Big Coal doesn’t want you to see this film.

Coal lobbyists have tried for over a year to keep the documentary Coal Country, which covers the process of generating coal-fired electricity and its effects upon the land and its people, from being shown to the public. Whether they like it or not, the film will debut July 11 in South Charleston, Va., in the heart of an area that is defined by its relationship to coal.

The coal industry will have picketers at the La Belle Theater on Saturday, but it’s unlikely that their efforts will stop local residents who are upset about the effect of coal mining on their communities from attending the premiere. The South Charleston Museum is presenting the film, produced by Mari-Lynn Evans and directed by Phylis Geller, free of charge at 7 p.m.

“It’s families against families. It’s brother against brother. Upton Sinclair once said that it’s hard to get a man to understand something when his paycheck depends on him not understanding it,” says Judy Bonds, co-director of the Coal River Mountain Watch in the preview for Coal Country.

The Huffington Post’s Jeff Biggers got an exclusive peek at the film, reporting:

In a gripping montage, Coal Country shows how those affected by mountaintop removal and coal-fired plants have emerged as the most informed and articulate spokespeople against the ravages of the out-of-state coal companies. In effect, it is the gross indifference and recklessness of Big Coal that turns former coal miners and farmers and shopkeepers into the nation's leading coal and climate change activists -- and true American heroes.
The 90-minute documentary will premiere to the rest of the country this fall. Get more information at or at the Sierra Club website.