• Bob Vlach, Woodford Sun Staff 16

Kirchner’s KET film nominated for regional Emmy award

MARION MILEY, pictured with her parents, was murdered at the Lexington Golf Club in September 1941. Independent writer, producer and director Beth Kirchner documented the 27-year-old golfer’s life and tragic death in a documentary nominated for an Ohio Valley Regional Emmy Award. (Photo submitted)

A one-hour documentary produced by longtime Woodford Theatre artistic director Beth Kirchner has been nominated for an Ohio Valley Regional Emmy Award. “I was thrilled to be nominated,” said Kirchner, an independent writer, producer and director who has lived in Woodford County since 1994. “Any recognition by your peers in your profession is significant.” Nominees for Ohio Valley Regional Emmy Awards earn points from judges (writers, producers and directors in another region of the country) for TV programs that air in the Ohio Valley region. Kirchner wrote, produced and directed “Forgotten Fame: The Marion Miley Story” for Kentucky Educational Television. KET first aired the documentary last Sept. 29. The tragic circumstances of Marion Miley’s murder at the Lexington Golf Club in September 1941 and its aftermath “was certainly a compelling component,” of this story, but Kirchner chose to focus her documentary on a 27-year-old golfer’s achievements in life. “Someone being murdered in a senseless crime is not in itself a great story to tell,” Kirchner said. “So I had to figure out what were the compelling components of this story. What made it worth telling?” During countless hours of research, Kirchner concluded, “It was her life that was special – not her death.”

BETH KIRCHNER, an independent writer, producer and director, who lives in Woodford County, was nominated for an Ohio Valley Regional Emmy Award for the KET documentary “Forgotten Fame: The Marion Miley Story.” (Photo submitted)

In her documentary, she wanted to focus on Marion Miley and her exceptional achievements as an internationally renowned golfer who helped pave the way for future generations of golfers – and women. “She really was courageous in an era (when women being in the workforce) wasn’t common at all. This was before World War II, before Rosie the Riveter, before women were in the workplace. She was really on the cutting edge of” this change “…that made it easier for others that came behind her,” said Kirchner. Kirchner relied on Marion Miley’s diary, newspaper accounts and interviews with two men – one well into his 90s – for insight into her life and her extraordinary skills as a golfer. She read police reports and trial transcripts to take viewers back to the Lexington Golf Club where Miley was murdered and back to the courtroom where three men were convicted of killing her and mortally wounding her mother, Elsa. Kirchner described her extensive background as a stage director as a significant factor in KET hiring her to produce “The Marion Miley Story,” which relied on reenactments to take viewers back to 1941 Lexington. Kirchner is currently doing research – tracking down photos and archival material – for another documentary that will air on KET. “Black in Blue” tells the story of four African-American football players at the University of Kentucky who broke the SEC’s color barrier in 1967. It’s being produced by American Focus and directed by Paul Wagner, an Academy Award-winning independent filmmaker. Next February, Kirchner returns to Woodford Theatre to direct “Enchanted April,” which excites her. “I’m really looking forward to doing some theatre again,” she said. “…I love sitting in the audience and being a part of a live audience reacting to the work that we’ve been doing on the stage – to see what hits, what misses. I miss that.” One of 19 regional chapters of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, the Ohio Valley Regional Emmy Awards recognize television programs that air regionally in four states: Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio and West Virginia. Winners will be recognized during its annual awards gala on Aug. 5 in Lawrenceburg, Ind., which Kirchner said she may not attend because she doesn’t like “the attention on me.” She does appreciate being nominated for an Emmy and being asked to tell Marion Miley’s life story. Storytelling has been in her life since she was a young girl in Louisville growing up with nine siblings. “I liked to reenact the important events in my (eight) older siblings’ lives,” recalled Kirchner. “…I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t” telling stories.

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