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Film to debut on W.Va. Public Broadcasting

PITTSBURGH — “Moundsville,” the biography of a classic American town, will air on West Virginia Public Broadcasting at 9 p.m. Monday.

WVPB-TV is the first PBS station to air “Moundsville” since it was acquired by the National Educational Telecommunications Association at the end of 2019.

Eddie Isom is WVPB’s director of programming. “We love to work with independent producers who tell stories about the history and culture of the Mountain State,” said Eddie Isom, the station’s director of programming. “We are pleased to present Moundsville because gives us an interesting look at a historical area and manages to avoid typical West Virginia stereotypes.”

John W. Miller co-directed the film with David Bernabo.

“We’re thrilled to show Moundsville to West Virginians,” Miller said. “We hope the movie inspires pride in the region, shows that Americans can still come together over shared narratives, and sparks healthy conversations about the future.”

Since premiering in Moundsville in December 2018, the film this year has been distributed online, on Vimeo, and screened publicly in New York City, Pittsburgh and various locations in West Virginia. In 2019, it was acquired by the National Educational Telecommunications Association.

The film is the biography of a classic American town in the age of President Trump. Told through the voices of residents, it sidesteps cliches — like opioids, coal and Trump — and traces the town’s story from the Native American burial mound it’s named after, through the rise and fall of industry — including giants like Fostoria glass and the Marx toy plant– to the age of Wal-Mart and shale gas, and a new generation that’s figuring it all out. By reckoning with deeper truths about the heartland and its economy, without nationalist nostalgia or liberal condescension, “Moundsville” plants seeds for better conversations about America’s future. We’re screening, and hosting discussions, at theaters, museums, libraries, unions and cultural centers.

In The Atlantic, James Fallows called it “fresh and valuable.” In endorsing the film, West Virginia Council of Teachers of English co-director Jessica Salfia called it “refreshing change from the extraction narratives that delivered us Hillbilly Elegy.”

Miller is an award-winning journalist with more than 20 years experiences in print, radio, TV and film. As a foreign correspondent for the Wall Street Journal, he reported from 45 countries and covered global mining and global trade, elections, trade negotiations, the World Cup and Tour de France. Miller also has reported and written for Time, America, Heated, NPR, Buzzfeed, the Baltimore Sun and Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, and serves as chief economic analyst of Trade Data Monitor. “Moundsville” is his first film.

Bernabo is a filmmaker, musician, dancer, visual artist and writer, performing with the bands Host Skull, Watererer and How Things Are Made. He has devised dances with his variable dance company, MODULES, and collaborating with Maree ReMalia. Bernabo’s films have screened at the On Art Film Festival, JFilm Festival, Re:NEW Festival, Afronaut(a) Film Club, the Foodable Film Festival and on WQED-TV’s “Filmmakers Corner.”

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