"Article in the Gazz" by Steve Fesenmaier


WV filmmaker Chip Hitchcock finishing film based on Davis Grubb story

Chip Hitchcock shooting his film based on a short story by Davis Grubb

Chip Hitchcock is one of the state’s most active filmmakers, working on both WVPBS projects and many others including Mike Lilly’s landmark indie feature, “Correct Change.”(2002) Most recently, WVPBS aired his “Bridgeport to Baghdad” documentary about WV military traveling from their homes in WV to Iraq. One of his many other projects includes a film version of Davis Grubb’s story (posted) “The Man Who Stole the Moon.” ( Interesting article about Grubb’s “weird” stories.)

It seems that there is a renewed interest in the life and times of Davis Grubb. Several years ago Kate Long won national awards for her radio documentary series, “In Their Own Country” about some of WV’s greatest writers including Grubb. Hopefully, this summer Prof. Thomas Douglass’ biography of Grubb will finally get published.

Northwestern University Press recently published Jeffrey Couchman’s book, “The Night of the Hunter - A Biography of a Film.”

WV filmmakers Bob Wilkinson and Rober Tinnell are working on a documentary about the source of the story Grubb used in “Hunter,” Harry Powers of Clarksburg. ( They recently finished a great new doc on Clarksburg UFO man, Gray Barker, called “Shades of Gray.”) Grubb spent his last year’s living in Clarksburg with great assistance from Merle Moore. His family was forced to moved to Clarksburg after his family was evicted from the family home in Moundsville.)

Hitchcock hopes to have his Grubb film finished in time for the 2009 WV Filmmakers Festival held in Sutton. I hope that he does. Maybe Prof. Douglass will even be able to give a presentation at that event as he once did several years ago when he spoke about his book “A Room Forever,” about another great WV author, Breece Pancake. His presentation was given in support of a showing of Russ Barbour’s unique film on Pancake that received an award that year. ( The ONLY extended film made about Breece Pancake was recently shown in primetime WVPBS for the first time since it was made in 1989. ”Elegy - The Life and Work of Breece D’J Pancake” is a shorter student film made about Pancake that uses some of his footage. The shorter film won an award at the 2004 Rural Route Film Festival.)

I contacted Brad Stalnaker of WVU who co-directed the great WV animated film, “The Griffin and the Minor Canon.” He wanted to make an animated version of Grubb’s great Christmas story, “A Tree Full of Stars.” At that time, Grubb’s brother had just died, not leaving a will. As the executor of his brother’s estate, there was no way to get clearance to make the animated film. Presently, Susan Grubb (suzbud@hotmail.com) and her step brother Trevor McNeil are in charge of the Davis Grubb estate. Given Davis Grubb’s great imagination, I for one hope that there are many more people out there who will eventually make film versions of his many books and short stories.

Who knows - maybe someone like Bob Wilkinson and Robert Tinnell will finally make a feature film about WV’s great writer finally? ( I have been trying to get one made since I met Grubb in 1979, attending a party in Clarksburg for one of his works.)

by Steve Fesenmaier

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