Most of the following annotations were first published in Goldenseal by Steve Fesenmaier. The West Virginia and Appalachian Videos in the Collection of the West Virginia Library Commission provides a list of videos available to 1996. The goal of this page is to list new Appalachian videos from 1996 (there are a few videos listed here that were made before 1996); however, this is NOT to say that the West Virginia Library Commission has these videos in their collection.
Films and From the Brothers Grimm
release from September 9, 2002, entitled “World premier screenings at
Flooded Out Film Festival
Winning Festival Films, background information on the first festival, local history, links to sponsors, links to information on film such as The Griffin and the Minor Canon, The Night of the Hunter, Invasion of the Space Preachers, etc.
2002 Dreamworks 134 M.
Ron Howard won best director and best picture Oscars for this loose adaptation of Syvia Nasar's biography of West Virginia native John Nash Jr. Nash was a brilliant mathematician, receiving his Ph.D. from Princeton. He created some of the basic concepts used in modern game theory. This work won him a Nobel Prize in economics in 1994, after fighting schizophrenia for 3 decades. The film also won an Oscar for best supporting actress for Jennifer Connelly, who played Nash's wife. It was hailed by mental health activists as one of the most honest films ever made about severe mental illness. Nasar's biography, also called A Beautiful Mind, won many awards for best biography, etc.
2002 PBS 50M.
I just finished watching the PBS documentary made by Mark Samels about West Virginia's homegrown genius, John Nash. The film is called A Brilliant Madness, paralleling the name of the biography and film also about Nash, A Beautiful Mind. I think that Nash should be compared to another person with a "brilliant madness," film director David Lynch. Last night I watched his new film, Mulholland Drive, which shows from the inside the world that Nash actually lived for several decades – a world of melting personalities, shattered identities, and extreme beauty. Both Nash and Lynch have triumphed over their own inner demons to create visions that changed the world. Congrats to Mr. Samels for being able to reflect this Lynchian world using perfectly matched music and images. Everyone in the state should read the biography, see the film, and now watch the excellent documentary by a filmmaker who knows the state very well. He does put more about Nash's Bluefield family into the film, interviewing his sister quite a bit, and showing how intelligent and unusual he was from his childhood - which both the film and book neglect. You can log on to the great website at: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/nash. You can also come to Sutton in October (2001) to meet one of our state's most influential filmmakers, Mr. Samels, and discuss this film, his epic achievement in West Virginia – A Film History, and other projects he is working on at WGBH in Boston. I have to thank him, and Sylvia Nasar, the author of the book, and Ron Howard, the director of the film, for helping all of us understand what a courageous man our brother John Nash Jr. truly is.
1998 Omni Productions 32 M.
This film was produced locally in the summer of 1998 by Charleston filmmaker Bob Gates and reporter Penny Loeb, who interviewed 45 West Virginia residents affected by the blasting required for the form of strip mining called “mountaintop removal.” The video shows damage to wells and houses and describes the psychological effects of round-the-clock blasting on residents who live in the proximity of the mines.
Greenbrier County native Margaret Prescott Montague is WV’s most filmed novelist. She won the O. Henry Award in 1919 for her story “England to America,” which was published in The Atlantic Monthly, September 1918. Her “The Sowing of Alderson Cree” was made into the film Seeds of Vengeance in 1920. A film with the same name was also made of her book Uncle Sam of Freedom Ridge, also in 1920. In 1922 a film, Calvert’s Valley, was made from her book, In Calvert’s Valley. Her collection of short stories, Closed Doors (1915) was based on seven teachers and children she met while she visited her brother, R. Cary Montague, who was the director of the WEST VIRGINIA SCHOOLS FOR THE DEAF AND THE BLIND. The film is about a woman leaving her wealthy husband to teach at the WV School for the Blind & Deaf. The director, Vincent McEveety, directed many of the original Star Trek episodes on TV and in the nineties directed Columbo episodes. This film was originally made for TV and called Amy on the Lips. Distribution – available at www.half.com.
1997 Appalshop 29 M.
Anthony Slone directs an insider’s portrait of the Mullins family and their struggle to maintain and manage one of only two remaining family-run apple orchards in southwest Virginia. The film explores issues of self-sustaining agriculture and sustainable land management, corporate competition, pesticide use, and the family unit.
County Historical Society 55
In the far eastern panhandle of West Virginia is Jefferson County, named after Thomas Jefferson. This film tells the story of the county, going from the Indian days up to the current ex-urban stage. Few counties in this country have so much history – ranging from the cemetery plot for many of George Washington’s family, including Charles (who gave his name to Charles Town), to Harper’s Ferry, site of John Brown’s Raid, to the home of the inventor of the steam-powered paddle-wheeler, James Rumsey.
South Carolina ETV 120
Witek and Novak’s follow-up to their earlier Hearts of Glass. After WWII the Blenko Glass Company of Milton, WV hired a series of three designers who later became world famous, both for their glass designs and for their other designs. The glass works were considered some of the most creative in the world during the fifties, sixties, and seventies. To purchase: contact SCETV at http://www.scetv.org/blenko/.
NBC-TV 60 M.
Featured as part of the NBC program DATELINE in November 1995. Tells the story of the bomb shelter at the Greenbrier (Resort) Hotel in Lewisburg, West Virginia.
Lilly 95 M.
Independent feature film by West Virginian Mike Lilly. He tells the story of a social worker that interviews a Moundsville inmate who has lived a traumatic life. It is based on his own personal experiences, both growing up in Charleston and his life as a social worker in California. Russ McCubbin, Molley Brown and other natives work on and star in the film: Johnny Rock and brother Timothy Rock, Steven Schmidt, AJ Milam, Michael Martin, Catherine Pantuso, and introducing Jennifer Swanson, Pamela Johnston, Karri Gaston, and Tracy Jarrett. Cinematography and editing by Chip Hitchcock and Mike Miller. Sound by Nathan Reynolds and Gary Sergeant.
Ceredo Mayor’s Office 14 M.
This short film provides a brief history of Ceredo and Kenova, Wayne County, two small West Virginia cities with distinct charm and beauty. The film features scenic photography of each town’s main attractions and shows them as places of homespun charm and hospitality.
1982 Appalshop 40 M.
Interviewed at home and on the job, women coal miners tell of the conditions that led them to seek employment in this traditionally male-dominated industry and the problems they encountered once hired. Directed by Elizabeth Barret, the film traces the significant contributions women have made to past coalfield struggles and the importance of their newer position as working miners.
Cambridge 30 M.
Provides an intimate look at the elements of a successful art exhibit. Following West Virginia artist Paula Clendenin, the viewer gains insight to how the painter approaches her work technically as well as thematically for this three dimensional show. Interviews with collaborators and curators further the understanding of Clendenin’s work.
1998 ABC News Nightline 25 M.
Ted Koppel hosts a look at the impact of the automation of the coalfields, the most important development in mining coal in West Virginia since the 1950’s. Chief reporter Barry Serafin and others visit various mine sites in West Virginia and talk to residents as well as mine operators who have been affected by the huge machines now used in the largest mines east of the Mississippi River.
2000 Facets Multimedia
From their catalog - The great residual success of the Coen brothers comedy, O Brother Where Art Thou?, was increased interest in the traditional southern country, blues, and gospel music featured in the movie. On May 24, 2000, a concert was held at the historic Ryman Auditorium in Nashville featuring artists who contributed to the soundtrack, as well as other major performers. This celebration of American roots music features Alison Krauss and Union Station, Emmylou Harris, John Hartford, Gillian Welch, Chris Thomas King, The Cox Family, Fairfield Four, Colin Linden, The Nashville Bluegrass Band, The Peasall Sisters, Ralph Stanley, David Rawlings and The Whites.
1988 Appalshop 38 M.
For decades Sarah Gunning wrote and performed hauntingly beautiful ballads about the lives of working people. This video documentary introduces viewers to the woman and her music and reveals the influence she has had over the years. Directed by Mimi Pickering, the video intercuts Sarah’s most affecting songs with rare documentary film clips and photographs of early mining life. Comments from relatives and such friends as Pete Seeger, Hazel Dickens, and Archie Green help to tell Sarah’s story and speak of her personal strength and cultural significance.
1965 (1997) Kino Productions 90 M.
This recently reissued documentary is an intimate and moving portrait of one of the most remarkable women in American history. It is the story of a lonely, unhappy child who became the most admired and respected woman of her time. It was written by celebrated poet/playwright Archibald MacLeish, with narration by Eric Severeid and Mrs. Francis Cole.
IBM 1995 Published by WV. Division of Culture & History.
Timeline module. Created by William D. Theriault, Ph.D.
1997 Augusta Heritage Center 60 M.
West Virginia’s ancient folklore and traditional music are presented here in their natural context. Interviews are augmented with fiddle music as older residents relate tales, beliefs, and seasonal observances which have been shaped by time and handed down from generation to generation. It is directed by GOLDENSEAL contributor Gerald Milnes.
1998 Lisa Millimet 15 M.
GOLDENSEAL contributor Lisa Millimet, a New Hampshire resident who once lived in West Virginia and still owns land here, videotaped the effects of mountaintop removal mining in the Kayford area. Larry Gibson, who is leading a one-man fight to save his family’s 50 acres at Kayford Mountain from mountaintop removal, is the focus of this short documentary.
1994 WSWP-TV 60 M.
This nostalgic look at life in southern West Virginia is one of two videos produced by local television station WSWP. It features the reminiscences of longtime residents, personal photographs, home movies, archival film, and present-day video of life in the Mountain State.
1996 WSWP-TV 30 M.
This video is the second installment in WSWP-TV’s nostalgic series about life in southern West Virginia. This video includes railroad steam engines, G.C. Murphy’s department store, and recollections of the State Fair of West Virginia.
Award-winning documentary about the worst sports disaster in American history – almost the entire Marshall University football team died on November 14, 1970, when their plane crashed outside Huntington, killing all 75 aboard. From that disaster to the national championships won by Marshall in the 1990's marks the greatest comeback in American sports history. During the nineties Marshall won more football games than any other team in college history during any given decade. This makes it one of the greatest teams in college sports. To obtain – contact local Huntington stores.
1997 Acorn Media 52 M.
Many years before George Washington led the nation to independence, his youth was filled with failure and frustration. As a surveyor, he spent much time on the frontier mapping western Virginia. With dramatic reenactments and commentary by noted historians, this documentary tells the story of Washington’s coming of age and the rocky road he took to becoming an important figure in American history.
1996 Kellas-Grindley Productions 30 M.
On October 29, 1996, Harley Warrick painted a Mail Pouch Tobacco sign in the Wheeling Artisan Center. This is a video of that project during which he speaks about the 45 years he spent with Bloch Brothers Tobacco Company traveling through 20 states and painting over 20,000 Mail Pouch signs.
1993 PBS 30 M.
Harry Brawley was an educator, broadcaster, politician, and historian, and is credited as the father of public broadcasting in West Virginia. Narrated by Charleston attorney James McIntyre, this video includes interviews with many of Brawley’s friends such as former Charleston Mayors John Hutchinson and Chuck Gardner, and fellow broadcasters Ernie Saunders, Joe Ferris, Frank Annand, and Bill Kelley.
Appalshop 55 M.
From the coalfields of West Virginia to the factories of Baltimore, Hazel Dickens has lived the songs she sings. A pioneering woman in Bluegrass and hardcore country music, Hazel has influenced generations of songwriters and musicians. Her songs of hard work, hard times, and hardy souls have bolstered working people at picketlines and union rallies throughout the land. Her powerful, piercing vocals power the soundtracks for Harlan County USA and Matewan. The Washington Post called her “a living legend of American music, a national treasure” and in 2001, the National Endowment for the Arts awarded her with a National Heritage Fellowship. In this intimate portrait, interviews with Hazel and fellow musicians such as Alison Krauss, Naomi Judd, and Dudley Connell are interwoven with archival footage, recent performances, and 16 powerful songs.– from Appalshop website http://ns.appalshop.org/film/hazel.htm.
1952 Ray Rogers 8 M.
In 1952, a Union Carbide employee who enjoyed watching movies decided to make his own movie about his home: the Kanawha Valley. Edited to the beat of “An American in Paris,” scenes of the city include the Capitol and waterskiing on the Kanawha River. This film is the first known color production made in West Virginia and reveals a feeling of the optimism of the times.
1995 WCHS-TV 15 M.
WCHS-TV personality Natalie Tennant reports on three unusual Charleston homes: Henry Elden’s “Glass House;” “The House on the Hill,” thought to be the oldest house overlooking the valley; and professional football player Denny Harrah’s home.
1974 Xerox 53 M.
This 25-year-old film shows that although West Virginia has an enormous wealth in coal, the state’s health services, education, housing, and quality of life are well below the national average. This documentary discusses the role that coal companies have played in this economic imbalance.
1996 Green Frog Productions 60 M.
This video is an in-depth look at the railroad and the logging industries. It examines not only the operations of several logging railroads, but also shows how the trees were cut, loaded, and then unloaded at the sawmills. Featured logging railroads include Ely-Thomas, Mower, Westsider, and others.
1994 Jonathan Halperin 28 M.
Stanford University film student Jonathan Halperin chose Bluefield as the subject of his documentary on the world of minor league baseball. Using cinema verite techniques, he explores the real world of small-town baseball, as seen in the film Bull Durham.
2002 Sony Pictures 119 M.
Richard Gere plays a Washington, D.C. reporter who is drawn mysteriously to a small town in West Virginia after his wife mysteriously dies. The film is based on the book by John Keel with the same name. The film was actually filmed on location in Pennsylvania, but is based on actual events that took place in Point Pleasant, West Virginia. The FX cable network did a one-hour documentary on the actual events, filmed entirely in Point Pleasant. Laura Linney, who co-starred with Gere in Primal Fear, plays a local police officer, and Will Patton plays a local man obsessed with visions created by the invading Mothman.
native son returned home from writing many of the most popular TV shows
of the sixties – Gunsmoke, Rawhide, Bonanza – to
film a local legend entirely on location in his home state. Ashby
Gatrill was a man who had avoided fighting in the Civil War by hiding
out in a cave near his hometown. Martin
Sheen played the man, reflecting his real anti-war sentiments. The film
is available in several versions – if possible, buy the Technicolor
one which shows the great landscape of the state.
Distribution – Amazon and other video websites.
The Coen Brothers have taken Homer’s Odyssey, transplanting it to the Depression South (Mississippi), throwing in lots of mountain and blue-grass music. George Clooney plays Ulysses Everett McGill, one of three escaped convicts in search of a treasure. The title comes from the famous Preston Sturges film, Sullivan's Travels (1942). The convicts run across a blind soothsayer, a one-eyed Bible salesman playing the Cyclops, a trio of silver-voiced sirens, and other characters from the original Greek tale. The real star of the film is the music, in particular Ralph Stanley’s “I Am a Man of Constant Sorrow,” which is made famous by the con’s instant music group, The Soggy Bottom Boys.
1999 Universal Pictures 108 M.
Now available on video, this popular film is based on the true story of Homer Hickam, Jr., the introspective son of a West Virginia mine superintendent who nurtures his dream of sending rockets into outer space. Homer’s boyhood dreams become reality, changing his life and the lives of everyone living in Coalwood, McDowell County, in the late 1950’s. This fictionalized autobiography is based on the book Rocket Boys by Homer Hickam, Jr.
Productions 60 M.
From their website - The Galford Lumber Co. Documentary Film Project records the story of Glen Galford’s sawmill and its workers from 1938-1940 as they participated in the federal government timber removal effort after the New England Hurricane of 1938. It leads the viewer through the devastation created by one of the worst storms in our country’s history and how it affected the lives of those Pocahontas Countians who left their homes to work and live in Northfield, Massachusetts. To obtain a copy – http://www.galfordlumber.com/video.html.
1993 WCHS-TV and WOWK-TV 40 M.
President Clinton came to the State Capitol on August 9, 1993, to celebrate the signing of his 1993-94 budget and to present his “Change Has Come” health care reform kick-off speech. A joint production of two Charleston-area television news departments, the video features Mayor Kent Strange Hall, Congressmen Bob Wise and Nick Joe Rayhall, Governor Gaston Caperton, and U.S. Senator Jay Rockefeller.
1996 WSAZ-TV 240 M.
This extensive video includes WSAZ-TV’s coverage of President Clinton’s campaign stop in Huntington on his road to reelection. In addition to the president’s campaign addresses, the video includes speeches by U.S. Senator Jay Rockefeller and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Charlotte Pritt.
1998 James Rutenbeck 52 M.
This video is a journey into tent meetings and store-front churches throughout the Appalachian region, concluding at a revival in War, McDowell County. Evangelist H. Richard Hall has conducted these camp meetings since the late 1940’s.
2000 Appalshop 82 M.
The Stanley sound is true old-time, mountain style bluegrass music. This film tells Ralph’s story through interviews with Ralph, fellow musicians, and those who know Ralph best. ”Rank Stranger,” “White Dove,” “Pretty Polly,” “Man of Constant Sorrow,” and over twenty other songs help tell the story. Ralph performs with Dwight Yoakam, Patty Loveless, Junior Brown, Larry Sparks, George Shuffler, Ricky Skaggs, and members of the Clinch Mountain Boys. From the website - http://ns.appalshop.org/film/ralph.htm
1978 WVLC-Video Services
Four half-hour shows hosted by Moundsville author Davis Grubb. He stands in front of his actual birthplace in Moundsville, discussing influences on his writing and life.
ABC 60 M.
This heartfelt celebration features 17 great Patsy Cline songs and 10 rare television appearances, recently discovered and never before seen on home video. You’ll meet Patsy through her intimate home movies, her personal letters, and fond reminiscences of Charlie Dick, Willie Nelson, Loretta Lynn, George Jones, Mel Tillis, Roy Clark, Eddy Arnold, Bill Anderson, Jan Howard, Trisha Yearwood, K.D. Lang, Ronna Reeves, Lisa Stewart, Marsha Thornton and Michelle Wright.
In March of 1995, Secretary of State Ken Hechler, author of best-selling war book, The Bridge of Remagen, teamed up with Professor Stephen A. Ambrose to organize a trip to Remagen, Germany, to take part in ceremonies marking the 50th anniversary of the capture of the Ludendorff Bridge on the Rhine River which occurred on March 7, 1945. These four 2-hour videotapes include scenes of areas visited in France, Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany, and the commentaries by Professor Ambrose. Among the West Virginians making the trip were Mr. and Mrs. Chester Ranson of Huntington, David Lemasters of Weirton with his daughter and two sons, Albert Borda of Fairmont, Tom Colley of Bluefield, Mr. and Mrs. Jim Cornutte of Huntington and Leonard Barber of Huntington.
1997 Appalshop 57 M.
In the past 20 years, many mining companies and factories have closed their doors, leaving behind rural communities with crumbling infrastructures, soaring unemployment, and inexperience in self-governance. Rough Side of the Mountain, directed by Anne Lewis, documents the efforts of citizens to rebuild their communities in two southwest Virginia company towns: Ivanhoe and Trammel.
1990 James Surkamp 60 M.
This 1941 promotional film was made by Charles Town’s Lions Club, recreating daily life in the small Eastern Panhandle town just before World War II. It includes a list of names identifying 576 persons shown in the video and serves as an invaluable documentary source of local history.
of what we know about domestic violence has come from battered women in
shelters. Shelter tells the stories of 5 rural West Virginia women who
come to the Family Refuge Center in Lewisburg, WV, over a 5-year period
as they try to find freedom, justice, and safety for themselves and
their children. The
documentary challenges institutional response and national ambivalence
towards wife battering and offers the model of a positive and healing
approach. Ellen Pence, Debby Tucker, and Tillie Black Bear, whose
involvements date back to the early 1970’s, tell the history of an
extraordinary grassroots movement that not only saved lives but also
changed the way we think. Finally, Shelter leaves the viewer with a
of survival and hope. From the website - http://ns.appalshop.org/shelter/
their catalog - Janet McTeer, an Oscar nominee for Tumbleweeds, turns in
another wonderful performance in this film from the director of The
Ballad of Little Jo. Passed over for a position in the male-dominated
world of academia, a musicologist leaves the city to visit her sister in
Appalachia. There she
discovers a world rich in its own musical traditions and romance with a local musician (Aidan Quinn). The soundtrack includes songs by Emmylou Harris, Rosanne Cash, Dolly Parton, Iris DeMent and more. Closed-captioned.
A&E 50 M.
In interviews and clips from some of his earliest shows, this biography shows you how Soupy Sales taught the world to laugh in spite of itself.
1994 Richard Andre 60 M.
This unique video features a walking tour of an historic Charleston cemetery by noted Kanawha Valley historian and GOLDENSEAL contributor Richard A. Andre. Local actors play various celebrities who are now buried in one of West Virginia’s largest and oldest cemeteries.
1995 WSWP-TV 45 M.
This television documentary is a visual celebration of the history of quilt making in the Mountain State. Quilt makers of the 1800’s and early 1900’s are honored; the video also explores various ethnic groups which settled in West Virginia and looks at each group’s particular quilting style. We also hear from present-day quilters who express why they believe the craft has endured all these years.
1996 Laura Harrison 22 M.
Thurmond, Fayette County, situated on the banks of the New River, was once a thriving community. Today, it stands as a ghost town in the making. This film, directed by Laura Harrison, looks at the history of this classic coal town, while subtly probing deeper issues about the importance of community and the identity of a place.
Included in the 50 “orphan” films from 18 American film archives are two WV classics. One is West Virginia the State Beautiful, filmed in 1929 by Rev. Otis Rymer Snodgrass. This was a film tour along U.S. Route 60 from the Kentucky border to the Virginia border. Also included is the film One Room Schoolhouse, which was photographed in Barbour County about 1935 by the Myers Brothers, who were noted local physicians and amateur filmmakers. A soundtrack was added to both silent films. The films cover the years 1893 to 1985 and encompass everything from documentaries and home movies to experimental films and animation. A still from One Room Schoolhouse was used on the cover of the flyer created for this truly landmark collection of American films. Available from West Virginia Library Commission.
David Shepard, America’s leading film preservationist, restored this landmark film by Henry King. According to Jim Comstock’s WV Encyclopedia, it was the first film made in the state. In fact, it was made on location in Blue Grass, Virginia, a few miles from the WV/Va. border. This film was one of the sources for the negative stereotype of the “Mountaineer,” combining the Biblical tale of David and Goliath with the Hatfields and McCoys feud. Richard Barthelmess plays the young son who has to stand up to the bad guys who have killed his dog and crippled his brother. Includes a filmed reminiscence by Henry King. King was Hollywood’s longest working director, and the film was originally going to be directed by D.W. Griffith. Available from amazon.com and other vendors.
1999 Augusta Heritage Center 30 M.
The video, directed by folklorist Gerald Milnes, is a follow-up to Augusta’s 1997 Fiddles, Snakes, and Dog Days release. This installment focuses on the natural resources of the mountain forest and how West Virginians have utilized these resources in their folk culture. Examples include chair building, basketry, musical instrument construction, and herb gathering.
Sheen plays Bluff Jackson, a smooth –
talking grifter. He goes to the mountain home of a 130-year-old Civil War
veteran in West Virginia, looking for answers to life.
He finds two great-great- grand-daughters of the Civil War
veteran. Also stars Davey Davidson. Distribution – Amazon and other
West Virginia Dam Safety Project
1996 W.Va. Department of Environmental Protection 15 M.
This short video discusses the importance of dam safety in West Virginia, a state which has many dams but only one natural lake (Trout Pond in Hardy County). It contains footage of several West Virginia dams, showing potential problems along with some lighthearted moments.
1996 PBS 25 M.
Narrated by Chris Sarandon, this documentary features short biographies of a variety of notable native West Virginians, alive and dead, in and out of the state. Some of these are U.S. Senator Robert C. Byrd, Henry Louis Gates, Jr., James “Buck” Harless, Lawrence Kasdan, Kathy Mattea, and many others.
1995 Ellis Dungan 32 M.
This fully narrated vintage film features rare color footage of Wheeling and the Ohio River Valley as it was in 1958 and 1959. Narration by Lew Clawson accompanies Ellis Dungan’s dramatic filming of local industries and institutions, emphasizing the everyday hard-working bustle of the busy valley, along with the gentler side of life.