Press Release

New film highlights regional change makers

St. Paul screening to be held at Lyric Theater on June 3 at 4 p.m.

May 22, 2023

Jan Canterbury, (703) 314-3996,

St. Paul, 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?

Southwest Virginians explore these questions in a new documentary showing at Lyric Theater on Saturday, June 3. The event is free to all who love Southwest Virginia. Doors open at 3:30 p.m. and the screening begins at 4 p.m.

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 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 SWVA to jump start a more diverse economy and to give our kids the best opportunity for their future in this beautiful place we take pride in calling ‘home,’” said Chad Thompson, Marketing Coordinator with Abingdon Tourism. “It’s about us, it’s for us. And it’s a fun film for family and friends to watch together.”

“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 filmmaker Jan Canterbury.


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