Sunday, Dec 3 at 7:30 pm
RESIST, REFORM, REPEAT: Buffalo Creek Flood: An Act of Man
With Mimi Pickering & Sylvia Ryerson
Despite decline in production, its human and environmental catastrophes, 25 US states still produce coal. How can stories of our past affect change today?
RESIST, REFORM, REPEAT: Buffalo Creek Flood: An Act of Man is the launch of a new series: FROM THE VAULT: WOMEN’S ADVOCACY ON FILM, a program co-presented with Women’s Film Preservation Fund (WFPF) and New York Women in Film & Television (NYWIFT). In this program, we present nonfiction films that have shaped movements, provide perspectives on political, environmental, and human rights issues; and confront ideas around gender identity, gender roles, sexuality, health and family, all from a woman’s perspective. Following the program, we will host discussion around these explorations of story and truth, their innovative approaches to documentary filmmaking, and their subjects that continue to be relevant today to filmmakers, activists, and media consumers working to creatively affect change.
Buffalo Creek Flood: An Act of Man
40 min., 1975, dir. Mimi Pickering
Buffalo Creek Flood: An Act of Man investigates the 1972 coal waste dam disaster that flooded a surrounding southern West Virginia with water and sludge, killing 125 and leaving thousands homeless.
“A devastating expose of the collusion between state officials and coal executives… a powerful piece of muckraking on film.” –Newsweek
“Outstanding! A very powerful film.” –Dr. Parker Marden, Professor of Sociology, St. Lawrence University
“Very accurately reflects the despair and frustration of a community caught in a web of corporate red tape… an excellent instructional vehicle for studies in sociology, business, psychology, and government.” –Media Digest
“Admirable for its ability to strike a balance between emotion and analysis, the film speaks to us on the human level of universal loss and suffering. But it is also a political film that reflects the decades of abuse and frustration experienced by miners and their families.” –Andrew Horton, Film Quarterly
“This film is recommended.” –Educational Film Library Association
Mimi Pickering is an award-winning filmmaker and director of Appalshop’s Community Media Initiative (CMI). Her documentaries often feature women as principle storytellers, focus on injustice and inequity, and explore the efforts of grassroots people to address community problems that frequently reflect global issues. Pickering is a recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and two Kentucky Arts Council Artist Fellowships. Her film, The Buffalo Creek Flood: An Act of Man, was selected by the Librarian of Congress for inclusion in the National Film Registry in 2005. Other documentaries include Chemical Valley, an examination of environmental racism in West Virginia’s Kanawha Valley after the Bhopal disaster in India in 1983, which aired on the PBS series P.O.V., and Dreadful Memories, an exploration of the life and times of traditional singer and radical songwriter Sarah Ogan Gunning. The Oral History Review described Pickering’s film Hazel Dickens: It’s Hard to Tell the Singer From the Song as “a powerful tale told by one of Appalachia’s most reverent filmmakers working today…” As CMI Director, Pickering is coordinating the East KY Reproductive Health Project, a collaboration with AMI and young women from the region to create and distribute media telling their stories about reproductive health issues, and producing stories for Making Connections News, a joint effort with WMMT-FM to explore sustainable economic options for the coalfields.
Sylvia Ryerson is an independent radio producer, sound artist, journalist and musician based in Brooklyn, NY. For nearly a decade her work has probed the overlapping crises of mass incarceration, rural poverty, and environmental destruction. Her work has been featured on NPR’s Weekend Edition, Here and Now, The Takeaway, The Marshall Project, Transom.org, and spotlighted by the Third Coast International Audio Festival. From 2010-2015, she worked at the award-winning media arts center Appalshop, in the Appalachian Mountains of eastern Kentucky. There she led the production of Calls from Home, a nationally recognized radio program broadcasting messages from family members to their loved ones incarcerated in rural Appalachia. Sylvia currently produces The Runner’s World Show, a podcast from Runner’s World Magazine, and Restorative Radio, a project working with families that have relatives incarcerated far from home to create “audio postcards” that are broadcast on rural radio stations to reach their loved ones in prison and a general listening audience.
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