Stephen Newton is a writer and independent filmmaker based in southern Appalachia, where he retired in 2006 after a 30-year career as a communications professional. Inspired by his new surroundings, he reinvented himself to pursue writing and filmmaking full-time.
“The mountains isolated this part of the world from mainstream America for decades,” Newton says. “I was here only a short time before I realized that, in many ways, the region is a time capsule, chock full of little known stories and events that have significantly affected our nation’s history.”
In addition to fiction and poetry, Newton has written and published essays, interviews, and articles covering everything from male mid-life crisis to women in technology. He is currently at work on a novel and a collection of short stories..
Newton has also been writing and directing short documentaries about non-profits that make a difference in their communities. His award-winning short film, “We’re All About People,” tells the story of the nation’s oldest community action agency, and the first Head Start program in the country in Poor Valley, Virginia in 1964.
“I approach documentary filmmaking from a writer’s perspective—I start with the question “Why?” and then start filming until I discover the answer.”
In 2014, he released his first feature length documentary film, “Outcasts: Surviving the Culture of Rejection,” which explores the causes and impact of recidivism and mass incarceration. The film was selected for screening at several film festivals, and was aired on East Tennessee PBS twice in prime time..
“Writing and directing films taught me that less is more, and that made me a better writer.”
His second documentary, “One Night in January: Counting the Cost of Homelessness,” examines the causes and consequences of homelessness and is scheduled for release in 2020.