Press Release

New Campaign Unites Arts & Advocacy Against Mountaintop Removal

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 1, 2011

“Don’t Watch This Film” Campaign Promoting Activism Around Documentary Film, The Last Mountain

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Contacts: Melissa Waage, mwaage@nrdc.org, (202) 289-2395
Liz Judge, ljudge@earthjustice.org, 202-667-4500, ext. 237
Sandra Diaz, sandra@appvoices.org, 828-262-1500
MJ Peckos, mj@dadafilms.net, (310) 273-1444
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WASHINGTON, DC – A coalition of non-profit organizations are partnering with the makers of the new documentary The Last Mountain, directed by Bill Haney, on an arts and advocacy campaign called Don’tWatchThisFilm.org to help raise awareness and urge viewers to oppose mountaintop removal coal mining. Mountaintop removal is an extreme form of strip mining that has flattened over 500 Appalachian mountains and buried 2,000 miles of streams in West Virginia, Virginia, Kentucky and Tennessee.

The campaign was developed by the non-profit organizations to encourage people to see the film and then to become active on the issue of mountaintop removal through online actions. The online community will serve as a central hub where various organizations, their members and film-goers can help promote the film, learn more about mountaintop removal and become more engaged in the issue.

“The audience response to The Last Mountain has confirmed the power of this film to engage and mobilize the public,” said Melissa Waage, Campaign Director at the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). “The Last Mountain’s 50-city release represents a huge opportunity to bring more people into the fight to end mountain top removal.”

“The communities, health, waters, and future of Appalachia are suffering as a result of mountaintop removal mining,” said Liz Judge, Campaign Manager at Earthjustice. “Meanwhile, so many Americans are still unaware of one of the greatest and most enduring environmental tragedies in this nation’s history: mountaintop removal mining. We believe The Last Mountain holds tremendous power to educate and inform America, and to inspire the masses to meaningful action toward change, which is exactly what our nation needs so desperately now. Earthjustice is excited to be a part of this campaign.”

The Don’t Watch This Film campaign is an unprecedented partnership between Appalachian Voices, Earthjustice, the Natural Resources Defense Council and The Last Mountain, along with a growing list of allies including 350.org, the Sierra Club, Coal River Mountain Watch, Credo Mobile, Energy Action Coalition, Ohio Valley Environmental Council, Rainforest Action Network and Waterkeeper Alliance, among others.

“Mountaintop removal is one of the greatest environmental and human rights atrocities being committed in our nation today, and as we have shown our film to audiences across the country this summer, we have been astounded by how few people outside of coal country are aware that it is happening,” says Clara Bingham, producer of The Last Mountain. “Building awareness and shaping public sentiment is key to creating a grassroots movement and changing policy, and this innovative campaign will help educate the country about mountaintop removal’s calamitous effects.”

The Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation contributed some of the funding to create The Last Mountain Action Center. “Mountaintop removal is the worst way to mine coal – it’s bad for the environment and terrible for the people,” said Donald Rubin. “We are delighted to join this group of non-profits in supporting this timely film; it is about democratic values versus corporate greed and official dishonesty. We urge everyone to see it.”

This new campaign is part of a broader education and public engagement campaign by local and national organizations, working with Bobby Kennedy Jr., to put an end to mountaintop removal. The campaign is focusing on continuing to build awareness for the expanded theatrical release; help coordinate additional community screenings of The Last Mountain all across the nation; and mobilize support for a national day of action and screenings currently scheduled for September 21st.

“At a time when the nation needs to redefine its energy policy, The Last Mountain is shedding light on the fact that the cost of using coal for electricity is too high,” explained Sandra Diaz, Campaign Coordinator for Appalachian Voices. “From the destruction of our nation’s oldest mountains, to the poisoning of our drinking water and increased cancer rates, we must shift away from coal towards cleaner sources of energy.”

Don’t Watch This Film was developed by the Culture Innovation Agency, a new cultural organizing project.

The Last Mountain
The mining and burning of coal is at the epicenter of America’s struggle to balance its energy needs with environmental concerns. Nowhere is that concern greater than in Coal River Valley, West Virginia, where a small but passionate group of ordinary citizens are trying to stop Big Coal corporations like Massey Energy from continuing the devastating practice of Mountaintop Removal. The Last Mountain premiered at this year’s Sundance Film Festival and is now being seen in theaters across America. Written, produced and directed by Bill Haney. Written and edited by Peter Rhodes. With Producers Eric Grunebaum and Clara Bingham and Executive Producer Tim Disney. For the latest theater screenings, visit thelastmountainmovie.com/theatres.

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