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Film Screenings and Kickstarter Launch Party

By Staff | May 1, 2015

Filmmaker Keely Kernan is launching a Kickstarter campaign to help finance a feature film, based in West Virginia, that documents the impact of the fossil fuel industries upon people and communities throughout the Mountain State. A launch party for the Kickstarter campaign will be held at the Opera House in Shepherdstown on May 7. Opening reception will start at 7 p.m. There will be live music, food and drinks.

Starting at 7:30 p.m. the event will feature a screening of a series of short films about environmental topics, including the water crisis in West Virginia and the effects that coal and natural gas extraction has had on residents and the landscape of Appalachia. The extended trailer for the feature film, “In the Hills and Hollows,” will also be screened. Speakers include filmmaker Keely Kernan, Elise Keaton from the Greenbrier River Watershed Association and Autumn Long, a landowner in Harrison County.

“‘In the Hills and Hollows’ is an intimate exploration of life in the midst of the natural gas boom in West Virginia and explores the often dire consequences of mono-economies based on fossil fuels.” For example in the southern part of the state, the counties that produce the most coal are some of the poorest counties in the United States. Much like the infrastructure built to support the coal industry, large new infrastructure systems are being built to produce and transport natural gas acquired through fracking. There are currently four pipelines proposed, up to 42 inches in diameter, to transport natural gas from northern West Virginia to other states and ports for export.

Speaker Elise Keaton and Autumn Long are both featured in the film. If approved, the Atlantic Coast Pipeline would be built right next to Autumn Long’s property in Harrison County. The construction process would involve clear-cutting a one hundred and fifty-five foot wide swath of land that would travel 550 miles from northern West Virginia, through the Monongahela National Forest, and into Virginia and North Carolina. Autumn will be traveling from Harrison County to share her story and experiences. Elise Keaton, from the Greenbrier River Watershed Association, has tirelessly driven thousands of miles across West Virginia to educate Mountain State residents about the pipelines, their rights and how they can make their voices heard on this vital topic.

Kernan says, “The goal is to provide a space through which the public can learn about the issues in a way that connects them to the stories being shared in the film. And raise awareness about the kickstarter campaign to help raise funds for the feature film.”

The event is being organized in conjunction with Sustainable Shepherdstown and the Shepherdstown Opera House. To date the short films have been sponsored in part by the Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition. A Kickstarter campaign will be launched on May 7 to raise additional funds needed in order to produce the feature film “In the Hills and Hollow.” Contributors have the opportunity to receive various rewards such as a special thank you in the end credits of the film and much more. Those making the most significant contributions will receive credit as an associate producer, producer, or executive producer. Organizations also have the opportunity to receive official sponsorship credit with their name and logo in the end credits of the film.

Learn more at www.inthehillsandhollows.com.