The gun thugs stride towards their final showdown. Photo courtesy of Bob Marshak.
After 30 years, the coal wars are back on the silver screen.
On Oct. 7, The West Virginia Mine Wars Museum is hosting a 30th Anniversary screening of Matewan at the La Belle Theatre in South Charleston. There will be special appearances from writer/director John Sayles and producer Maggie Renzi.
The cast and crew of Matewan gather for a group photo on-set. Photo courtesy of Bob Marshak.
Matewan, filmed in the coalfields of southern West Virginia, follows a pivotal moment in labor history where miners across the Southern Coalfields went on strike in 1920, “leading a rank and file organizing drive that would change the course of labor relations in our nation for decades to come,” according to the West Virginia Mine Wars Museum.
Two screenings will be held in the theater at 3 p.m and 7 p.m, with a Q&A session to follow. The Q&A panel will include John Sayles and Maggie Renzi, as well as Will Oldham, who played Danny Radner in the film. The tickets are $10, and all proceeds will benefit the West Virginia Mine Wars Museum’s 2021 Blair Centennial Celebration.
Producers Peggy Rajski and Maggie Renzi discuss Matewan. Photo courtesy of Bob Marshak.
West Virginia Mine Wars Museum members can even snack with the director himself at the 12 p.m brunch held in the Webb Room at the Unitarian Universalist Church (520 Kanawha Blvd. W) before the screenings. To attend, non-members may purchase a membership or pay $20 at the door, space permitting.
Starring Chris Cooper, James Earl Jones, Mary McDonnell and Will Oldham, the 1987 film also features local residents as extras who are expected to be in attendance. Descendants of West Virginia Mine Wars participants will be in attendance as well. Maggie and John are looking forward to reuniting with some of the local cast and crew, particularly at the WV Mine Wars Museum brunch.
$10. La Belle Theatre, 311 D Street, South Charleston, WV 25303. To purchase tickets for the screenings, click here.
James Earl Jones, playing “Few Clothes,” running towards Chris Cooper, playing Joe Kenehan. Photo courtesy of Bob Marshak.
John Sayles directing Matewan. Photo courtesy of Bob Marshak.