Tag Archives: Mining

The Kingmaker – Don Blankenship (2005)

30m; U.S.

Synopsis: This documentary focuses on Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship. Anna Sale of West Virginia Public Broadcasting produced “The Kingmaker.” It first aired Nov. 3, 2005, as part of the program “Outlook” on West Virginia PBS.

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Posted by on June 13, 2012 in Documentary



The Oldest New River (1980)

21m; U.S.

Synopsis: A trip back in time to the early days of the New River Community, Thurmond, WV. Once a larger raildroad town than Cincinatti, Thurmond and the local area was a booming coal mining region. Many of the buildings no longer exist. Slowly, the area is slipping into the growing forest. See film “Thurmond.” Background: In 1980 Steve Fesenmaier and Ken Sullivan traveled to John Dragon’s Class IV whitewater company on the New River. Dragon gave them a U-matic video copy of a recent TV show made in North Carolina about Thurmond. Fesenmaier and film archivist Richard Fauss worked together to have the film transferred to 16 mm film for showing around the state.



The Proud Valley (1940)

76m; U.S.

Director: Pen Tennyson

Cast: Paul RobesonEdward Chapman and Simon Lack

Synopsis: Paul Robeson stars as a black miner in Wales. Filmed on location in the South Wales coalfield the heart of the main coal mining region of Wales, Proud Valley documents the hard realities of Welsh coal miners’ lives. Robeson’s part is based on the real-life adventures of a Black miner from West Virginia who drifts to Wales by way of England, searching for work. Robeson sings “Deep River” at a Welch music festival.

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Posted by on June 13, 2012 in Drama, Working Class


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Them That Work – How Matewan Inspired a State (2009)

3:12; U.S.

Director: Jason Brown

Synopsis: Documentary about John Sayles’s “Matewan.” Features interviews with John Sayles, Chris Cooper, David Straithairn, and others.




These Hands (1992)

45 minutes, 1992, Tanzania, Africa
Director: Flora M’mbugu-Schelling
in Kimakonde and Swahili with English subtitles

Who would have suspected that a 45 minute documentary about women crushing rocks, without narration or plot, would offer one of the most unforgettable and rewarding experiences of recent African cinema? Flora M’mbugu-Schelling’s quiet tribute to women at the very bottom of the international economic order ultimately deepens into a mediation on human labor itself. These Hands will stimulate viewers to rethink documentary and to question their own role as consumers in a global economy.



Thurmond, West Virginia (1996)

22m; U.S.

Director: Laura Harrison

Synopsis: This films documents the falling fortunes of Thurmond, a coal town. Thurmond was once a thriving community, yet today it stands as a ghost town in the making. It was also the main filming location for John Sayles’ film “Matewan.”  This film, directed by Laura Harrison, looks at the history the town, while subtly probing deeper issues about the importance of community and the identity of a place.



To Save the Land and the People (1999)

59m; U.S.

Director: Anne Lewis

Synopsis: Strip or “surface” mining – where coal is blasted and scraped from the mountain surface – increased dramatically in the Appalachian region in 1961 when the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) signed contracts to buy over 16 million tons of strip-mined coal. Though cheaper for the buyer than deep-mined coal, the damage done by strip mining was far reaching and had immediate impact on coalfield residents. To Save the Land and People is a history of the early grassroots efforts to stop strip mining in eastern Kentucky, where “broad form” deeds, signed at the beginning of the 20th Century, were used by coal operators to destroy the surface land without permission or compensation of the surface owner. The program focuses on the Appalachian Group to Save the Land and People, whose members used every means possible – from legal petitions and local ordinances, to guns and dynamite – to fight strip mining. The documentary makes a powerful statement about the land and how we use it, and how its misuse conflicts with local cultures and values.

Contact: Anne Lewis 512-656-0507 (cell)