Hubbards in documentary
late artist left a legacy
with his lifestyle, work
(April 2011) Harlan and Anna Hubbard lived
solitary, simple lives in Payne Hollow, nestled along the Ohio River
in Trimble County, Ky. It was in this quiet setting the Hubbards lived
without electricity, farmed, fished, read books and played classical
music, he on a violin and she on a baby grand piano.
Hubbard lived a
simplistic life in
Payne Hollow, where
Harlan painted and
wrote his books.
Harlan also painted and wrote his many books there in
the hollow, drawing inspiration from his natural surroundings.
The Hubbards died in the late 1980s Anna in 1986 and Harlan in
1988 but now a Louisville-based filmmaker has begun work
on a documentary on their lives. Morgan Atkinson has logged 30 years
as a filmmaker, the past 25 running his own film production company,
Duckworks Inc. He works on commission mostly but in this case has chosen
to focus on the Hubbards in hopes of getting the final product aired
statewide on Kentucky Educational Television and maybe even nationally
on the Public Broadcast System.
Once I get going on a project like this I typically complete it
in about a year to a year and a half, but it depends on fundraising
to pay the bills. And in this economy is can be tough, no matter how
worthy the subject matter is, said Atkinson, 61, during a March
24 telephone interview.
Atkinson is a Louisville native and a University of Kentucky graduate
who has made dozens of films, with about 15 airing on KET and several
nationally on PBS. Recent productions have focused on Louisville musician
Tim Krekel, Anglo-American Catholic writer Thomas Merton and Black
Like Me author John Howard Griffin.
Atkinson is being assisted with research on the Hubbard project by a
close friend, John Kasey. He already has interviewed several Madison
area residents who knew the Hubbards personally, although none of the
interviews were conducted on camera. Those interviewed so far include
Paul Hassfurder and Bob and Charlotte Canida of Madison; Joann Weeter
of Louisville; Don Wallis of Yellow Springs, Ohio; Bill Cadell of Frankfort,
Ind.; and Laurie Risch of Covington, Ky.
Weeter spent many hours with the Hubbards recording oral history tapes.
Wallis was a close friend and has written books about the Hubbards.
Caddell owns a large collection of Hubbard watercolors and wood cuts.
Risch directs the Behringer-Crawford Museum, which has a large collection
of Hubbards artwork and occasionally exhibits them.
Atkinson says he plans to interview more people and spent one afternoon
in Payne Hollow with Hassfurder, who inherited the 61-acre property
from Hubbard after having helped care for him in his latter years. In
addition, Atkinson has spent considerable time recently at the University
of Louisville Archive, where all of Hubbards original writings
and papers are stored.
Atkinson also is trying to raise about $150,000, which he says is what
he needs to complete the project. So far, the experience has been life
changing for him.
I dont pretend to live like the Hubbards and dont
think anyone would, but we can all learn something from their lives
and incorporate it into our lives, Atkinson said. For instance
our relationships with others could be improved if we just spent more
time with our spouses or friends. The story of Harlan and Anna Hubbard
is so inspirational and represents something a lot of people today strive
for. They found meaning and contentment while living outside the normal
Atkinson said his decision to focus on Hubbard stemmed from his recent
documentaries on Merton and Griffin, whom Atkinson says are two
distinct men of the 20th century who had impact on their times. Although
they are all very different, I can see Harlan Hubbard as a distinct
man who left an imprint on his time.
Two previous KET documentaries have been done on the Hubbards the
first in 1980 by filmmaker John Morgan and the second in the mid-1990s
for KETs Kentucky Life series.
Atkinson says the Hubbards lives were so inspirational that it
bears visiting again. He hopes that when completed, it could be premiered
sometime next year at Madisons Ohio Theatre or at Hanover College,
which houses a significant collection of Hubbard artwork.
To learn more about Harlan and Anna Hubbard
and their lives, visit: www.HarlanHubbard.com.
To learn more about Morgan Atkinson and his film company, visit: www.MorganAtkinson.com.
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