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Billy Bob Thornton, Jason Isbell to act as Southern Storytellers for PBS factual series

Billy Bob Thornton in 1883

US pubcaster PBS is set to launch a three-part factual series that explores southern US identity through the eyes of creatives including actor Billy Bob Thornton and musician Jason Isbell.

Produced by Arkansas PBS and directed by filmmaker Craig Renaud, Southern Storytellers will debut on PBS on July 18. Funding for the series was provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Southern Storytellers interviews a selection of the region’s key creatives to hear how their southern roots inspire the stories they tell in books, songs, poems and plays.

As well as Isbell and Thornton, who recently appeared in western drama 1883, Southern Storytellers features authors Jesmyn Ward, Michael Twitty, Angie Thomas and David Joy, plus screenwriters Qui Nguyen and Michael Waldron.

Courtney Pledger, executive director and CEO of Arkansas PBS, said: “Their experiences are able to engage us, move us and take us to a deeper understanding of such a dynamic place and its people.”

A six-part companion series, Southern Sounds, will premiere on PBS’s YouTube channel on July 11.

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