Documentary Proposed on WV — “In the Hills & Hollows”

by Duane Nichols on May 18, 2015

Myra Bonhage-Hale (Her WV Herb Farm)

Proposed Documentary on WV: In the Hills and Hollows

Film Proposal by Keely Kernan, Independent Film Director, Shepherdstown, WV, May 15, 2015

The boom and bust coal industry that has dominated the landscape of West Virginia for over a century is being replaced by the natural gas industry. Rural West Virginian communities, steeped in history and heritage, are facing yet another uncertain future.


Due to a shift in market demand, and the development of technology to access the Marcellus Shale formation, a massive natural gas boom has swept through rural communities in the northern part of West Virginia. Much like the massive infrastructure built to support the coal industry, large new infrastructure systems are being built to produce and transport natural gas acquired through fracking.

There are currently four pipelines proposed, each measuring over 3 feet in diameter, to transport natural gas from northern West Virginia to other states and ports for export. In the Hills and Hollows investigates the boom and bust impacts that mono-economies based on fossil fuel extraction have on local communities. It provides an intimate look inside the lives of several West Virginia residents living in the middle of the boom and how their quality of life has changed by this industry. The film also explores the lives of residents who have become refugees, forced to leave their home, and the place they love as a result.

Fundraising Tiers:

Your donation is tax-deductible, made possible by our fiscal sponsor, the Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition! Below are the funding tiers and the value of each.

Tier 1 – With 10,000 we are able to continue shooting the film throughout the spring and summer of 2015. This will cover the cost of travel and accommodations.

Tier 2 – If we reach $20,000 we will be able to start post production and contract additional post production team members. This will help us begin the process of editing the hundreds of hours of footage captured during production!

Organizations interested in sponsoring the film have the opportunity!

Sponsorship Levels and Benefits

All organizations that sponsor will receive regular updates on all news relating to the film.

Official Sponsor “Made Possible by” Logo and organization’s name under a “Made Possible By” line in the end credits of the feature film and on the project’s website the organization’s logo appears on banner, listed on all social media and on printed material. This credit is given to organizations that contribute $10,000 or more to the feature film.

Sponsor “A Special Thank You to” Logo and organization’s name under “A special thank you” line in the end credits of the feature film and on the project’s website and on all social media. This credit is given to organizations that contribute $5,000 or more.

Co – Sponsor “ Thank you” Organization’s name listed in the end credits of the feature film and in the film’s website. This credit is given to organizations that contribute $2,500 or more.

Contributing support “Additional Support By” Organization’s name listed in the end credits the feature film. This credit is given to organizations that contribute $1,000 or more.

Some of the REWARDS are shown here. These include paintings by Lewis County resident and farmer Myra Bonhage-Hale as well as prints by local artist Mike Costello.

Why should I care about what is happening in West Virginia?

West Virginia is ground zero for fossil fuel extraction and is intrinsically linked to the country and the world. As a nation we are at a crossroads in history. Are we ready to transition from fossil fuels to more environmentally and socially responsible forms of energy? In the Hills and Hollows shows us the impact of today’s energy on people living at its source, and convinces us that we need another way.

The objective of this film is to inspire an urgent conversation about what is at risk and what we cannot afford to ignore. Because mainstream news and large media corporations are not giving residents a voice the urgency is at an all time high for independent filmmakers to ensure these stories are heard by mass audiences.

Production Schedule:

March — October 2015: Continue filming

November 2015: 100% of filming completed, contract sound designers and hire post-production team, post-production starts.

May 2016: Final finishing begins: picture locked, online 1080P, color correct master, score the film with composer, complete sound design and final mix.

Film submitted to film festivals. Following premieres at festivals and US broadcast: Film is made available on the website to stream. DVD copies will be distributed to colleges and universities, libraries, nonprofits, and other organizations and institutions.

Statement from Director:

I grew up in the Appalachian Mountains of south-central Pennsylvania, near the border of Maryland and West Virginia. My childhood was spent combing the vast mountain forest that surrounds our home. After exploring the world at large, I moved to West Virginia in 2013, back to the same mountain range where I spent my youth. My time since then has been spent traveling throughout the state researching the issues on the ground, connecting with families and organizations working to empower their communities against incredible odds. As Americans we are taught to believe that we have inalienable rights. What is happening in West Virginia is a human rights issue. Peoples’ health, water, security, property values, and quality of life are being compromised. “In the Hills and Hollows” is motivated by a desire to expose the extreme situation and inspire reform.

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