Hollow is an interactive documentary and community participatory project that focuses on the lives of residents in McDowell County, West Virginia. Hollow combines personal portraits, interactive data, participatory mapping and user-generated content on an HTML5 website designed to address the issues stemming from stereotyping and population loss in rural America. Community members will take part in the filmmaking process by creating their own documentary portraits and balloon maps. Hollow strives to bring attention to issues in rural America, encourage trust among the community and become a place where users can share ideas for the future.
For years, the residents of Southern West Virginia have been portrayed the way that filmmakers, mass media and politicians believe they should be. Yet this constant flow of images depicting only poverty, drug abuse and unemployment have an effect on the way the community sees themselves and limits their capacity for action and empowerment. For the first time, the McDowell County community will have a chance to express their own ideas in a project that addresses universal issues seen across rural America. This is not our interpretation of Southern West Virginia but instead a project “for the community, by the community” and a unique chance to be part of future improvement.