The community of Coal River, West Virginia, which has been the center of a battle between residents wanting to save Coal River Mountain and a coal company planning to destroy it, is now at the center of two upcoming films.
On Coal River
“On Coal River,” directed by Francine Cavanaugh and Adams Wood, is a documentary shot over a four-year period that follows the transformation of four remarkable individuals as they uncover the toxic effects of America’s increased demand for cheap coal and begin to fight for the survival of their way of life, and the lives of future generations. At the center of their concern are their children whose school building is located below a mountain valley dam holding 2.8 billion gallons of coal sludge. Produced by Jullian Elizabeth O’Connor, the film is currently in soft release and slated for full release sometime this summer. Visit www.oncoalriver.com for updates.
Michael Shnayerson’s non-fiction book “Coal River,” which focuses on a legal battle between environmentalists and the coal industry in West Virginia, is being made into a film by United Artists. Peter Horton has been hired to write and direct the film adaptation. Horton, an actor-turned-filmmaker, is executive producer and director of NBC’s “The Philanthropist” and executive producer of the CW’s “Body Politic.” Paul Haggis, who won an Academy Award for Best Motion Picture for “Crash” in 2006, is the film’s producer. Publishers Weekly calls Shnayerson’s first person reporting an “incriminating indictment” of the coal industry. “Coal River” was published in 2008 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux.