Matt Kinman’s The Back Porch of America (BPoA) introduces viewers to people, places, and ways of life in America that are dying, or nearly gone. Kinman is personal friends with many traditional crafts people, musicians, story tellers, cooks, moonshiners, and more. The goal of the BPoA is to document these friends of his, American craftspeople, and share their stories, their crafts, and culture with others, so that these ways of life are not lost.
Matt Kinman, himself a full blooded troubadour, travels the country, singing songs and playing tunes for his supper. How many of us have had the pleasure of putting him up for a while? How many of us “wow” at his stories and tales? This is the experience we are going to capture – traveling with The Little Hobo around the United States, meeting and spending time with fellow Americans.
In the Spring of 2012 a small film crew (two cameras, one sound recorder and myself) travelled to Nashville, Tenn. to gather some preliminary information and interviews with Matt Kinman as our guide. We spent time with Traditional Country Music Hall of Famer Roy Harper of Manchester, Tenn. Having spent his career as a railroad brakeman, he travelled the country working the rails. When he was not working on the rails he was busy singing and picking old country songs from the likes of Jimmy Rodgers, Rex Griffin and Wilbur Watts. When he retired from railroading he took up oil painting train scenes. At the age of 88 he has now painted over 400 pictures.
We also spent time with a skilled rifle maker and restorer, Houston Harrison of Hendersonville, Tenn. Houston has been building and restoring antique pistols and rifles since he was a young man. At 74 years old he has built over 50 weapons from scratch. Since our interview with Houston, he has been diagnosed with advanced stage alzheimer’s, so we are very lucky to have gotten his stories when we did.
In this Spring of 2013, we are returning (with our small crew) to the south east United States to document more stories before they too begin to fade into history. Our trip will be 14 days long, and we are slated to interview a fifth generation chair maker, a farmer/blacksmith/musician, an african american buck dancer, an award winning quilter, a story teller/historian/musician, and a historic country store (and its proprietor) that has hosted live music for over 40 years.
From this footage we shoot, we are going to edit 4 separate interviews. We aim to have multiple versions of these interviews, some being 30 minutes in length, other versions being as short as 5 minutes. Our hope is to be able to tailor each version of the edit to multiple media formats (TV show, Blog, DVD, Short Film).