Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Thoughts on the W.V. Premiere

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.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for making the documentary. "I didn't let them drink the water." How sad it is that you had to do that. When I was in the scouts we took a trip to the Rockies and I thought the most exciting thing I did was to drink water from a mountain stream. It was like Earth's nectar.

Putting back together the damaged mountains left me thinking what a horrible charade it all is. They weren't doing much more than putting a coat of paint on a wreck. No effort is being made to repair the natural water system they have destroyed. They just disguised the problem enough to make it seem to anyone taking little more than a casual glance that everything would return to normal eventually. What it really is though is a discordant paradise where neither man nor animal can safely drink the water, never to be what it once was ever again. The governor should be made to post state signs throughout the area that warn everyone, "CAUTION: MOUNTAIN TOP REMOVAL AREA - POISON - DO NOT DRINK the WATER".

Anonymous said...

While watching the documentary, I couldn't help but also feel a bit angry at the people of West Virginia. They've let the conservatives use religion to con them into thinking the so-called "liberals" are evil. These same "liberals" are the only ones fighting for alternative, non-polluting fuel sources and a clean environment. If the people of West Virginia really want to join the fight against the coal & oil industries, then they need to educate themselves as to who their friends really are and stop voting for conservative politicians. Us "liberals" will continue our fight to help everyone achieve a cleaner environment, but it would be a lot easier if the very people we are trying to help would stop being so damn stubborn and stop voting for the same old Republicans and conservatives (including conservative Democrats) who have already raped them repeatedly. It's easy for some to just write off the people of West Virginia when it appears that their suffering is self-inflicted due to the way they vote. It's extremely hard to help people who shun you and don't act like they want your help.