Still from Crick in the Holler by written & directed by Ursula Ellis and produced by Nadia Zoe '17

Student and Alumna Screen Film at Citizen Jane Film Festival

BY Kio Shijiki, November 30, 2017

Crick in the Holler, written & directed by current student Ursula Ellis and produced by Nadia Zoe '17, screened at the Citizen Jane Film Festival in Missouri last weekend.


Crick in the Holler is a Columbia MFA thesis and Alfred P. Sloan Production Grant short film set during the 2014 Elk River water crisis in southern West Virginia.


“During West Virginia's 2014 Elk River chemical spill, a first-generation college student charged with the care of her rebellious younger sister instead becomes consumed by an issue with their water supply,” according to a synopsis taken from Columbia University Film Festival’s website.


The short has also screened at Woodstock Film Festival, Cucalorus Film Festival, and Lone Star Film Festival.


Ellis was recently interviewed by We Are Moving Stories about the film. “There were several reasons I decided to embark upon making Crick in the Holler!” Ellis told We are Moving Stories. “When I first began writing the script in the fall of 2015, there were already conversations being had about Appalachia as a lead up to the 2016 election that I felt were lacking more than a surface level perspective on the region, only further contributing to the feelings of isolation and alienation felt by West Virginians towards much of the country.”


Ellis also told We Are Moving Stories that she hoped the film would be used in developing environmental conversations. “I think this film could be used to spark a conversation around issues like water security, maintenance of industrial sites, the role of the individual in a crisis, as well as the need for fossil fuels and the chemicals used in refining them (like MCHM, the leaked chemical in question in the film).”


You can read the entire interview here.


Ursula Ellis is a writer/director. A former Army brat with roots in Appalachia, she is committed to telling stories that explore underrepresented aspects of the American experience.


Nadia Zoe is an actor, writer, director from Tucson, AZ. She came from a hippie mom and a conservative, sometimes Muslim father, both from large families. She had an unusual upbringing rich with dysfunction that often influences her work.


UPDATE: Crick in the Holler won best student short at the Lone Star Film Festival this past month.