FRONTLINE: Country Boys Series

Lectures curated around FRONTLINE: Country Boys, a universal coming-of-age story told through the eyes two teenage boys struggling to find meaning and direction as they grow up in the Appalachian hills of Eastern Kentucky.

Filmed over three years (1999-2002), FRONTLINE: Country Boys tracks the dramatic stories of Chris and Cody from ages 15 to 18. With the same intimate cinematic technique and sound design that distinguished The Farmer's Wife, Sutherland's new film bears witness to the two boys' struggles to overcome the poverty and family dysfunction of their childhoods in a quest for a brighter future. This film also offers unexpected insights into a forgotten corner of rural America that is at once isolated and connected, a landscape dotted with roughshod trailer homes and wired with DSL.

Cody Perkins is an orphan. His mother's postpartum suicide left the infant boy in the care of his father, who, 12 years later, killed his seventh wife before turning the gun on himself. Bounced around among relatives he barely knew, Cody eventually chose to live with his former step-grandmother, Liz McGuire, who took the troubled boy into her home. "My daughter married Cody's father. She was his fourth wife [and] I fell in love with Cody," Liz recalls. "When Cody's father passed away, he went to live with his aunt. They couldn't get along, and Cody said, 'I want to move in with Liz.' So he's been with me [ever since]." Offering unconditional love and strict maternal guidance, Liz helps transform Cody from an angry, depressed child into a compassionate young adult.

Chris Johnson lives in a rundown trailer in a Kentucky "holler" with his mother, Sheila, a high school dropout who cleans hotel rooms for a living, and his father, Randall, an alcoholic with terminal cirrhosis of the liver. With his mother often absent and his father lost in an alcoholic haze, Chris finds himself thrust into the role of both mother and father, cooking, cleaning, and taking care of his younger siblings. He also supports the family financially with the monthly Social Security disability check he receives for his learning disorders.

Lectures curated around FRONTLINE: Country Boys, a universal coming-of-age story told through the eyes two teenage boys struggling to find meaning and direction as they grow up in the Appalachian hills of Eastern Kentucky.

Filmed over three years (1999-2002), FRONTLINE: Country Boys tracks the dramatic stories of Chris and Cody from ages 15 to 18. With the same intimate cinematic technique and sound design that distinguished The Farmer's Wife, Sutherland's new film bears witness to the two boys' struggles to overcome the poverty and family dysfunction of their childhoods in a quest for a brighter future. This film also offers unexpected insights into a forgotten corner of rural America that is at once isolated and connected, a landscape dotted with roughshod trailer homes and wired with DSL.

Cody Perkins is an orphan. His mother's postpartum suicide left the infant boy in the care of his father, who, 12 years later, killed his seventh wife before turning the gun on himself. Bounced around among relatives he barely knew, Cody eventually chose to live with his former step-grandmother, Liz McGuire, who took the troubled boy into her home. "My daughter married Cody's father. She was his fourth wife [and] I fell in love with Cody," Liz recalls. "When Cody's father passed away, he went to live with his aunt. They couldn't get along, and Cody said, 'I want to move in with Liz.' So he's been with me [ever since]." Offering unconditional love and strict maternal guidance, Liz helps transform Cody from an angry, depressed child into a compassionate young adult.

Chris Johnson lives in a rundown trailer in a Kentucky "holler" with his mother, Sheila, a high school dropout who cleans hotel rooms for a living, and his father, Randall, an alcoholic with terminal cirrhosis of the liver. With his mother often absent and his father lost in an alcoholic haze, Chris finds himself thrust into the role of both mother and father, cooking, cleaning, and taking care of his younger siblings. He also supports the family financially with the monthly Social Security disability check he receives for his learning disorders.