The REAL Mayberry is a portrait of the past, present, and future of Andy Griffith’s hometown of Mt. Airy, NC. In some ways, Mt. Airy is still the quaint, beautiful town where Andy grew up—the rural ideal immortalized in The Andy Griffith Show. But like thousands of small towns across America, it has a struggling economy and a declining population. Though it is still suffering after the abrupt loss of 10,000 factory jobs a few decades ago, dedicated residents are doing everything they can to save Mt. Airy. Can this small town in the foothills of North Carolina move forward in the 21st century, and pave the way for other small towns to do the same? Juxtaposing scenes from The Andy Griffith Show with current footage, The REAL Mayberry introduces us to a new cast of quirky characters who are breathing new life into their beloved hometown. We meet Emmett Forrest and Tanya Jones, who created an event called “Mayberry Days” to recognize the 30th anniversary of the show. Twenty-five years later, the event is still going strong and has helped revive tourism and Mt. Airy’s downtown. Gene Rees is a quiet leader who is helping restore the downtown while continuing to hold down the fort at the local clothing store his father started. Marty Nester runs a highly profitable wool sock company and Gabriel Torres is an immigrant from Mexico who runs a successful carport company. We also meet two young couples who are using art, ecotourism, and an innovative lifestyle marketing campaign to make a big impact on the community.

Director | Bill Hayes