Filmmakers win first place at WV FILMmakers Festival

Dr. Peggy Proudfoot Harman and husband/documentarian Jason Harman took home the first-place prize in the Best West Virginia Short Documentary category for their documentary, "George Rashid: The Leper of Pickens" at the WV FILMmakers Festival.

Peggy Harman, an associate professor and director of Marshall University’s Master of Social Work program, said winning first place was unexpected and thrilling.

"There were so many excellent films at the Festival and to be chosen as the Best WV Short Documentary was extremely exciting," Harman said. "This is the first film my husband Jason and I have produced, so we are particularly pleased with the results."

Jason Harman said he decided to go back to college several years ago to pursue degrees in multi-media, video production and film studies. He is currently enrolled in Marshall University’s new video production program and has plans to work on several projects while running a multimedia business – JEHworld Productions.

"We are developing the scripts for several very intriguing stories which were told to us by family members," Harman said. "We hope to both entertain and educate our audiences with stories that helped to shape our lives and the lives of many who grew up in the state."

wvfilmmakerswinner_leperofpickensThe Leper of Pickens documentary will be screened at 7:30 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 20, at Old Time Days in the Halliehurst Dining Room at Davis and Elkins College in Elkins. Harman said Oct. 20 is the date George Rashid was reported to have died.

"This screening is very meaningful because we are quite sure since the case was of the utmost importance to the upper echelon of Elkins, it was most likely talked about in that very dining room in 1906," Harman said.

The Leper of Pickens documentary was funded by the West Virginia Humanities Council and the Marshall University College of Health Professions. To learn more about Harman and her work within the Department of Social Work, visit


Photos: After nine months of filming and editing, Jason Harman and Peggy Proudfoot Harman received first place for their documentary submission for "George Rashid: The Leper of Pickens." The documentary detailed the story of George Rashid, a young Lebanese/Syrian man who was ostracized for the lesions on his skin.