American Hollow

Career Award Liz Garbus Rory Kennedy

Rory Kennedy spent a year in rural Appalachia and emerged with a riveting portrait of family and survival seen through the lens of Iree Bowling, a 68-year-old mother of thirteen living in Mudlick Hollow, in Eastern Kentucky. Though they have all at one time or another left the hollow, each of Bowling’s children has subsequently returned and subscribed to its age-old way of life. There is great love in the extended Bowling clan, and in some ways Iree measures her success as a parent by the proximity of her children. But it is a hardscrabble existence, and the lack of provisions and resources takes its toll. As we drift between her children’s households, we bear witness to the desperation entangled with loyalty to family, which at times becomes tumultuous and abusive. Especially poignant is the predicament of Bowling’s grandson, who plans to marry his girlfriend and leave the hollow behind but finds that ties to family and home are undeniable, no matter how deplorable the circumstances appear to the modern world.  ST


Rory Kennedy


Rory Kennedy


Mark Bailey, Adam Zucker


Nick Doob

Release Year


Festival Year



United States

Run Time

90 minutes