John Gaventa remembers Terry Thomas

Remarks made at the celebration to honour miners’ union leader Terry Thomas’s life Gorseinon Workingmen’s Club, South Wales January 20, 2017 Thank you for the invitation to participate in this memorial for Terry today. I am deeply honoured to be included as part of this gathering. I first met Terry in 1974, when as a young American student at Oxford University, I came to the Welsh valleys to make recordings with Welsh miners to share in turn with miners in the Appalachian coalfields in America, using the then fairly new media of videotape. In both places this period was an important time: in Kentucky miners were engaged in the now famous Harlan County, USA strike – later the subject of an award winning film – and here of course, there was the 1974 miners’ strike, to which earlier speakers have referred. That initial exchange, facilitated by Hywel Francis and the […]

Remembering Terry Thomas

by Patricia Beaver and Tom Hansell. This Friday, January 20, a ceremony will be held at the Gorseinon Workingmen’s Club near Swansea to honor the life of miner and labor organizer Terry Thomas, who died this fall at the age of 78. Terry was an important voice in the After Coal documentary. Terry went into the coal mines in his native Wales in 1960, working underground, and became involved in the National Union of Mineworkers, as local branch secretary. Terry went on to serve as Vice President of the South Wales NUM between 1983 and 1989, coordinating strikes and difficult negotiations throughout the 1984-85 strike year. He then served as a chairman of the Wales Executive Committee of the Labour Party. In After Coal we first see Terry in 1974, interviewed by John Gaventa, in the successful strike which brought in the Labour Government. Terry is also on screen responding […]

Happy New Year from After Coal

Thanks to all of you who helped make the release of After Coal successful in 2016. Over the past year, we have screened the After Coal at 6 festivals in the U.S. and the U.K., organized a musical exchange between the coalfields of Appalachia and Wales and broadcast the film on public television in West Virginia and Kentucky. We welcome your ideas for future screenings and events. In 2017, we look forward to helping coalfield communities chart a just and equitable path to a healthy future. A companion book for After Coal is in the works and we will share details once the publishing schedule is set. Finally, After Coal is now available for online credit card purchase through our distribution partners at Appalshop. Here is a link to the Appalshop Store. Best wishes for a healthy and happy 2017, Tom Hansell and the After Coal team

Southern Appalachian Labor school hosts WV premiere of After Coal

The 25th Annual Southern Appalachian Labor School Solidarity Cultural Festival will consist of a Dinner and Premiere Film showing of “After Coal” at 5:30 p.m. on July 12, 2016 at the Historic Oak Hill School in Oak Hill, West Virginia. “After Coal” profiles inspiring individuals who are building a new future in the Appalachian coalfields and South Wales. Music plays a major role in this documentary essay, produced at Appalachian State University by faculty member/film maker Tom Hansell who once was with Appalshop in Whitesburg, Kentucky. The film has fiscal sponsorship from the Southern Appalachian Labor School, and received financial support from the Chorus Foundation, United States Artists, and the West Virginia Humanities Council. The roots of the film goes back several decades when Appalachian scholar Helen Lewis, SALS co-founder David Greene, and others in a small group went to Wales when coal mines were being shuttered. In essence, the […]

Croeso Seedtime: Celebrating Home & Global Community

by Tanya Bernice Turner In June of 2016, we not only celebrated the 30th Anniversary of Seedtime on the Cumberland, we welcomed (or croeso in Welsh) to Whitesburg, friends from very familiar looking communities in South Wales. Last summer my best friend Elizabeth and I had one of those rare, life-changing chances to visit another country, not as mere tourists, but as guests in the homes of musicians, artists, community leaders, and members of British Parliament. After days of travel on planes, trains, and buses from Whitesburg to Wales, we found ourselves rolling through hills that looked like home. Our adventure took us to historical churches turned community theaters, kitchen tables filled with tea cups and Welsh cakes, and even an outdoor Welsh culture festival, Tafwyl, inside the walls of Cardiff Castle. Tafwyl featured food, art, amazing local musicians performing both traditional and modern Welsh music, and was free to […]

After Coal Presents: Spring and Summer Screenings!

After several years of filming, editing, work-in-progress discussions, and revisions, After Coal is hitting the silver screen! We had successful screenings at the Athens International Film & Video Festival and the Princeton Environmental Film Festival on April 7 — and we’re excited for more to come. Join us at one of the following events. If you are interested in hosting a screening near you, order a license on our purchase page. May 27 – Hay Festival – Hay-On-Wye, Wales June 3-4 – Appalshop Seedtime Festival – Whitesburg, Kentucky June 6 – Kentucky Theatre – Lexington, Kentucky June 28 – E Street Cinema – Washington, D.C. – Sponsored by the Heinrich Böll Foundation

UK Premiere of After Coal @ Hay Festival, May 27

We are pleased to announce that After Coal will have a UK premiere on May 27, 2016 at the internationally renown Hay Festival in Hay-on-Wye, Wales.  The festival has planned a full evening that includes a film screening, a panel discussion, and live music. All of the individuals who participated in the historic exchange that inspired After Coal will participate in a post screening discussion.  This group includes Helen Matthews Lewis, John Gaventa, Richard Greatrex, Hywel Francis, and Mair Francis. After the film screening and panel discussion, musicians from the valleys of South Wales and the mountains of Appalachia will share coal mining music.  Welsh performers include Frank Hennessy and Dave Burns whose song Farewell to the Rhondda appears in After Coal.  Appalachian musicians Rebecca Branson Jones and Trevor McKenzie will perform traditional songs including their version of Looking for the Stone which appears in the documentary. We look forward to launching After Coal  with our partners […]

The After Coal team wishes you a happy 2016

Happy New Year from the After Coal team! 2015 was an eventful year for the After Coal project. We have wrapped up production and are ready to release the film in early 2016.  Here are some highlights from the past year: 1. Presenting a work-in-progress of the After Coal documentary at DOVE workshops, Theatr Soar, and Swansea University in Wales. Two of our partners in Kentucky, Elizabeth Sanders and Tanya Turner, travelled with After Coal director Tom Hansell to meet our partners in Wales and discuss a post coal economy. 2. Presenting at the Its Good To Be Young In The Mountains (IG2BYITM) in Harlan Kentucky.   3.Traveling to Romania to present at the Appalachian / Carpathian Conference. 4. Presenting at the West Virginia International Film Festival and at a FreshDocs screening sponsored by the Center for Documentary Studies and the Southern Documentary Fund.   It has been a busy year, we look forward to […]

Romania’s Jiu Valley Looks at Life After Coal

by Tom Hansell, After Coal director. I recently travelled to the Carpathian mountains of Romania to present the After Coal project at a conference titled Appalachians/Carpathians: Researching, Documenting, and Preserving Highland Traditions. Like many Americans, I knew little about the Carpathian mountains, the range that stretches across Central Europe, including parts of the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, Hungary, Ukraine, and most of Romania.  At the conference, biologist John Akeroyd from the Adept foundation described the region as “the last of old world Europe” and a hotbed of biodiversity. The fact that Romania was part of the Soviet controlled Eastern Bloc until their 1989 revolution means that many rural areas are not developed.  Horse drawn carts and handmade haystacks are still a common sight in the countryside. However, the Soviets also built immense industrial centers in parts of Romania. The Jiu valley is a coal-mining region on the edge of the Carpathians. Under Soviet […]

Catch a Work in Progress Screening this Fall!

As the After Coal team wraps up editing, we are seeking feedback from participants and community members. We hope you will join us at a work in progress screening to take part in discussion, and to be part of a collaborative filmmaking process. Here is what we have lined up so far. Check Facebook or Twitter for more details: September 23, 7pm – Boone, NC – Appalachian State University  September 24, 7pm – Radford, VA – Radford University September 24, 8pm – Fayettevile, WV – Create WV Conference  October 7 – Brasov, Romania – Appalachian-Carpathian Conference at Transilvania University of Brasov October 21 – Charleston, WV – West Virginia International Film Festival October 30 – Durham, NC – Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University  November 4, 7pm – Morgantown, WV – West Virginia University