Mine 9 provides a vivid look at life for those who are in the coal mining industry. The film, directed and produced by Eddie Mensore, reveals how coal miners can face a catastrophe by merely showing up to a job.
Mensore, and production designer on the film, Tim Barrett of Tim Barrett Designs, share their thoughts on the impact of Mine 9 which recently won “Best Feature Film Drama” at Cinequest in San Jose, California.
How did the concept for Mine 9 come about?
Mensore: I am from West Virginia, so coal was around my entire life. Many coal mine accidents happened, and I always thought it would be a great story.
Tim, what were your initial thoughts when you were introduced to the film?
Barrett: The script was well-written and presented a new series of design and build challenges. The story required an outside-of-the-box approach, not just building another kitchen or living room set.
Why was it important to tell the story of coal miners?
Mensore: It’s important to watch this movie as a contained thriller. However, for me as a [West Virginia] filmmaker, I want people on the outside to take their political beliefs out of the picture and see what these brave men and women provide for all of us non-miners. They are why we can turn on our lights.
How has the coal mining industry affected generations of families?
Mensore: Coal mining is generational. It’s like the military. Coal mining started in 1908. Many miners today can tell stories of their parents, grandparents and on and on. They mine coal as a sense of pride to their ancestry.
How does the film reflect on larger political issues in America?
Mensore: I hope the movie is not political and viewed as a good claustrophobic thriller. However, I realize that coal is political. I simply want people on the outside to respect these brave men and women for their sacrifice.
What was the most difficult part of creating the film?
Mensore: The most difficult part of making the film was making the film in an environment that is 4 feet from the floor to the ground. It’s like Mad Max in a Being John Malkovich environment.
Mensore: The best part about making the film is right now, premiering the film in Appalachia for the coal mining communities. They have liked it so far. Many miners and their family members telling us stories. A lot of tears and smiles, but all love.
A.R. Shaw is an author and journalist who documents culture, politics, and entertainment. He has covered The Obama White House, the summer Olympics in London, and currently serves as Lifestyle Editor for Rolling Out magazine. Shaw's latest book, Trap History, delves into the history and global dominance of Trap music. Follow his journey on TrapHistory.Com, Twitter @arshaw and Instagram @arshaw23.