Inspired by the social-realist cinema of contemporary Europe (including the works of Andrea Arnold and the Dardenne brothers) my new film “When Skies Are Gray” is a stark portrait of Modern Appalachia.
Having been born and raised in East Tennessee, I always saw a marked difference between the picturesque Smoky Mountains on the cover of tourists’ brochures, and the way things really were in the mountain communities where I grew up. Appalachia IS a place of great beauty, but it’s also a place of isolation where mountain folk suffer in the throes of unemployment, hunger, and prescription drug abuse.
The film tells the story of Travis, an Appalachian youth who lives in a remote mountain community. Hidden away in a mobile home on the fringe of civilization, he has picked up the slack of his mostly absent mother. With both children being the product of her promiscuous lifestyle, Deb has all but detached herself from her offspring. An unfortunate encounter brings deep-seeded emotions to a boil on one fateful night, leading Travis to make a decision that will change his life and his sister’s forever.
The film was shot on location in New Plymouth, OH using the Panasonic AF-100 by DP Michael Greene. Production Photos courtesy of Luke Szabados. Cory Pratt is a 2nd Year MFA in the Ohio University Film Program