Tuesday, November 20, 2007

My dreams for the DVD and Website

We're working on the DVD - and it's exciting. My greatest wish from the beginning has been that Burning The Future would be a tool for debate. Certainly, we need the energy we use and we are likely going to need more as technology grows. But we are at a critical turning point for the planet, and for the coal mining regions of Appalachia.

The DVD will expand upon the themes of the film - Digging Deeper to learn more about coal, about grassroots activism, about the collateral affects of coal-fired power, about its contribution to climate change, and about what we all can do. And that's the most exciting part...what we all can do. Plus, it will pop into your computer and link directly to a growing website that will allow provide much more information and allow for interactive debate. I will welcome ALL VOICE in this debate, because no single position is without some merit, some need, some POV that is based in the realities of many people.

Much, much more to come. I'll be sharing these developments as they emerge.

Website Goes Live

Today, the Burning The Future website goes live! www.BurningTheFuture.com will be an ever-expanding resource for those interested in learning more about coal, our energy policy, and how we all can help. Please check it and an register for frequent updates about the film, the site and more.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Sundance - does it matter?

We're waiting to hear about Sundance, the world's premiere film festival. One day, I'm sleepless wondering if Burning The Future will be admitted to the festival. The next, I wonder if it really matters.

But the more I ponder the question, the more I come to realize that it's not about me, or my "film" - it's not approval from some distant board of directors that I seek. It's about the issues.

This business of coal in the US, as the answer to our energy security, is so paramount at this critical moment of climate change, that I must value highly any mechanism for catapulting the dialogue to the national level. I think of all the hipsters and college students who follow Sundance and watch documentary film, plus the fans of non-fiction film of all ages...these are the folks who get motivated at the grassroots level to move this country, and I must recognize the important place that the Sundance Festival holds for this crowd.

So we hold our breath, hoping that the distant board sees the value of the debate and chooses to play a vital role.

This blog will be the first public announcement I make about yeah or nay with regard to Sundance. Check back in early December.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

What of the Miners - Unsung Heroes

I've blogged about the miners before, and I will again. They are the unsung heroes of the energy behind America. How do we move forward, how do we progress towards a clean energy policy, without leaving them and their families behind?

And it's not only miners, it's all the support companies whose work in the coalfields is directly generated by the coal industry...shop keeper, lawyers, accountants, mechanics, electricians...an endlist list.

I have some thoughts about this..... but I want to hear yours. Please, let us solve this together. Let's make sure the solution respects those who have sacrificed the most.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Private Screening in WV, celebrating clean water

October 2007 - The folks in Williamson HAVE CLEAN WATER! This has been a major triumph for them. Tap water has been brought to the communities of Sprigg, Lick Creek, and Rawl. It is a major testament to the endurance and determination of the folks living in those parts, and to the state for finally stepping up, admitting that their wells are toxic, and bringing them city water.

I travelled to Williamson to show the film to a group of folks who are in it. Billy, Carmelita, Ernie and others. To be honest, I was nervous about their response. It's hard to predict what the subjects of a film are going to say, as they see the broader connections that the filmmaker has brought to the narrative. Their response took me by surprise...

From start to end, there were tears. Not because the film is sad, but because the story is so raw, and as Billy said, they saw so much hope in both the success of their community activism, and in the existing of the film itself - drawing national attention to their little corner of Appalachia. It was a humbling honor for me to share that with them, as well as the awesome spaghetti and meatballs!

Saturday, September 01, 2007

So much has happened, so little time

We're in high gear. The White House is trying to change a major rule, the Stream Buffer Zone rule, that will allow for increased mountaintop removal coal mining and remove one of the only grounds on which folks can issue lawsuits against the coal mining companies and the permitting agencies. See www.700mountains.org for more information. We're in the middle of the 60 day comment period...heading, I hope, not toward disaster but toward a small victory.

In this context, I think of the heroes of the film and what they must face. For every victory, there is another defeat. But now they are mobilizing feverishly.

Maria, Bo, Ben, Donetta, Billy...I'll find out what they have to say and post their comments later this week.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Film Completed!

It has been five years in my head, 2 and a half years since shooting the first tape, and the most incredible experience of my professional life. Three titles later (first American Coal and then Coal-Fired), Burning The Future: Coal in America is complete. I walked out of the final edit and color correct with a finished work in my hands. Now, it is time to birth the baby. The journey is hardly over.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Why so much Electricty?

We are THIRSTY for power - electric power. Look around your home. The American way of life is based on consumption and modernization. How many devices in your home CONSTANTLY draw power whether you use them or not? Microwaves, televisions, cable and satellite TV boxes, alarm clocks, computers, printers, AC/DC converters (the kind that charge your iPod or your cell phone)...it's a long list. Then there are simple efficiency issues...we can't all afford to run out and buy a new a/c or refrigerator just because a "slightly" more efficient model has come out. American manufacturers have not been held accountable to real efficiency standards.

Coal-fired power is cheap to purchase. It is domestic which is arguably a good thing for national security. And it fuels our unquenchable thirst for electricity.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Wow! In High-Definition

I am sitting in the online of the film. It is the first time I see the footage in high-definition. OMG! The beauty of West Virginia is just astounding. Juxtaposed against the vivid images of dirty water, levelled mountains, and arid land...the overall impact is unearthly. And the people - in high-definition I am thrown back to every wonderful and shocking minute I have spent with Maria, Ben, Billy, Bo and Donetta. Their moods, their expressions, their fervent truths, their love, their humor, their humanity... it is as if I am seeing them anew. Wow!

Monday, June 18, 2007

Music: Raz is a Genius

All the music for Burning The Future has come together. Raz Mesinai, the composer, and I have been working on it for months now. (see earlier blogs on music) What he has done is nothing short of genius. I couldn't be happier. Every mood, every nuance, with barely a smattering of a blue-grass feel. His soundscapes and rhythms keep things pulsing forward, and the tonal palate is like a smorgasboard of flavors that, though often contrasting, work great together. I hope we are able to do an album of the score. Thanks, Raz. (see www.razmesinai.com )