Dolly Parton is an American icon. As such, she is regularly interviewed by national and international media. The bulk of these interviews focus on her music, image, or whatever project she is currently working on. At the end of nearly every interview, Ms. Parton is usually asked about her foundation – The Dollywood Foundation – and the work it does related to children’s literacy. Our film, 100 Million Stories, will turn this throw-away question into a feature-length documentary discussion the history, impact and future of Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library.
Unbeknownst to most, Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library is one of the largest, non-governmental children’s literacy programs in the world. Its objective is simple: to provide free, age-appropriate books to children from birth to age 5. Since its launch in 1996, the Imagination Library has grown from a program operating in a single county in Tennessee to operating in all 50 states and 4 countries. In March of 2018, the Imagination Library will deliver its 100 millionth free book. Our film will use this event as a backdrop to introduce the viewer to the Imagination Library, demonstrate its unprecedented scale and scope, and discuss the important effects the program has on the children and families that receive books from the “Book Lady.” The film will feature interviews with recipients of the books, parents, policy makers, authors, program organizers, and the legend herself, Dolly Parton.
100 Million Stories is being produced by Land Grant Films, a documentary production program housed in the School of Journalism and Electronic Media at the University of Tennessee. Land Grant Film’s mission is to provide University of Tennessee students with real-world experience in documentary storytelling while providing local non-profit organizations with videos assets that can be used to raise awareness and funds. Land Grant Films’ documentaries have been aired on Knoxville’s NBC and PBS affiliates, screened in film festivals, and won numerous awards. All of our films are created by University of Tennessee students or involve students in key crew positions.