Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition
  Winds of Change Newsletter, March 2011     See sidebar for table of contents

The Last Mountain Premieres at Sundance

Film Becomes the First Documentary on Our Work to End MTR to Achieve Theatrical Distribution

It wasnt easy for Maria Gunnoe and other OVEC staff to decide whether or not she should miss our January 21 Victory Celebration (see story on page 1). But an e-mail from writer and producer Clara Bingham convinced us:

On behalf of our team at The Last Mountain, I would like to extend our invitation to Maria Gunnoe to come to the Sundance Film Festival in Park City Utah on January 21 and 22. Our film, which OVEC has played such an important role in, is one of 16 documentaries out of a total of 841 applications to be accepted into competition at Sundance the holy grail of film festivals for documentaries.

We are honored that Robert Redford himself will be introducing the film at the premier on Friday January 21 at 5:30, and we would very much like to have Maria there for the screening and then the next day to participate in a series of national press interviews.

Gunnoe and Kennedy at Sundance. photo by Eric Grunebaum

In short, this is an opportunity not to be missed. Our goal at Sundance is not just press attention, but to interest funders in helping us market the movie for a nationwide theatrical release in the spring of 2011. We believe that The Last Mountain has the potential to be seen by millions of Americans who have never heard of mountaintop removal, and who will be moved to act. Marias presence at this very first launch would help put The Last Mountain in a position to make a real difference in Appalachia and beyond.

Work on this film began in July, 2007. OVEC volunteers, staff and board member Larry Gibson gave the films producers and crew a tour of Kayford Mountain. That trip included a flyover of MTR sites with SouthWings and a visit with Marsh Fork Elementary School activist Ed Wiley. Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. was among those here that summer. The crew returned to film different locations and people over the years, and the years of work have paid off. At Sundance, a film distribution company committed to a seven-figure distribution budget to ensure that the film will screen in at least 20 American cities in late spring.

"This amazingly uplifting David and Goliath film combines superb storytelling and extraordinary cinematography," said MJ Peckos, president of Dada Films, the distribution company. "The fight for Appalachia has consequences which affect every American; the heroism and effectiveness of the ordinary Americans who are taking on the coal companies will inspire everyone who sees it."

Gunnoe was on several panels at Sundance, and she met Michael Moore and Harry Belafonte and gave them both an OVEC flyer. Hmmm. Maybe they will join our sustainer campaign. (Dont wait on them; see page 27 and become an OVEC sustainer.)

Gunnoe also met Jay Inslee, a Congressman from Washington. He may possibly help set up a congressional viewing of The Last Mountain.

Beside Gunnoe and Kennedy, others in the film include coal lobbyist Bill Raney, Bo Webb, Michael Shnayerson, Joe Lovett, Dr. Allen Hershkowitz, David Aaron Smith, Jack Spadaro, Ben Stout III, Jennifer Hall-Massey, Gus Speth, Ed Wiley, Don Blankenship, Susan Bird, Ron Burris, Joseph Byron, Antrim Caskey, Devra Davis, Joe Gorman, Joshua Graupera and Gary Gump. The narrator is William Sadler.

Watch the OVEC website, www.ohvec.org, for details of film screenings. See a trailer of the movie by going to thelastmountainmovie.com/video/

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