‘Beauty Beneath the Dirt’ features Beverly woman
May 30, 2012 3:28PM
"Beauty Beneath the Dirt" features Emily "Lightning" Ginger (from left), of Chicago's Beverly community; Jason "Monkey" Imp and Kate "Ringleader" Imp hiking the Appalachian Trail.
Updated: July 3, 2012 12:57PM
What happens when you put a lawyer, an Ivy League graduate and a city chick on the Appalachian Trail?
One can find out at 7:30 p.m. June 5 when Chicago lawyer and filmmaker Katherine Imp screens her new film, “Beauty
Beneath the Dirt” at the Portage Theater.
The film is a far cry from the typical outdoor adventure travelogue. Unlike other Appalachian Trail documentaries that focus on camp life and the natural environment, director Imp takes a raw and uninhibited look at what happens to the mind, body and soul during the course of a 2,178.3-mile journey.
“I’ve always had a fascination with nature’s ability to transform, ever since my days of working for Outward Bound,” Imp said. “And though none of us were looking to be ‘transformed,’ I knew that five months on the trail would change each of us in some way. And I wanted to capture that change on film.”
Imp was joined on the trail by her brother Brandon, a 21-year-old Ivy League grad fresh out of college, and her best
friend Emily Ginger, a 23-year-old “city chick” who is from Chicago’s Beverly community.
“When Kate says she’s going to do something, she does it,” coproducer Jason Furrer said. “So when she told me she was making a film and wanted me to coproduce I was like, ‘Where do I sign-up?’ ”
“I knew from the beginning that I couldn’t compete with one of those National Geographic films with the helicopter views and the close-ups of wild animals. I mean, let’s be real here, my initial budget was less than $15K,” Imp said. “Helicopter views weren’t happening.”
Though the film itself was self-financed, Imp, her brother and Ginger obtained a number of sponsorships prior to hiking the trail to help with the cost of the trip.
Sponsors include some of the nation’s leading outdoor food and clothing companies such as Clif Bar, Superfeet, PrAna, Minute Rice, and Bumble Bee.
“Would I make another film?” Imp said. “Ha, I mean, making this film was one of the most stressful experiences of my life, even more stressful than law school if you can believe that. But … if Jason is available … and we have a workable budget … absolutely, not a doubt in my mind.”
The June 5 screening of “Beauty Beneath the Dirt” at the Portage Theater, 4050 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago, (773) 736-4050, will be followed by a question-and-answer session with director and executive producer Imp.
Admission is $10.
A bit of background
Here’s a look at Ginger’s beautybeneaththedirt.com biography:
“Emily was born and raised on the South Side of Chicago in the city proper.
“After high school, she spent a year at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign majoring in psychology.
“Finding Champaign a poor fit for her interests, Emily spent the following year living in San Francisco while working on environmental and human rights campaigns for a national nonprofit organization.
“Emily then moved back to Chicago, enrolled at the University of Illinois at Chicago and picked up a job as a cocktail waitress at a high-end concert venue in the city.
“Through a city chick at heart, Emily has always had a love for the outdoors. Some of her fondest memories growing up involve family vacations to various state and national parks around the country.
“Thus, when Kate proposed the idea of hiking the Appalachian Trail, Emily knew she couldn’t pass up the opportunity to spend five months in the outdoors.
“Though initially reluctant to leave school before obtaining her undergraduate degree, Emily eventually decided to quit her job, end her apartment lease and take a one-semester leave of absence from school to hike the Appalachian Trail with Kate and her brother.”