CULLOWHEE — A virtual screening of a documentary filmed over the course of 20 years reveals how one man's instinct to create enabled him to succeed against all odds — a journey from garbage dumps and prison camps to festival stages and The Met.

"Thumbs Up for Mother Universe: The Lonnie Holley Story” will be screened on-demand by the Western Carolina University Bardo Arts Center April 26-29.

A pre-recorded Q&A with George King, the film’s director and producer immediately follows the stream.

Born in Jim Crow Alabama, Lonnie Holley was stolen away as an infant and sold for a pint of whiskey. Growing up in grinding poverty and abuse on society’s margins left its scars. At age 28, Holley discovers making things quiets the demons that haunt him to this day.

He begins to make art out of what the rest of us throw away — trash, garbage and debris. Now, nearing 70, his artwork sits in the Smithsonian, the National Gallery and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, while his music has garnered international critical acclaim for its stirring soulful depth.

“Thumbs Up for Mother Universe” tells the story of how Lonnie Holley overcame the longest of odds to become an unlikely art superstar.

The film can be screened for free between April 26-29 by clicking here. Made possible by the Southern Circuit Tour of Independent Filmmakers.