Run Time: 56 minutes
Director: Tom Hansell
What happens when fossil fuels run out?
How do communities and cultures survive?
After Coal profiles inspiring individuals who are building a new future in the coalfields of eastern Kentucky and South Wales. This hour long documentary invites viewers to the front lines of the transition away from fossil fuels. Coalfield residents who must abandon traditional livelihoods share stories from the front lines of the transition away from fossil fuels.
Meet ex-miners using theater to rebuild community infrastructure, women transforming a former coal board office into an education hub, and young people striving to stay in their home communities. The stories of coalfield residents who must abandon traditional livelihoods illustrate the front lines of the transition away from fossil fuels. Music plays a major role in this documentary essay, linking the two regions and providing cultural continuity that sustains communities through rapid change.
After Coal profiles inspiring individuals who are building a new future in the coalfields of eastern Kentucky and south Wales.
What happens to coal mining communities after the mines shut down? Why do some places survive while others become ghost towns? As a filmmaker who has spent my career living and working in the coalfields of eastern Kentucky, these questions are close to my heart. I have a stake in the communities that are facing the limits of our fossil fueled economy.
To explore the challenges facing communities in transition, I traveled to South Wales, where most coal mines shut down after the 1984-1985 miners’ strike. I met inspiring individuals who have fought to rebuild their communities. Their commitment to place reminded me of my friends in central Appalachia. During my travels, I learned that there is not a simple solution to rebuilding coalfield communities. However, the places that survive have diverse leadership, democratic institutions, and support local culture.
Throughout this documentary, music from the mountains of central Appalachia and the valleys of South Wales reveals the deep bonds that have allowed these two cultures to survive in the harshest of conditions. I believe that comparing the Welsh and Appalachian experience with coal will help all of us see a future beyond fossil fuels.
After Coal’s roots reach to 1974, when Appalachian scholar Helen Matthews Lewis spent two years in Wales researching coalfield communities. Together with sociologist John Gaventa and filmmaker Richard Greatrex, the team made over 150 videotapes of daily life in South Wales. The Center for Appalachian Studies at Appalachian State University has facilitated over three decades of exchange between the two regions.
The Welsh coalfields were shut down in the 1980’s, eliminating more than 20,000 jobs. Meanwhile, the Appalachian coalfields lost over 20,000 mining jobs between 1994 and 2014. Both regions have survived disasters associated with mining production and waste disposal, and each have explored strategies for remembering the past while looking to the future.
Hi Resolution Photos Available: aftercoal.com/photos
Cinematographer Suzanne Clouzeau records an interview with Geraint Lewis near Abercraf, Wales.
Ann Schertz directs the Higher Ground Chorus in Harlan County, Kentucky.
Shoppers at the farmers market stroll outside a former miners’ club in Ystradgynlais, Wales.
Former coal miners Rutland Melton and Carl Shoupe participate in the Appalachia’s Bright Future conference in Harlan, Kentucky.
What does sustainability mean?
How do businesses in your community model sustainability? How could they improve?
What is the environmental legacy of coal mining?
How can can environmental reclamation support economic development?
What are historic problems in coalfield communities?
What pieces of coalfield history should never be forgotten?
Music and Culture
What musical heritage is important to you or to your current community?
In what ways can music inspire change?
After Coal director Tom Hansell’s documentary work has been broadcast nationally on public television and has screened at international film festivals. Hansell’s documentary Coal Bucket Outlaw was broadcast on public television in 30 states. His most recent documentary, The Electricity Fairy, screened at the Museum of Modern Art in New York in 2010 and was selected by the SouthArts for the Southern Circuit tour of independent filmmakers. After Coal is Hansell’s first international project.
Patricia Beaver is a producer of the After Coal project. As director of the Center for Appalachian Studies at Appalachian State University, she coordinated the groundbreaking Appalachian Land Ownership Study in 1978, hosted an exchange of Welsh miners in 1979, and started a Welsh study abroad program in 2001.
Associate Producer Angela Wiley grew up in West Virginia and is a Librarian and filmmaker based out of Pittsburgh, PA. She assisted with post-production, develops outreach materials, and manages digital tools for After Coal.
After Coal is a project of the Center for Appalachian Studies at Appalachian State University. Fiscal sponsorship for the film is provided by The Southern Appalachian Labor School and the Southern Documentary Fund.
After Coal is funded in part by the Chorus Foundation, West Virginia Humanities Council, and United States Artists.
For Immediate Release: Date Media Contact: Tom Hansell
TO SCREEN AT YOUR SCREENING LOCATION
WITH SPECIAL APPEARANCE BY SPECIAL GUESTS
“After Coal” profiles inspiring individuals who are building a new future in the coalfields of eastern Kentucky and South Wales. This documentary invites viewers to the front lines of the transition away from fossil fuels. The stories of coalfield residents who must abandon traditional livelihoods resonates with viewers across the country who face a dramatically changing economy.
WHAT: Film screening and discussion of After Coal
WHERE: EVENT NAME, LOCATION ADDRESS
WHEN: DATE & TIME
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DETAILS: Free and open to the public; for more information, call or e-mail
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After Coal, a documentary essay, explores the Welsh and Appalachian experience with coal, profiling inspiring individuals who are creating a new future for these hard hit communities. Viewers will meet former miners using theater to rebuild community infrastructure and spirit, women who moved from supporting striking miners to creating their own future, and young people striving stay in their home communities. Music and language specific to each culture underscores stories of tragedy laced with hope, revealing the uncommon strength that has allowed these two cultures to survive in the harshest of conditions. I believe that comparing the Welsh and Appalachian experience with coal will help us see a future beyond fossil fuels.
The roots of the After Coal project date to 1974, when political sociologist John Gaventa initiated a video exchange and conversation between coal miners in Wales and Appalachia. Appalachian scholar Helen Lewis expanded the exchange when she moved to Wales in 1975 to research coal mining culture. Working with filmmaker Richard Greatrex, Gaventa and Lewis made over 150 videotapes of daily life in South Wales. Historian Hywel Francis helped provide support for the team.
This screening is sponsored by SPONSORING ORGANIZATION(S) NAME(S), which are working to achieve ORGANIZATION(S) MISSION(S). The ORGANIZATION is screening the film as an example of INSERT SENTENCE CONNECTING EVENT TO ORGANIZATION’S GOALS AND/OR CURRENT CAMPAIGNS. IF APPLICABLE, INSERT SENTENCE DESCRIBING SPECIAL GUESTS’ ROLE AT THE EVENT.
For more information about After Coal. and to view the trailer, visit:www.aftercoal.com. For more information about SPONSORING ORGANIZATION visit WEBSITE.