountain Film Festival (Pennsylvania) and The Jukebox International Film Festival (Nevada).
In addition to the television premiere on Heartland, encore presentations are scheduled for Monday, June 15, at 7:00 p.m., Sunday, June 21, at 4:00 p.m., and Saturday, June 27, at 10:00 p.m. (All times are Eastern/Pacific.)
Heartland, a country music-focused network, currently reaches more than 40 million TV homes in addition to thriving Roku® and livestream audiences. The network features programming comprised of syndicated and first-run shows along with digitally restored content pulled from the vaults of Music Row, creating a country music and lifestyle experience that brings delight to lovers of every generation and genre. The program lineup includes The Red Green Show, Reflections with host Keith Bilbrey, Positively Paula starring Paula Deen, More Than the Music, Morning Beats, Bluegrass Ridge, Music City Tonight, Texas Music Scene, Gaither Gospel Hour, and several popular video blocks. To learn more about Heartland and the network’s availability in your area, visit www.watchheartlandtv.com or www.facebook.com/watchheartlandtv.
You can see the movie’s promo on The Heartland Network here: https://vimeo.com/423251105
Information about the film is available at www.TheMountainMinorMovie.com.