Return to 2010 Award Winners
Documentary Short
Sand Mountain
Honorable Mention

Setting off with a borrowed video camera, Kathryn McCool drives alone through the American South to meet reclusive musician Cast King and attempts to find the America she had, as a youth, re-created and photographed in her own backyard in rural New Zealand. Comparing what she finds with what was for so long imagined, this film is about a journey into her borrowed culture. Was reality going to make mockery of her painstakingly conjured up South? Sand Mountain is a road movie that drives into personal territory as well as the back roads of Alabama.

The meeting of Cast King offers a dignified portrait of this somewhat exploited figure; it is also an attempt to locate and connect with the essence of the South its musical heritage, its people. To this end the film is every bit as interested in the sublime and sometimes eccentric portraits of the people that are encountered on the way. Her camera is always attuned to iconographic America: the diners, motels, gas stations...

Ultimately the film conveys nothing specifically, but what appears in the midst of this generous silence are moments of emotion - of sadness, loss, resilience and pride as they are merely witnessed by the filmmaker. The dignity is without manufacture; it is a short story given to the filmmaker by the people. In the end, under the weight of reality, we see the filmmaker's daydream begin to fade. America is contextualized against something bigger than the myth of popular culture.


Kathryn McCool
Kathryn McCool
Executive Producer: 
Kerry Richardson
Kathryn McCool
United States
34 minutes
Film Collection: 
About the South


Yeiser Art Center
Friday, November 5, 2010 - 9:00pm
Maiden Alley Cinema
Saturday, November 6, 2010 - 5:00pm