Directed by: Tom Hansell
Running Time: 28:00
Across America, communities are struggling with questions of development. From the urban sprawl of the Northeast, to the suburbs taking over farmlands in the Midwest, to battles over grazing and water rights in the Southwest and the struggle over clearcutting and wildlife habitat in the Northwest, communities are divided over how to use the limited land resources in our country. In the coalfields of central Appalachia, the struggle for sustainable development is intensified by a legacy of economic dependency on coal mining.
The Breaks of the Mountain, Russell Fork Gorge is a half-hour video documentary about issues an Appalachian coalmining community faces while developing a tourist economy around a river gorge. The video focuses on the Russell Fork of the Big Sandy River as it flows from Haysi, Virginia to Elkhorn City, Kentucky.
The tape looks at the threats extractive industry present to this rare gorge, explores the promise of a sustainable ecotourism economy, and look at the threats too much tourism brings to the quality of life in a small town.
“The economic and political challenges of preserving place are vividly portrayed” ~ John Nolt, Journal of Appalachian Studies
“A big and important film. As our society continues to rely less on extractive industries and more on service industries, I can think of no better way to get the dialogue on the right track than viewing Breaks of the Mountain.” ~ Joe Napora, American Whitewater magazine
“A very good teaching tool in any sustainable development class…addresses many of the issues that are discussed in the typical course.” ~ Duarte B. Morais, School of Hotel, Restaurant, and Recreation Management, Penn State University
“Interesting, Educational, and Entertaining.” ~ Keith Jackson, Kentucky Historical Society
Screenings & Festivals
Athens International Film Festival 5/00
Big Sandy River Basin Conference 4/00
Kentucky Folklife Festival
Kentucky Tourism Development Cabinet Millennium Forum
National Paddling Festival, 2/00 – Best of the Festival
Rural Tourism Conference, Carter Cave State Park
Twin Rivers Media Festival – First Place, Outdoor Category