‘Dunn’ With Stereotypes: Local filmmaker focuses on other side of Appalachia

‘Dunn’ With Stereotypes: Local filmmaker focuses on other side of Appalachia

The Appalachian region is known for many things. Most of those things have created a stereotype for the area that has been hard to shake. One Pike County native hopes that the way to change the narrative is through the camera lens.

“Dad was experimenting with an old camcorder. We sat in a windowsill and started using our action figures to do a stop-motion project. At first I thought it was absolutely boring, but I saw the final product and once I saw that I was hooked.”

Brian Dunn often spends time looking back on his earliest memory of the true filmmaking process. Introduced to filmmaking in a time where stop-motion was all the rage, the young local has seen his fair share of improvements along the way.

“When I was younger we had VHS recording and equipment like that was kind of expensive. Now you have all of this stuff that’s readily available. You can do it much easier than you could back then with the advent of making everything digital,” said Dunn.

While the equipment and process has grown, so has Dunn’s respect and view of the Appalachian area. Dunn credits filmmaking around the area for opening his eyes to all that he may not have seen otherwise.

“This place is rich with a lot of culture that not a lot of people touch on. In my mind, when you hear ‘Appalachia’ you think of coal and things of that nature. But you look in the community and see that there are people here who have amazing stories that aren’t really told,” said Dunn.

Dunn spoke about some of the stories he was able to tell through filmmaking during his internship at Appalshop’s Appalachian Media Institute.

“This place is too rich in culture to not take in. It’s absolutely fantastic and I think people need to see that side of it,” said Dunn.

Appalachian filmmaking has spiked exponentially in recent years. Filmmakers from around the globe are realizing the beauty and wonder that hides within the Appalachian mountains. With growing companies like Appalshop and The Holler, the mountain ranges are quickly becoming tech-centered. With the power of new media comes the power of limitless possibilities.

“Going back to the Appalachian stereotype, people think it’s amazing that we know how to use computers and stuff like that. So, it’s great to see more people step up to the plate saying, ‘Anything you can do, we can do too,’” said Dunn. “It just makes me feel good that though we’re living in a region with such a stereotype, you see people working to say ‘Hey, look at what I’ve done.’ And it’s just as quality as the work of anyone else.”

Dunn spoke about some of the projects he’s worked on in the area, including a few pieces he worked on during his time at Appalachian Media Institute. While both the University of Pikeville and the Appalshop have given Dunn the opportunity to grow, he feels that going into filmmaking in the Appalachian area is now easier than ever.

“Appalachian filmmaking is going to continue to grow as tech grows. You have all of this stuff that’s readily available. More and more people that I grew up with are pursuing the media. I think the future is prosperous. I say go for it. You have an idea? Don’t let that sit in the pipe. You have the technology, you have the ability, and you have the means of taking your idea and making it a reality. You may make something that absolutely sucks, but keep doing it. Keep honing your skills.”

The UPike grad is currently working on some YouTube projects that focus on ghost stories from around the area. His work can be found on his Youtube channel.

Five Reasons Hilary Duff Deserves to be the Talk of Your Timeline

Five Reasons Hilary Duff Deserves to be the Talk of Your Timeline

A recent photo of Hilary Duff was the talk of the Internet last week. The picture shows Hilary in an outfit that accentuates her curves, which opened up thirst traps all over the web.

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While many sites are claiming that “we’ve been sleeping on Hilary Duff,” I’m here to nip that rumor in the bud. Because it’s pretty much indisputable to say that I’m rarely thinking of anything other than Hilary Duff.

From memes to Buzzed articles, Hilary is finally getting the attention she deserves. However, it’s all based on the fact that she has a great figure. (As a straight male who has been in love with Hilary since Casper met Wendy, I’m not denying that fact.) But there’s so much more to Hilary than that. (And every girl for that matter, but I’m currently fighting this battle.)

So, here are five reasons Hilary Duff deserves to be the talk of you timeline on a daily basis.

  1. She’s a great Mom.
    The multi-talented mom is pretty much great at everything, but since she seems to put motherhood first, so will this list. Luca is pretty much the coolest kid in the world and I’m 100% sure that he gets that from his mom who cares so much about him.Screen Shot 2017-06-12 at 4.01.28 PM
    She is constantly posting about this little guy, and has gotten candid about how much being a mother truly means to her.

    But her success as a mom also comes in the way she supports and uplifts other moms, even when she receives backlash for her mom moves.


  2. She is an incredible actress.
    Although a lot of people thought she wrapped her acting days years ago, Hilary has been in dozens of projects since her days as Lizzie McGuire. She has done guest spots on shows like Gossip Girl, Ghost Whisperer, Two and a Half Men, and Raising Hope. She has also been in little-known films like What Goes Up, According to Greta, and Stay Cool. Now, the Younger star has popped back into the acting scene in full-force, taking TV Land (and hearts) by storm as Kelsey Peters. This show that has been picked up for its next season before the current season has even premiered (every year).


  3. She is still killing the music scene.
    I’ll just let this one speak for itself…

  4. She is actually just an inspiration to us all.
    She’s widely-known as the one Disney star who didn’t “lose it” after leaving the channel. However, since only Disney stars are certified to speak on what it’s like to transition into a new life without the mouse ears, I choose to be inspired by her for other reasons. I mean, she’s a single mother with tons of acting credentials, three novels, and five studio albums under her belt. But if you need more than that…

    She is always fighting for a cause that matters to her…

    …always trying to inspire the many people who have looked up to her over the years…

    …and is quick to remind us that she’s just like us.

    And, finally, the one issue that truly tests a person’s character…

  5. She is an animal lover.
    Hilary has shared her many pets with the world (through the good times and the sad) proving that she is just full of love.

    So, I guess what I’m trying to say is:

    Although a lot of people (to my disbelief) thought Hilary was So Yesterday, if you really do The Math you will see that she’s actually One in a Million.

Mom, I noticed

Mom, I noticed

Hey, mom. It’s me. The child you carried in your body; that baby you used to hold; one of the kids who “grew up way too fast.” Now that I’m older, there are some things you need to know. 

I noticed. 

I noticed how you were always worried when I was younger. You were always terrified that I would get hurt or lose my way. And you knew that you could protect me if I would let you. 

I also noticed how frustrated you were when I got upset about the “strict parenting.” 

I noticed how you never wanted to let me go out into the world because you knew what I now know. It’s a rough place. 

And I noticed the look on your face when I started growing so independent that you could literally feel me leaving the nest. 

I noticed the hidden tears at my graduation. As if you’d just realized that I was heading off to a battle and you wouldn’t be there to guide me. 

I noticed the strength you’ve always had. Even when you get at your lowest, I noticed you were stronger than any person I’ve ever known. 

I noticed, as you battled to be a provider when life didn’t always make that easy. And I noticed that you never gave up- even when you probably wanted to. 

I noticed that, though I’m older, you’re still worried about the things to come for me. You’re still more concerned about the decisions I make, and the path I’m on, than you’ve ever been about your own.

I noticed the way you light up every time you get a miniature reunion. I noticed the way your grandkids make you smile. I noticed the trials you’ve overcome. I noticed person you’ve grown to be. 

I’ve noticed a lot. And maybe I’ve never told you just how much of that sticks with me. 

What you don’t know is that all of these things I’ve noticed have molded me into the person I am. 

I noticed that I try to stay away from big risks, and take care of my health, because I know you worry. I try to make the best decisions, and keep good company, because your fear of the bad things in this world isn’t unwarranted. 

I noticed that, though you worried I would be too far from you when I grew into an adult, you’re always here with me. Everything you taught me follows me around. 

I noticed that I try to stay above the water when I feel like I’m being pulled under, because I’ve seen you swim for your life and make it to the shore. 

Whatever I do in this life- whoever I become- is all because of you. Without you I wouldn’t be who I am. Every decision I’ve made in my life was tested in the waters of how I was raised. And though God is truly to credit for everything, I wouldn’t know Him if I wasn’t born to a mother who allowed me to find Him. 

I noticed, Mom. More than you’ll ever know. And I’ll always be grateful that God blessed me with a mother worth noticing. 

Advice to the Worried Aunt: Down syndrome isn’t a factor

Advice to the Worried Aunt: Down syndrome isn’t a factor

I was scrolling through the depths of the internet and came across a post that caught my eye. It was a Health Boards submission seeking help for a worried aunt. 

Here’s a look at the post titled “How should I behave toward Down nephew?”

This isn’t a criticism of the post. This isn’t a judgment of the aunt who was seeking this help. This is merely an attempt to help others who may be faced with the same question in their lives: “How do I behave around my family member with Down syndrome?”

I’m an uncle. I have been blessed with a niece and a nephew who are the shining lights in my world. My niece (Sadie) just turned three and is growing up right before my eyes. My nephew (Waylon) recently turned two and is doing the same. 

My niece loves toys. She likes to watch all of the same kids shows on repeat. You know the shows- the shows every parent can quote by heart. *Cough* Paw Patrol *Cough* 

My nephew also loves toys. He’s super into Blue’s Clues right now and probably loves Paw Patrol just as much as my niece. 

Both my niece and nephew can probably use my iPhone to do more things than I can, and they definitely know which apps will give them what they’re looking for. 

When I hang out with my niece, I talk to her about the shows I literally know nothing about. We talk about absolutely nothing as she teaches me who she is in the way she interacts with the world. She is always picking up something new that adds to who she is growing to be. 

When I’m with my nephew, I talk to him about the same shows. He uses my glasses as a boomerang, tossing them to the side every time I see him, only to have them magically return to his hands moment later. He does the same with most toys- because that’s what kids like- but I always give them back and we always repeat the cycle until he’s tired of it. He, like my niece, is constantly growing into an individual right before my eyes. (Even when those eyes are blurred because he tossed my glasses somewhere.)

Both kids are loved by my family. Both kids play with the other kids in the family. Both kids are entirely unique and incredibly perfect human beings. (I’m biased. Sue me.)

Which one has Down syndrome? 

You see, unless you knew before reading this, there is nothing about these kids that would indicate that one of them has Down syndrome. And- to get back to the post that started it all- that’s exactly how we behave. Down syndrome isn’t a factor.

Being a family member to a kid with Down syndrome is the same as being a family member to any other kid. There’s no special secret. There’s no specific treatment plan in place. 

You love the kid. You play with the kid. You find out what the kid likes to do and watch as those things help the kid develop into his or her own person. 

You buy the kid gifts from the same toy store as any other kid. You play the kid videos from the same channels as any other kid. And even when the kid seems to do things differently than the way you’re used to, you remember that all kids do that. 

This response isn’t meant for the person who posted the original question. Her question was posted years ago. So, I will choose to believe that she has already found all of this out for herself. I will choose to believe that she now sees that her nephew is just as “perfect” as her own kids. I will choose to believe that her nephew receives the same love and care as mine. 

That’s right. 

Waylon is the kid in my life who has Down syndrome. But that’s not who he is. Not really. Just like Sadie, just like the children of the worried aunt, Waylon is perfect. Because he’s no different. 

But this post IS written for anyone who may be asking themselves the same question this lady was struggling with. Because the sooner you realize the answer, the more time you get to focus on spoiling the kid in your life. 

The friends I’ve made along the way

The friends I’ve made along the way

I think of you sometimes. Sometimes it’s because I see a television character that reminds me of you. Sometimes it’s because I see a picture or something that reminds me of who we were back then. Sometimes it’s for no obvious reason at all. But I think of you sometimes. 

I can see the person I was when we were the closest of friends. I can see how you’ve grown into the person you are and how I became who I am now. What I can’t see are the paths that led us to our separate places in life. I can’t remember the point in life where we took those different roads. And that’s okay, because it’s not important.

This isn’t some open letter to the friends I’ve lost along the way. This isn’t my plea to relive the past. This is my letter to the friends I’ve made along the way. Because that’s how I see you. I don’t think of you as a part of my past, rather a big part of my present. 

The people we were back then, the things we went through; that’s the stuff that made me who I am today. And I thank you for that. I thank you for being a part of my story and allowing me the opportunity to know you; allowing me the opportunity to think of you. 

This isn’t my attempt to force you into an obligatory lunch date, or my attempt to get the old band back together. We’re different people now. We’ve grown. We’ve changed. And that’s okay. This is simply my attempt at recognizing you. Just to tell you that I still think of you. 

I see your Facebook posts, and I run into you from time to time, but I’ve never told you just how proud I am of you. How proud I am of the things you’ve done along the path you’ve taken. 

I haven’t told you that I love seeing the posts of your little growing family, or seeing the all-night cram sessions you’ve ranted about as you work to further your education. I haven’t told you that I’m glad you decided to be a stay-at-home mom, because that’s a job that you’re uniquely strong enough to take on. I haven’t told you congratulations on that new job, or that I have so much faith that you’ll make it through the night class you’re taking. I haven’t told you, though you feel Ike you’re stuck in a certain place in life, you’re doing incredible things and you should never feel bad for sticking with it. 

I haven’t told you any of this. But I think about it every time I think about you. And I know that I could send you a message, or post a throwback to remind you that I remember you. But I haven’t done that either. And I’m sorry. But I think of you. 

It doesn’t matter that we aren’t the same people we used to be. It doesn’t matter that you probably don’t know me as well as you once did, nor I you. What matters is that you were there when we were those people. What matters is that you gave me so much back then- provided me with so many memories- that I still think of you. I still love you. I still wish you the best. 

So, to the friends I’ve made along the way: Thank you! Maybe one day we will be just as inseparable as we were back then. You never know where God’s plan will take us. But even if that never happens: I still see you, I’m still proud of you, I’ll always be here, and I’ll always think of you.

The Easter egg you don’t have to search for

The Easter egg you don’t have to search for

Hunting Easter eggs has become a fun and creative pastime for many people on Easter Sunday. I can remember, when I was younger, my uncle James hiding eggs in the most frustrating places, making it impossible for kids to find them. I’m still not sure if that was meant as a challenge for us, or a personal satisfaction for him. Either way, hunting eggs was a big thing for our family.

As I’ve grown, I see the younger generation get excited over the process. It seems that they’re always ready to see who can find the most and which ones will be plastic capsules holding the coveted prize: cash. It’s nice to see the kids have so much fun. It’s a joy to watch them and bank memories, as I’m sure my elders did when I was young.

However, I wonder how many of the kids are coming into the Easter holiday with a clear understanding of the “reason for the season.”

The true joy of Easter can’t be found in the plastic egg my uncle hid. And while it’s a joy to watch the kids and see the family, the joy of Easter isn’t in the family bonding time. The true JOY of Easter is that God sent His Son to the cross. That Christ went to Calvary, with no sins of His own to pay for, in order to give us life everlasting.

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16

That’s the true Easter egg. And even better, it’s the egg you don’t have to search for. It’s the egg that is searching for you. You are the potential “whosoever” in that verse.

When Christ was on the cross, He was thinking of you. He was planning for your future. He was finding you and telling you that He loves you enough to die for you. He did the searching: He searched throughout time, knowing that you would need Him, and decided you were worth giving it all for. He provided that Easter egg, without making you search. Because He loves you. Because God loves you.

“But God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8

So, while you’re hiding those Easter eggs Sunday afternoon (Because you’ll be in church Sunday morning, right?) remember that there’s already a coveted, plastic, priceless egg with your name on it. And you didn’t even have to search for it.

Preparing for the rain

Preparing for the rain

I’m standing in front of the largest crowd to ever attend Wednesday night youth group at my church. The massive amount of teens is taking up more than half of the church basement.

I begin to talk to everyone, trying to get names and connect with the kids before we dive into the lesson. With so many new faces, I know that I’ll never be able to remember all of their names.

Eventually, we get to the lesson. As I try to teach, I feel the room closing in around me. There are so many people and I just know I’m going to mess this up.

You see, I’ve been doing this Youth Director thing for a while. However, we usually have 5-12 kids per night. Never this many. What am I going to do?

As I get more flustered, the kids begin talking to each other about things that definitely have nothing to do with my lesson. I try to get their attention, but the crowd is growing too loud. I climb into a chair to make them hear me, but no one is paying attention.

As I try to gain the vocal power to ask them to quiet down, Ed Sheeran walks in.

Oh, did I forget to mention this was a dream?

A few more things happened in the dream, but they were basically the same tone. I was trying to get a loud and large group of teens to listen to my lesson about Christ, but they were all there talking to one another and more interested in Ed Sheeran than the mess of a youth director who stood before them.

When I had this dream, I first wondered if it was about the actual group of kids I teach. I mean, were they really coming to church to hear about Christ or were they just there to hang out and see each other? Were they all too preoccupied with other things and unable to focus on what mattered?

Then, as I worked on the lesson for the following night, (we’re going through 1 Timothy) I realized it was actually a dream about me. Our study was about having the right person teaching in the church. The dream made me question my preparedness for the job.

The fact that I was clearly unprepared for that sort of attendance, and the fact that I was unable to grab the attention of the group, was more about me than it was the group.

Don’t misunderstand. I love the group and I feel that teaching them, and allowing them to teach me, is exactly what God would have me do. I just realized that I’ve been praying for something and not working as hard as I should on it.

I pray for our Youth Group daily. I pray for it to grow in size and understanding. I ask the kids to do the same. However, when I got a larger group, I was unprepared to take care of them. 

I realize that this is all hypothetical, and based on my own interpretation of a dream. And I am in no way claiming it as some sort of divine prophecy. I am, however, saying it was a wake-up call.

I told this same story to my group after the dream, because I feel that it’s my duty as their teacher to inform them that I don’t have it all together. I think it’s important to let them see that God is still working on me, even as He’s working through me.

Being a worker for Christ doesn’t mean being perfect in everything. It almost means the opposite. It means that you accept how flawed you are and you still do your best to show others how great He is.

It is now my prayer that God continue to prepare me to be the teacher He would have me be. And that He prepare me to work diligently to be ready, regardless of the crowd.

One of my favorite films, Facing the Giants, has an eye-opening scene. The dialogue is as follows:

“Grant, I heard a story about two farmers who desperately needed rain. And both of them prayed for rain, but only one of them went out and prepared his fields to receive it. Which one do you think trusted God to send the rain?”

“Well, the one who prepared his fields for it.”

“Which one are you? God will send the rain when He’s ready. You need to prepare your field to receive it.”

That scene and my dream are telling me that I can’t ask God to move if I don’t expect Him to move. If I can’t prepare myself for the task at hand, why should I be asking Him to prepare the way for me?

He has given us the armor for every battle. (Ephesians 6) He has given a light for our every path. (Psalm 119:105) Take the next step forward in your walk. Ask Him to send you where He needs you, trusting that He will strengthen you for His work. (Isaiah 6:8)

If you think God is calling you to do something and His word backs that up, you should do it. Just dive in. You don’t have to be prepared. He will prepare you. 

Stop asking for Him to give you things that He’s already given. Just start working. 

If you’re waiting for a sign before you take the next step toward the path He has set for you, consider this your sign. If you are waiting to be a better person before asking Him to save your soul, stop waiting. The time is now. We may not have a later. Once you’ve let Him in, He will make you into a new creation. (2 Corinthians 5:17)

God is waiting to send the rain. Are you prepared for it?