I am proud to have Louisville Film Society as the fiscal sponsor for KY Place—a web series that seeks to explore and understand Kentucky and the people who call it home.

The concept for the series began during my days as a student at the University of Louisville. I had just finished my very first documentary, New Kentucky Home, which followed the day-to-day experiences of newly resettled refugees in Kentucky.

Throughout the production, my interactions with Louisville’s refugee and immigrant community helped expand my awareness for social issues. I began to see the world in new and exciting ways. Strangers became neighbors, and neighbors became friends.

It was an epiphany not unlike Thomas Merton’s. A sense of belonging, as I have learned, can be found through random conversations on the bus or run-ins with old friends on the sidewalk. The daily apprehension of new people and neighborhoods were all ways in which I grew to love my place.

Through this revelation, it also became impossible to ignore the ways in which the built environment reinforced social inequalities. Born out of a desire to reconnect my fellow Kentuckians, I started KY Place.

In four episodes, we spoke with sixteen individuals who brought their experiences, ideas, and solutions to the table; recognizing both the traditions that bring us together and the obstacles that hold us back. As a proof of concept, KY Place demonstrates how locally-produced media could function as a catalyst for open discussions—for Kentuckians and for people facing similar challenges elsewhere.

Looking ahead, the future of this series will go where Kentucky goes. Square dancing, Bluegrass music, coal mining, or a Noah’s Ark theme park are all topics open to inquiry. 

Consider donating to KY Place and your tax-deductible contribution will help further production of this series. Thank you.

– Elijah McKenzie

 

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