After Coal: Film project focuses on the transition from coal in Appalachia and Wales


Tom Hansell, an artist and filmmaker I worked with as part of the artist group Fossil Fools has started a new film project called After Coal: Welsh and Appalachian Mining Communities

This documentary film explores how two mining cultures face the challenge of their dependence on fossil fuels.  Currently the Appalachian coalfields are struggling with chronic unemployment and environmental degradation, while Wales has experimented with strategies to rebuild their communities after the mines closed.  As the Appalachian coalfields enter their last generation of mining, this documentary project will help map directions to a sustainable future after coal.

Tom is currently raising money in order to bring a video crew from the Appalachian Mountains to the historic coalfields of South Wales.  Here they will revisit sites documented by Welsh Cinematographer Richard Greatrex and sociologists Helen Lewis and John Gaventa from 1974-1976.  During the last decade of full scale mining in Wales, this team made over 150 videotapes of daily life — including rare footage of Welsh miners choirs performing with Appalachian musicians such as Hazel Dickens and Alice Gerrard.

The interviews, images, and, sounds gathered will be combined with this archival footage, creating a feature length documentary that compares the coalfields of Wales and Appalachia. 

After Coal will consider what the Welsh experience after coal means for the last generation of Appalachian miners and their community. How do resource rich regions transition from their historic dependence on fossil fuels, while sustaining the community those fuels helped build? And, how can lessons from these areas speak to other resource dependent regions throughout the globe?

As of today – Tom has raised $2945 of the $5000 project goal.

The Center for Appalachian Studies at Appalachian State University is currently raising money to cover the costs of bringing a film crew to Wales in the spring of 2012.

To support this project, visit the website and click on the support button.

View the promo clip of the film


Image credit: Tom Hansell


About the Author

KbaumlierKristen Baumlier’s work spans the full spectrum of interdisciplinary media, including performance, interactive installation, video and audio works.View all posts by Kbaumlier →

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