Movie Goers React to “Coal Country”

Watch Story Video From WOWK TV

WEB EXTRA Producer Mari-Lynn Evans

CHARLESTON — Controversy on the big screen came to life on the steps of the State Cultural Center Saturday night. Both sides of the mountain top mining debate found themselves squaring off after the premiere of the film “Coal Country.” Capitol police separated the groups before the situation could escalate.Producer Mari-Lynn Evans knew this was a controversial issue going into the project four years ago.

“This story is so important it needs to be told, because this is the most critical time in the coalfields since the mine wars”, she said before the film.

Despite yelling and applause from both sides during the film and the confrontation outside afterwards, the premier went off without any major disruptions.

The film itself produced different reactions from both sides. “90% of it was for the tree huggers” said surface miner Larry Wolfe.

Boone County resident Danny Cook had this to say after leaving the theatre, “the film was excellent I think they got views across from both sides.”

Miner Ronnie Brady thinks that mining opponents are missing the point, “They are the ones that don’t see the big picture, and they talk about saving the earth but who is going to save our jobs, if they take that away from us”.

Kanawha County resident Josh Thomas pointed out that everyone involved have things in common, “we are all West Virginians too, miners, non miners, we all breathe the air and we all drink the water that’s what we need to get back to.”

Evans hopes her film will open the lines of communication between coal and communities. “I think it is so important that there be dialogue between these groups who are very entrenched in their positions and believe what they are saying is right. The problem is nobody is listening to them” she said.

The premier was moved from its’ original location in South Charleston due to concerns about picketers and a possible protest.

Copyright 2009 West Virginia Media. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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