I brought my kids. They sat, side by side, with kids their age. Kids who have been fighting for clean water and against mountaintop removal. My daughter sat with Donetta Blankenship's daughter - who in the film cries as her mother leaves her overnight for the first time ever, on her way to the United Nations to take a stand. That morning 3 years ago when I filmed at Donetta's home, the her kids were frightened and ill. Now, her daughter sits with mine. They'd both straightened their hair, put on a little too much make up as teenagers do, and sat down to watch the film. They could have been two friends going to the mall together. It's a constant reminder that kids are kids, and people are people, and what divides us is so petty when compared to what brings us together.
The screening went very well. We schlepped hi-def gear from NY to give the brightest, clearest picture possible. Boy....independent filmmaking at its best...playing projectionist as well. It was SO worth it.
The Q &A was spectacular. But what touched me the most was the response when I reiterated that there are groups all over the country who are fighting coal-fired power plants. It made the folks in WV understand that their battle is part of a larger war, and that they aren't alone. Spontaneous applauds and tears made it all hit home.
I'm a lucky and changed man to have spent all these years outside of my Brooklyn box and out in the world with my friends in West Virginia.
Next day, I took the kids into the woods for a hike. We came across an old mine from the 20's and picked lumps of coal off the trail. The spring air was rejuvenating with wildflowers and trees in bloom. It was a piece of the real West Virgina, the one that has to be preserved.
I didn't let them drink the water.