Private Project

Fiddlin'

Sister filmmakers, Julie Simone and Vicki Vlasic, returned to their Appalachian roots to film at the Old Fiddler’s Convention run by the Galax Moose Lodge. They were given permission to film for the first time in its 80 year history after Lodge members discovered they knew the sisters’ grandpa. Their local connection also earned them the trust of the talented musicians who opened their hearts and shared their stories.
Fiddlin’ is a celebration of true Americana and artistic expression in the face of adversity. This rollicking, inspiring film shines a light on what is best about America and shows the uplifting power of music. Fiddlin’ pays tribute to Old Time and Bluegrass music at the 80th annual Old Fiddler’s Convention where musicians travel from around the world to compete and jam with friends, without a cell phone in sight. Wayne Henderson, a world-renowned luthier known as the “guitar god”, is both a master craftsman and master storyteller. His friendship with 11-year old Presley Barker shows just how closely knit a community of musicians can be. The endearing relationship between them is a testament to the music’s power. As Presley and Wayne vie for top prize in the ultra-competitive Adult Guitar Competition, the film reaches its climax. Despite their hardships, many proclaim that music gives them hope, soothes the pain and even saves lives. Determined to keep the music and traditions alive, all exclaim they will pass it on to future generations and play till the day they die!

  • Julie Simone
    Director
  • Vicki Vlasic
    Writer
  • Julie Simone
    Writer
  • Janice Hampton
    Writer
  • Vicki Vlasic
    Producer
  • Julie Simone
    Producer
  • Jill Mazursky
    Producer
  • Wayne C. Henderson
    Key Cast
  • Presley Barker
    Key Cast
  • Kitty Amaral
    Key Cast
  • Eddie Bond
    Key Cast
  • Martha Spencer
    Key Cast
  • Jake Krack
    Key Cast
  • Jon Lohman
    Key Cast
  • Dori Freeman
    Key Cast
  • Karen Carr
    Key Cast
  • Janice Hampton, ACE
    Editor
    Hairspray, Rocky II, For the Love of Spock, 41, Crybaby, Serial Mom et al.
  • Nicholas Pike
    Composer
    Return to Me, Michael Jackson's Number Ones, Stephen King's The Shining, In Tahrir Square, Blood and Bone et. al.
  • Film Type:
    Documentary, Feature
  • Runtime:
    1 hour 36 minutes
  • Completion Date:
    March 1, 2018
  • Production Budget:
    450,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Film Language:
    English
  • Shooting Format:
    2K and 4K
  • Aspect Ratio:
    16:9
  • Film Color:
    Color
  • First-time Filmmaker:
    Yes
  • Student Project:
    No
  • San Luis Obispo International Film Festival
    San Luis Obispo
    United States
    March 13, 2018
    World Premiere
    Audience Award for Best Documentary Feature
  • WorldFest-Houston
    Houston, TX
    United States
    April 22, 2018
    Texas Premiere
    Special Jury Award-Platinum Award
  • Martha's Vineyard Filmusic Festival
    Martha’s Vineyard
    United States
    June 24, 2018
    Official Selection - One of only 8 Films Chosen
  • Madrid International Film Festi
    Madrid
    Spain
    July 27, 2018
    European Premiere
    Best Cinematography Award
  • Amsterdam International Filmmakers Festival
    Amsterdam
    Netherlands
    August 16, 2018
    Nominated for Best Documentary and Best Editing
  • Macon Film Festival
    Macon
    United States
    August 16, 2018
    Audience Award Winner
  • Breckenridge International Film Festival
    Breckenridge
    United States
    September 20, 2018
    Colorado
    Best Documentary Feature Award Winner and Best of Fest Audience Award Winner
  • Real to Reel International Film Festival
    King's Mountain, NC
    United States
    July 28, 2018
    North Carolina
    Audience Award
  • Chagrin Documentary Film Festival
    Chagrin Falls, OH
    United States
    September 30, 2018
    Ohio
  • St. Louis International Film Festival
    St. Louis, MO
    United States
    November 1, 2018
    Missouri
    Official Selection
  • Ft. Lauderdale International Film Festival
    Ft. Lauderdale, FL
    United States
    November 2, 2018
    Florida
    Official Selection
  • Knox Film Festival
    Knoxville, TN
    United States
    September 14, 2018
    Tennessee Premiere
    Audience Award Winner
  • Hell’s Half Mile Film and Music Festival
    Bay City, MI
    United States
    September 27, 2018
    Michigan
    Jury Award Winner Best Score
  • Full Bloom Film Festival
    Statesville, NC
    United States
    September 14, 2018
  • Virginia Film Festival
    Charlottesville, VA
    United States
    November 4, 2018
  • Heartland International Film Festival
    Indianapolis, IN
    United States
    October 12, 2018
  • Ojai Film Festival
    Ojai, CA
    United States
    November 1, 2018
    Southern California
  • WV Filmmakers Festival
    Sutton, West Virginia
    United States
    October 5, 2018
    West Virginia Premiere
  • High Falls Women's Film Festival
    Rochester, NY
    United States
    November 3, 2018
    New York
Director Biography - Julie Simone

Director, Julie Simone, grew up on a farm in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. While living between Los Angeles and New York, Julie enrolled in a gorilla style filmmaking class where she wrote, directed and acted in multiple short films. After motherhood and divorce, Julie re-embarked on roles behind the camera as well as in front of it. On a trip to Cannes, Julie directed, filmed, and appeared as herself in Cannes Without a Plan, a comedic Reality/TV pilot dealing with divorce and being a single mom.
Fiddlin' is Julie’s feature directorial debut. It is a music documentary about multi-generational musicians who are fiercely determined to keep Old Time and Bluegrass music alive. Going 'back home' to film the talented fiddlers and pickers in these magnificent mountains gave Julie a new appreciation for her mountain roots. Julie is also developing and writing projects with GASP Studios and Calamity J Productions.

Add Director’s Biography
Director Statement

Fiddlin’ is a passion project and my feature directorial debut. My sister and I grew up in the Appalachian Mountains surrounded by Old Time and Bluegrass music and wanted to share the beauty of this place along with the special people and their unique stories. Our production group and crew consisted of many talented individuals with a focus on the inclusion of women. As a result, nine of our 13 producers are women as well as our editor. We also selected rising female talent in this musical genre since they are often overlooked in this male dominated industry. The resulting cast is a diverse group of musicians by gender, age and ethnicity. When we first approached the talent, many were apprehensive about being part of the project. However, once they discovered we were locals, attitudes completely changed. My mission as a director was to reassure our talent that the film would be a positive and uplifting story that was respectful of the area's culture and traditions. It was also important to reveal that stereotypes are just that and that these people are not only talented, but intelligent, humble and incredibly generous. Having gained their trust, I believe we succeded in achieving that goal. Unlike many documentaries, Fiddlin’ focuses on what is good and on what this community is doing right. These incredible musicians share their talents in an effort to continue long standing musical traditions as they come together to play and pass them on without regard to age, color, gender or social standing.