One family struggles to maintain one of only two remaining family-run apple orchards in Wise County, Virginia.

Premiere Date
April 1, 1998
30 minutes
Funding Initiative
Open Call

Anthony Slone

Born and raised in Hollybush in Knott County, Kentucky, Slone joined Appalshop as a film student in 1973. He makes his home in southwestern Virginia, where he filmed Applewise, as well as the Headwaters 100th episode on the legendary Carter Family, “Sunny Side of Life.” “Homemade Tales, a portrait of Slone’s mother, was also featured in the first Show more Headwaters series. He has filmed, edited, and produced numerous films, including a profile of a former moonshiner in southwest Virginia, Whippin’ the Devil. Show less

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The Film

Applewise is an insider's portrait of the Mullins family, third-generation apple growers, and their struggle to maintain and manage one of only two remaining family-run apple orchards in Wise County, Virginia. The program follows the growing seasons as family members try to keep the orchard business profitable, while struggling with issues such as pesticides and sustainability. Others look to the coal industry to strike it rich, and valuable orchards are strip mined and destroyed. The documentary explores issues of self-sustainable agriculture and sustainable land management, corporate competition, pesticide use, and family unity.

In following Roy Mullins, his parents, and his brother in their attempts to make a go of the apple business, Applewise tells the story of a family that is on one hand extraordinarily industrious and inventive, but on the other hand not unlike most American families who are trying to seize the opportunities around them, to earn a living, and look after the next generation.