A documentary film written, shot and produced by a University of Iowa instructor will air nationally on P-B-S tomorrow (Tuesday) night as part of the program “Independent Lens.” Sasha Waters, a U-of-I professor of film and video, says her film, “Razing Appalachia,” explores the controversial issue of mountaintop removal mining by following a grassroots fight to stop the process in West Virginia. Set in the town of Blair, in Pigeonroost Hollow in the misty folds of the Appalachian Mountains, the film follows the journey of several West Virginia families as they struggle to protect their land from the strip mine. Waters says creating this film has been a long process for her and the story is continuing as the case is still being fought in court. She started shooting in 1998 when she lived in Pennsylvania, driving back and forth to West Virginia, and finished shooting about 18 months later. The film digs into the history of coal in West Virginia, with archival photographs and films, and testimony from miners and families whose lands are being irreparably altered by strip mining. While the subject is West Virginia, Waters says Iowans should be able to relate well to the film, despite the different landscape.She says “It’s about some of the problems and challenges and difficulties faced in rural America where you have single-industry economies and young people grow up and move away and don’t really want to come back and work.” The program airs nationwide Tuesday and is carried on Iowa Public TV at 11:30 P.M.
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