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

Music of After Coal featured in Southern Spaces online journal.

We are honored that a multi-media essay produced by the After Coal team has just been published in Southern Spaces, an interdisciplinary journal about regions, places, and cultures of the US South and their global connections. This title of this short piece, Keep Your Eye Upon The Scale is drawn from the song known as “Miners’ Lifeguard” or “Miners’ Song” a union anthem sung in both Appalachia and Wales.   Keep Your Eye Upon The Scale focuses on music collected by After Coal project advisors Helen Lewis, John Gaventa, and Richard Greatrex as they developed a groundbreaking video exchange between the coalfields of central Appalachia and south Wales between 1974 and 1976. Be sure to scroll to the bottom of the webpage for additional music clips from The Strange Creek Singers, Cor Meibion Onllwyn, and Rich Kirby.   Many of these musical gems will find their way into the soundtrack of the […]

From Merthyr to Harlan

By Richard Davies Richard Davies directs the media program at Merthyr Tydfill College in the former South Wales coalfields. In October 2014, Davies presented to youth in the eastern Kentucky coalfields and shared lessons from his work in former mining communities.  He writes about his experience exchanging ideas among mining communities.   I was born, live and work in Merthyr Tydfil. Merthyr is a former iron and steel town on the northern edge of the south Wales coalfield. My family is from lower down the valley, in the former steam coal mining villages of Pentrebach and Aberfan. I teach film and video in the local college. My main academic interest is documentary theory and production, which I combine with filmmaking.   One of the themes of After Coal is a comparison of the experiences of the people of south Wales and Appalachia in relation to coal mining and the cultural […]