On Coal River

Described by Variety as a story of “Hillbilly Davids” besting a “corporate Goliath”, On Coal River does an extraordinary job of capturing the struggles of ordinary people fighting to save what remains of an Appalachian valley that they and their families have called home for generations. In the process, it beautifully captures the true human and environmental costs of “cheap”, dirty energy.

Directors

Francine Cavanaugh and Adams Wood

Country

USA

Year

2011

Running Time

81 mins

Watch the Film

oncoalriver.com

   

SFGFF Film Program:


On_Coal_River.jpgEd Wiley is a former coal miner and is emblematic of the culture of the Appalachian Region – rugged, opinionated, community-minded, and unwilling to back down in the face of steep odds. Described by Variety as a story of “Hillbilly Davids” besting a “corporate Goliath”, On Coal River follows Wiley and his allies as they wage a campaign to relocate an elementary school which his granddaughter attends that is threatened by the likelihood that a pond containing toxic coal waste will engulf it when an aging retaining wall eventually fails. It also follows the story of ex-Marine Bo Webb, who is angry over the despoliation of the valley he loves by coal companies that engage in mountain top removal. The full environmental impacts of this practice, however, are felt by people like Maria Lambert and her neighbors, who have had their drinking water contaminated as a result. Giving time to both sides of the issue, the filmmakers of On Coal River do an extraordinary job of capturing the struggles of ordinary people fighting to save what remains of a valley that they and their families have called home for generations. In the process, they beautifully capture the true human and environmental costs of “cheap”, dirty energy.

Screening: March 3, 2012 at New People Cinema.