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Burning the Future: Coal in America

Burning the Future: Coal in America was produced and directed by David Novack. Donald Rosenfeld and Steve Michelson were Executive Producers. The film dramatically documents the devastating environmental, health and social impact our addiction to coal has on West Virginia, where mountaintop removal mining has obliterated 1.4 million acres of mountains and polluted the groundwater. The film profiles the courageous West Virginians who challenged the powerful coal industry, and launched a valiant fight to arouse the nation's help in protecting their mountains, saving their families, and preserving their way of life.

Featuring both coal and mining advocates as well as opponents, this is the preeminent film on the coal controversy.

Every eleven and one-half days, the explosive equivalent of the Hiroshima atomic bomb is unleashed upon the mountains of southern West Virginia and eastern Kentucky--for coal.

Burning the Future: Coal in America challenges the concept of "clean coal", documenting the devastating ecological, social and health impact of coal mining and mountain-top removal. The film follows the explosive forces that have set in motion a groundswell of conflict between the coal industry and residents of West Virginia, where over 2,200 square miles of mountains have been destroyed and groundwater polluted.

Confronted by a US energy policy that favors coal without sufficient regard for the negative impact its extraction causes, local activists organize to arouse the nation and help protect their health, their communities and their way of life.

Maria Gunnoe, the primary spokesperson of the film, won the Goldman Environmental Prize for her fights against environmentally devastating mountaintop removal mining and valley fill operations. Her advocacy has led to the closure of mines in the region and stricter regulations of the industry.

Post-Production, DVD Authoring and Web development at the Ranch helped launch the film. Distribution through the Video Project and Specialty Studios have made Burning the Future one of the most important films contributing to our movement away from fossil fuels.


Short films on:

Coal and Energy--Overview of the role coal plays in the US economy and a snapshot of the coal and utilities industry's influence on public policy.

Coal and Climate Change--Documents how coal is the number one contributor of greenhouse gases.

Pollution and Public Health--Illustrates how coal-fired power contributes to toxic water, air pollution and mercury poisoning.

Democracy and Action--Documents how grassroots social movements are the primary force for change in America.

                                                    "burns through the 'clean coal' rhetoric, showing the harsh truth of the coal story.

                                                                                - SIERRA CLUB / Bruce Niles, Director, National Coal Campaign

                                                              Winner: Pare Lorentz Award--International Documentary Association
                                                              Winner: Clarion Award--International Visual Communications Assn London
                                                              Top Prize: Longform Television Reporting--Society of Environmental Journalists
                                                              Best of Festival: Golden Cine Award--Montana Cine International Film Festival
                                                              Winner: Best Film 2008--West Virginia Filmmakers' Festival




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