Visual Arts

Want to see the Kentucky film scooping up awards at festivals? The premiere is here.

A new independent film written by a Kentuckian, starring Kentuckians, inspired by Kentucky and taking place in Kentucky will premiere in Lexington.

The Kentucky Theatre will hold a special red carpet screening of “Burning Kentucky,” written, directed and produced by Lexington native Bethany Brooke Anderson, on July 25 at the Kentucky Theatre. There will be a question and answer session with Anderson and the cast afterward.

According to Anderson, more than 75 percent of the cast and crew are Kentucky natives and 90 percent of the film was shot in Kentucky.

The film stars Lexington native Emilie Dhir, 20, who plays the leading role of Aria. In the film, Aria is from Eastern Kentucky, and tragedy strikes at a young age, killing her whole family. The film goes on to show how Aria has dealt with the loss of her family, while trying to figure out what happened that day.

Writer and director Anderson moved to Los Angeles after graduating from the University of Kentucky’s theater department. She started her career in film as an actress, picking up small roles here and there. After spending some time in LA, she realized that people had an incorrect notion of Kentucky, so she wanted to make a film that takes place in the state from a Kentuckian’s perspective.

“I feel like Hollywood has tackled the region many times in a very outside perspective,” Anderson said. “So I feel like our perspective was very internal.”

Since the release of “Burning Kentucky” in February, the film has won awards at the Mammoth Film Festival, the Garden State Film Festival, the Chattanooga Film Festival and the Richmond International Film Festival.

burning kentucky movie poster.jpg
The “Burning Kentucky” movie poster. The movie, that was directed, written and produced by native Lexingtonian Bethany Brooke Anderson, will have a one night only screening at the Kentucky Theatre on July 25. photo provided.

“I wanted to create a story that dealt with religion and law and outlaws, and saw the good and bad in all of them,” Anderson said. “I feel like Kentucky has such a duality, so for me ‘Burning Kentucky’ was expressing both my love for Kentucky, and also the pain in Kentucky.”

If you go: “Burning Kentucky” premiere

When: 7 p.m. July 25

Where: The Kentucky Theatre, 214 East Main Street, Lexington

Tickets: $16.75; available online at or at the box office.

Louisville, Speed Art Museum Cinema

July 21, 8 p.m.

July 22, 6 p.m.

July 24, 6 p.m.

Tickets can be purchased at

Paducah, Maiden Alley Cinema

July 26, 7 p.m.

July 27, 4 p.m. & 7 p.m.

July 28, 4 p.m. & 7 p.m.

July 29, 7 p.m.

July 30, 7 p.m.

Tickets can be purchased at