RiverRun and HanesBrands Partner for Debut of "Crop to Campus" Documentary

Katy Powers at Sydney Parker at El Salvador HanesBrands Sewing Facilty.png
Katy Powers at Sydney Parker at El Salvador HanesBrands Sewing Facilty.png

WINSTON-SALEM, NC (OCTOBER 2, 2020)—The RiverRun International Film Festival and HanesBrands are partnering for the debut screening of “Crop to Campus,” a short documentary that is a behind-the-scenes look at what goes into the production of a responsibly made T-shirt. The screening will be at on Thursday, October 8 and will be available to view at no cost for two weeks as part of RiverRun’s virtual theater.

To create the documentary, HanesBrands asked three university students to follow the supply chain of its ComfortWash apparel line and experience each step along the way, from a cotton farm in eastern North Carolina, to a yarn-spinning facility in Tennessee, to its state-of-the-art cut, sew and dye facilities in El Salvador.

The three students featured in the documentary during its filming in 2019 were seniors at the Wilson College of Textiles at North Carolina State University, one of the preeminent textile programs in the country. The students, who are now graduates, are Mamie Trigg of Austin, TX, Katy Powers of Charlotte, NC, and Sydney Parker of Lexington, NC.

“The idea was to let the students immerse themselves in the experience and let them share their perspective via social media,” said Michael Johnson, director of marketing for Hanes Activewear. “But we quickly realized, from their excitement and energy, that documenting the experience in a larger way could be a great story in itself.”

“We are really excited that RiverRun will be the first to show this film. RiverRun is a true gem and widely admired. Sustainability means different things to different people, and we all still have a lot to learn,” Johnson said. “RiverRun is a great venue to help spark thought and conversation.”

Johnson reached out to documentary filmmaker Rod Murphy to follow the students from “Crop to Campus.” Murphy, based in Asheville, NC, has won 14 awards for his first four documentary feature films and has been screened at RiverRun.

“This was a great project primarily because of the openness of everyone involved, and no topics were off the table,” filmmaker Rod Murphy said. “As seniors the students came into this project at a crossroads where they are passionate about textiles and apparel, but deeply concerned about fashion’s impact on the future of the planet.”

Starting with David Grant, an iconic fifth-generation farmer in eastern North Carolina, Grant and the students talked about water conservation, limited pesticide usage, science, and politics. In El Salvador, the students asked questions about responsible sourcing, global footprint and living wages.

The students were also very hands-on. They walked the cotton farm on a dry, 90+ degree day in the middle of harvest, learning that cotton grown in that area is the most sustainably grown cotton in the world. They worked machinery alongside cutters and sewers and pulled fabric from huge state-of-the-art dyeing machines. They toured the on-site biomass and water treatment facilities, seeing firsthand the water returned to local waterways cleaner than initially collected. They spent a lunch hour volunteering with employees at an after-school program designed to engage and support at-risk youth. Then they designed, had printed, and wore the shirts produced from that exact supply chain. At the very end, the students met with senior leadership at HanesBrands to share their insights about the experience and what was important to them.

According to the students, one of the biggest takeaways was the meaning of the word “sustainable” and how it encompasses “transparency” and “responsibility.” “A lot of people when they think of sustainability, they think it’s an item that’s been recycled or reused,” said then-student Sydney Parker. “I now know that there is an ethical and human aspect to it.”


The sponsors of the 2020 RiverRun International Film Festival help sustain the organization's mission to foster a greater appreciation of cinema and a deeper understanding of the many people, cultures and perspectives of our world through regular interaction with great films and filmmakers. Festival sponsors include:

Title Sponsors – Reynolds American, The Arts Council of Winston-Salem and Forsyth County, Wake Forest University, and UNCSA; Presenting Sponsors – City of Winston-Salem, Shift Creative, Nelson Mullins, Millennium Fund, MullenLowe Mediahub, and Wells Fargo

Marquee Sponsors –Forsyth County, Parkway Lincoln, PNC, Salem Smiles Orthodontics, Visit Winston-Salem, and Kilpatrick, Townsend & Stockton

About RiverRun

The RiverRun International Film Festival is a non-profit cultural organization dedicated to the role of cinema as a conduit of powerful ideas and diverse viewpoints. Founded in 1998, RiverRun is a competitive event that annually showcases new films from both established and emerging filmmakers around the world. Each spring, RiverRun screens new narrative, documentary, short, student and animated films, offering both audience and jury prizes in competition categories.

About HanesBrands

HanesBrands (NYSE: HBI), based in Winston-Salem, N.C., is a socially responsible leading marketer of everyday basic innerwear and activewear apparel in the Americas, Europe, Australia and Asia-Pacific. The company sells its products under some of the world’s strongest apparel brands, including Hanes, Champion, Bonds, DIM, Maidenform, Bali, Playtex, Lovable, Bras N Things, Nur Die/Nur Der, Alternative, L’eggs, JMS/Just My Size, Wonderbra, Berlei,and Gear for Sports. The company sells T-shirts, bras, panties, shapewear, underwear, socks, hosiery, and activewear produced in the company’s low-cost global supply chain. A Fortune 500 company and member of the S&P 500 stock index (NYSE: HBI), Hanes has approximately 63,000 employees in more than 40 countries. For more information, visit the company’s corporate website at and newsroom at Connect with the company via social media: Twitter (@hanesbrands), Facebook (, Instagram (@hanesbrands), and LinkedIn (@Hanesbrandsinc).