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Wonder: The Lives of Anna and Harlan Hubbard
, Courier Staff Writer
Thursday, January 24, 2013 10:00 AM
A movie documenting the lives of a Trimble County couple will have another local screening following its 2012 release date.
Trimble County residents Anna and Harlan Hubbard lived a simplistic life on the edge of the Ohio River that many people can only imagine in today's technology-driven world. It was their simplistic way of life that led writer and producer Morgan Atkinson of Louisville to highlight the couple in his work.
"Growing up in Louisville, I was aware of them a little bit," Atkinson said of the couple.
After some preliminary research into the couple's story, he decided to make the Hubbards the focus of one of his documentaries. As a producer and writer, Atkinson likes to tell the stories of interesting people off the beaten path, so to speak, he said. The Hubbards met that criteria - figuratively and literally.
Harlan Hubbard, a writer and artist, and Anna Hubbard, a cook known for her recipes and love of piano, took up residence in Trimble County in the 1950s. They built their home without many of the modern conveniences of the era. The couple had no electricity or running water in the home of wood and stone they built themselves on the banks of the Ohio River. The Hubbards raised or caught their food supply themselves. And any visitors had to walk a lengthy path or paddle the Ohio River by boat to visit the couple's remote home in the woods.
Atkinson's research and production of the documentary, which took a little over two years to complete, allowed him to get to know the lifestyles of the Hubbards through other films, as well as writings about the couple.
"I came to admire them," he said.
Atkinson never met the Hubbards or visited their home while they were alive, but he spoke with Paul Hassfurder - the person to whom Harlan Hubbard bequeathed his land after his death - to learn of the Hubbards' way of life on their 60-acre property. No filming for the documentary was done on the former Hubbard property to protect Hassfurder's privacy, Atkinson said.
The film does feature many of Harlan Hubbard's own thoughts about the world around him through his journal entries. Other narratives in the documentary came from book excerpts on the Hubbards' lives by author Wendell Berry who narrated part of the movie.
"His collaboration was just essential," Adkinson said.
The Trimble County Public Library will show the documentary, "Wonder: The Lives of Anna and Harlan Hubbard," at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Tuesday. Adkinson will be in attendance at the viewing and will be available for a short question-and-answer session after the viewing.
Adkinson also noted the documentary is planned to be on Kentucky Educational Television in April or May.
"It's funny how many people from different walks of life...knew the Hubbards," Adkinson said.
Atkinson, who owns the video production company Duckworks Inc., also has profiled philosopher and monk Thomas Merton, writer and social activist John Howard Griffin in his 25 year career. Several of his other documentaries and works have been shown on Kentucky Educational Television and the Public Broadcasting Service.
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