Rich Hill

Three teenage boys, Andrew, Harley, and Appachey, struggle with isolation, broken families, and lack of opportunity growing up poor in America.

Film Signature Image
Independent Lens
Premiere Date
January 5, 2015
90 minutes
  • Nominated laurels-r Created with Sketch.
    2015 News and Documentary Emmy Awards-Outstanding Business and Economic Reporting
  • Award laurels-r Created with Sketch.
    2014 Sundance Film Festival-Grand Jury Prize (Documentary)
  • Nominated laurels-r Created with Sketch.
    2014 Cinema Eye Honors-Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography
  • Producer/Director

    Tracy Tragos

    Tracy Droz Tragos is an award-winning independent filmmaker. Rich Hill won the Grand Jury Prize for U.S. Documentary at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival, as well as Best Film at Michael Moore’s Traverse City Film Festival, Best Direction Award at the Sarasota Film Festival, Best Heartland Film at the Kansas City Film Festival, and Best Generation Next at Show more the Documentary Edge Film Festival. Before its Independent Lens broadcast, Rich Hill was released theatrically in over 80 markets across the United States. Tragos’s first film was Be Good, Smile Pretty, a powerful documentary about the profound and complicated feelings of loss caused by the deaths of American men in the Vietnam War, some thirty-five years later. The film aired on Independent Lens and won the 2004 Emmy for Best Documentary, as well as The Jury Award for Best Documentary at the Los Angeles Film Festival, and a Cine Golden Eagle Award. Tragos participated in a year-long engagement campaign reaching thousands of veterans and their families. Tragos is currently in production on two documentaries that focus on the challenges facing girls in America: one from the perspective of a vulnerable teenage mother and her son in the Midwest; the other from the perspective of girls at a private school in Brentwood, California, who are being groomed to be leaders. Tragos’s work has received support from the Sundance Institute, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, ITVS, and others. She is a Film Independent Documentary Lab and Sundance Lab alumnae, participating as both a director and a producer. In 2014, Tragos was one of six filmmakers invited to participate in Sundance’s Women Filmmakers Initiative. Tragos holds a B.A. in writing in fiction from Northwestern University and an M.F.A. in screenwriting from USC. Show less


    Andrew Palermo

    Andrew Droz Palermo, a Missouri native, is currently in post-production on his narrative feature debut titled One & Two, a dark fairy tale following two kids with unusual abilities. Moving fluidly between directing and cinematography, in early 2014 he shot Hannah Fidell’s 6 Years, produced by Mark Duplass. He was tapped as one of Filmmaker Show more Magazine's "25 New Faces of Independent Film of 2013," and served as cinematographer on films such as You're Next (directed by Adam Wingard), A Teacher (directed by Hannah Fidell), and Black Metal (directed by Kat Candler). Palermo currently lives in Los Angeles. Show less

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    The Film

    Rich Hill, Missouri, population 1393, is 70 miles south of Kansas City and 15 miles east of the Kansas border. Once a thriving mining town, Rich Hill’s decline began when the coal was mined out shortly after World War II. Today, like many other small towns in America, it has fallen on hard times, as have the families who still call it home.

    Rich Hill goes inside the homes and lives of small town America, where kids confront heartbreaking choices, marginalized parents struggle to survive, and families cling to the promise of equal opportunity and a better life — someday. The film follows three teenage boys, Andrew, Harley, and Appachey, as they struggle with isolation, broken families, and lack of opportunity, providing an immersive and realistic picture of growing up poor in America.