Press Release

New film highlights Southwest Virginia change-makers

Film will premiere at Norton’s Park Avenue Theater on Nov. 19

Nov. 9, 2022

Jan Canterbury, (703) 314-3996,

NORTON, Va. — The key questions posed in the new documentary “Change-makers of the SWVA Coalfields,” are deeply felt: Can we really revitalize Southwest Virginia? How can we break down barriers to transform this proud and productive region into one that offers good-paying jobs and social vibrancy while still retaining our kind and true character? Will our children want to stay and raise their family in these beautiful mountains, or uproot in search of a more lucrative life in an urban area?

Filmmaker Jan Canterbury explores these questions in a new documentary premiering at Park Avenue Theater in Norton, Virginia, on Saturday, Nov. 19. The screening is free to all who love Southwest Virginia. Doors open at 4:30 p.m. and the screening begins at 5 p.m.

Watch the film to meet the leaders in our midst who are courageously confronting these challenges and finding creative solutions to re-awaken this powerhouse of energy into a vibrant place that’s drawing new folks, while also enticing our young folks to remember why they love calling this special and unique place “home.”

The film, directed and produced by Jan Canterbury, features conversations with folks from Appalachian Voices, Friends of SWVA, Lawrence Brothers, Inc., Mountain Heritage Museum, Ridgeview Robotics team and UVA Wise.

“‘Change-makers’ is a positive documentary that highlights both the challenges and strides we’re making in Southwest Virginia to jump start a more diverse economy and to give our kids the best opportunity for their future here in this beautiful place we take pride in calling ‘home.’ It’s about us, it’s for us. And it’s a fun film for the whole family and friends to watch together,” said Chad Thompson, marketing coordinator with Abingdon Tourism.

“It’s been an honor getting to know all the folks in this film, and so many more, who are working diligently and creatively to rejuvenate this gorgeous, hidden gem of a region,” said Jan Canterbury, filmmaker.

View the trailer.


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