Middleton

Steven Middleton stands next to his camera he used during filming. Photo submitted by Steven Middleton.

A documentary on the 100-year run of the Ruth Hunt Candy Company produced by Steven Middleton will play on KET and their streaming services, including Hulu in late June.

Middleton has spent 15 years producing documentaries on people and places in rural Appalachia, and began filming in October 2020 for Ruth Hunt Candy in Mount Sterling, Kentucky.

“I’ve made 14 films, and the only reason I don’t have 15 is because of Covid,” said Middleton, an instructor of mass communication at Morehead State University. “I’ve been terribly closed up and got cabin fever just because I couldn’t get out and do anything, so I was honored to do it and it gave me something to work on.”

One aspect of the Ruth Hunt Candy Company that drew Middleton to the documentary was the ownership by a woman in post-World War I. It differed from his other documentaries in that he focused on a company instead of an event or place.

“What I think is the most interesting thing, it’s a female-owned business and it’s almost 100 years old which is almost unheard of,” said Middleton, an Elliott County native.

The history of the company existed mainly as folklore and storytelling passed by locals of Mount Sterling. Middleton said folklore can’t work in a documentary.

“You got to separate folklore from the truth, and everyone’s got some story to tell you about the history and it’s not always true,” said Middleton.