Video captures spirit of Asheville

Katie Brugger and Arthur Hancock set out to capture Asheville on video, and a funny thing happened along the way.

Getting in the spirit: Highlands filmmakers Katie Brugger and Arthur Hancock fell in love with Asheville during the making of The Spirit of Asheville and plan to move the city in the next few months.

The couple created the DVD The Spirit of Asheville, which they filmed over the course of a year. And they fell in love — with Asheville.

"We're planning on moving there in December," Hancock says.

That will be a big move for Brugger and Hancock, who have been living in Highlands for 20 years. For the last 12, the couple has been producing nature videos. They own the independent video production company Time Capsule Video, and they've produced everything from a North Carolina mountain DVD series to a weekly magazine-format cable television show about Highlands called Heart of High Country.

Nearly two years ago, Brugger and Hancock were talking to the manager of the gift shop at the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce. The shop had been playing their nature videos on a big plasma television in the shop, and the manager mentioned that visitors were often asking to buy a DVD about Asheville, but there wasn't one for sale. The idea for the video was born on the spot, Brugger says.

The couple set out to create what Hancock says would have been a typical "commercial video" with standard shots and a soundtrack. But the more Brugger and Hancock got to know Asheville, the more they decided to try something different.

"We decided the soundtrack for the DVD would just be people talking about what they like about Asheville," Hancock says.

After shooting hours upon hours of architectural features, people on the street and events like the weekly drum circle, the two edited the footage down to a 73-minute video that they believe captures the essence of the eclectic city.

"We just love people so much, and we think everybody has a story," Hancock says. "When we're on a project like this, if it works for us, we include it and it's hard to cut it off."

Brugger says she and Hancock are passionate about art and philosophy, which she says comes through in the video.

"Everybody is beautiful and everything is beautiful," Brugger says, encapsulating their approach. And in terms of finding the spirit of the city, both Brugger and Hancock say it's epitomized in the Friday-night drum circles held in Pritchard Park.

"There's an aura of acceptance and open-mindedness that's so missing" in other places, Hancock says. Brugger quickly adds, "That's what I love about Asheville — it's challenging, it's exciting."

Go to www.spiritofasheville to watch a clip from the movie, which is on sale at for $19.95 and available at several area stores, including Malaprop's bookstore, The Compleat Naturalist in Biltmore Village and the chamber's visitor center.


Thanks for reading through to the end…

We share your inclination to get the whole story. For the past 25 years, Xpress has been committed to in-depth, balanced reporting about the greater Asheville area. We want everyone to have access to our stories. That’s a big part of why we've never charged for the paper or put up a paywall.

We’re pretty sure that you know journalism faces big challenges these days. Advertising no longer pays the whole cost. Media outlets around the country are asking their readers to chip in. Xpress needs help, too. We hope you’ll consider signing up to be a member of Xpress. For as little as $5 a month — the cost of a craft beer or kombucha — you can help keep local journalism strong. It only takes a moment.

Before you comment

The comments section is here to provide a platform for civil dialogue on the issues we face together as a local community. Xpress is committed to offering this platform for all voices, but when the tone of the discussion gets nasty or strays off topic, we believe many people choose not to participate. Xpress editors are determined to moderate comments to ensure a constructive interchange is maintained. All comments judged not to be in keeping with the spirit of civil discourse will be removed and repeat violators will be banned. See here for our terms of service. Thank you for being part of this effort to promote respectful discussion.

Leave a Reply

To leave a reply you may Login with your Mountain Xpress account, connect socially or enter your name and e-mail. Your e-mail address will not be published. All fields are required.