DER Documentary

The Newcomers

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by George C. Stoney
black & white, 30 min, 1963

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The Newcomers is a film about economically threatened Appalachian people in transition. Fresh as the day it was made in 1963, the issues of immigration and migration and learning how to live with people who are different from one's self are as challenging and critical as ever.

The filmmaker George Stoney writes, “The Newcomers was made for a church audience. I suspect that that church audience shared my middle-class attitude towards 'hillbillies.' It was a re-enacted documentary but the family represented had gone through the experience of being newcomers in a community... It involves Appalachians recalling their own experiences of relocation to urban cities to find work. Over the years I have heard from a number of people whose families were in the original cast, so they seem to feel a certain sense of pride in the documentation... But, for me, being exposed to them I felt was exposing myself to people I had always held in contempt. Getting to know them changed my attitude and I hope it also did for the middle class audience we made the film for. I suspect those class attitudes exist today and I hope that this film can continue to help change those attitudes.”

The Newcomers is used courtesy of the General Board of Global Ministries of The United Methodist Church.

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