The documentary film will be shown at the Walker Valley High School Theater on Sunday at 3 p.m. The public is invited to this free screening. Many community members are interviewed and are featured in the documentary.
“Wild River” was the first major motion picture to be filmed entirely in Tennessee and mostly at locations in the town of Charleston and on the banks of the Hiwassee River. In 2010, Charleston formed an event committee under the inspiration of aspiring author David Swafford, who is working on a book about the filming of “Wild River.” From Swafford’s work, the group began planning a community celebration of the movie’s anniversary. The documentary follows Swafford as he researches and the committee as they planned the Wild River Days celebration in June 2010.
Life Care Media Center produced the film as a contribution to the community archives. The filming of “Wild River” produced many once-in-a-lifetime stories of community members and their encounter with Hollywood. Officials at Life Care Centers of America recognized this historic time and chose to preserve the information.
"I had so much fun hearing ‘Wild River’ stories in Bradley County, and it doesn't hurt that there are so many charming characters here," said Allison Inman, director of “Mud on the Stars: Stories from Elia Kazan’s Wild River.” The documentary derives its theme from the William Bradford Huie book, “Mud on the Stars” on which “Wild River” was partially based.
“There's a scene in our documentary where David Swafford and Tommy Green find, buried under some garage doors on Tommy's property, an old board from the iconic ferry at Coon Denton Island, where much of ‘Wild River’ was shot,” Inman explained. “David is almost misty-eyed when he sees this mundane object — 'that's a historic piece of wood,' he says. It always brings a chuckle. But he's right, of course. If you don't record stories and save artifacts, a large part of local history will simply disappear."
Inman, a resident of Nashville, along with Swafford and others involved in the documentary, are expected to be on hand to field questions from the audience.
Walker Valley High School is located on Lauderdale Highway between I-75 and Highway 11. The theater is located on the west side of the school.
The group meets each month on the third Sunday at 3 p.m. Membership is $10 per year and comes with special discounts at the group’s events throughout the year. Anyone interested in membership or receiving emails regarding meetings or activities should contact Darlene Goins at 423-336-2763 or DarleneGoins@bellsouth.net, or Faye Callaway at 423-336-5694.