The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Local News

April 3, 2012

Annenberg documentary on UBB disaster to air Thursday

Charles Annenberg Weingarten’s short documentary film about the Upper Big Branch Mine Disaster will air Thursday, the second anniversary of the explosion, online and on Link TV.

The documentary, called “West Virginia — Hillbillies, Coal Miners, Treehuggers & God,” will premiere at 9 p.m. on Link TV, available on DIRECTV and DISH Network, and will also be available on explore.org.

The documentary will feature in-depth interviews with Raleigh County residents and will explore the diverse perspectives on coal mining, mountaintop removal and the recent tragedy, according to Caty Borum Chattoo, media contact for Link TV.

Charles Annenberg, founder of explore.org and vice president of the Annenburg Foundation, and a film crew visited the Coal River area in 2010, just weeks after the tragedy. His goal was to understand different perspectives, from coal miners to environmental activists.

The documentary will also highlight his contribution to the relocation of Marsh Fork Elementary School. After his visit, he arranged for the Annenberg Foundation to donate $2.5 million to the new school project because community members expressed concern to him about its location below a slurry dam and the possible presence of coal dust in the school, reported Chattoo.

Explore.com is an organization that documents the lives of leaders who have devoted their lives to extraordinary causes.

After its television debut, the 30-minute documentary can be viewed at http://explore.org/#!/videos /player/west-virginia-special.

— E-mail: splummer@register-herald.com

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