The Loft Cinema and the Southern Arizona Green Chamber of Commerce have teamed up to bring "The Last Mountain" to Tucson for a one-night showing on Wednesday
The documentary is about the Coal River Valley in West Virginia, where citizens groups with the help of environmental attorney Robert F. Kennedy Jr. are trying to stop big coal companies from continuing to dynamite mountain peaks to get at a major source of this country's largest single source of electric power - coal.
The screening will be followed by a panel discussion with local energy experts who will respond to the film and to audience questions.
One reason for bringing the movie to Tucson is that this area has its own mining controversy - the proposed Rosemont Copper Mine in the Santa Rita Mountains, said Jeff Yanc, the Loft's program director.
If audience members want to ask about the local controversy, that will be acceptable, said Betsy Bolding, a board member for the Loft and the Green Chamber of Commerce.
Director Bill Haney's intent for the film is clear, and it's not to be an objective observer.
"The central front in the battle for America's energy future, with enormous consequences for the health and economic prospects of every citizen, is the fight for Appalachian coal," Haney wrote on the film's website.
Much of the story is told through Kennedy, who is an attorney for Riverkeeper, a New York-based nonprofit.
In June, Ken Ward, a reporter at the Charleston, W.Va. ,Gazette who covers the mountaintop-removal controversy, called "The Last Mountain" a powerful film, important for folks in his home state to watch, because a lot of people outside the state will see it. He also praised the film's "incredible aerial footage," adding that it has some of "the best close-up views of a dragline operating that I've ever seen."
But Ward faulted the movie for making a debate between Kennedy and Bill Raney, the West Virginia Coal Association president, as virtually the only scenes where coal advocates get their views out. "Who can really take on Kennedy in a one-on-one discussion that was set up to be filmed for Kennedy's movie? Not many people."
If You Go
• What: Screening of "The Last Mountain," co-presented by the Southern Arizona Green Chamber of Commerce.
Panel discussion follows with Ardith Barnhart, program director of renewable energy at the University of Arizona; Pablo Garcia-Chevesick, a researcher-consultant specializing in land reclamation and erosion control; Vincent Pavlowski, an engineer of 27 years who has been to a Massey Energy mine; and David Schaller, an energy-climate consultant who worked for the Environmental Protection Agency. Katherine Kent, owner of the Solar Store, will moderate.
• When: Starts at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday.
• Where: The Loft Cinema, 3233 E. Speedway.
• Admission: $10.