Free screening of the documentary ‘Chemical Valley’ offered


The Marshall University film studies program will present a screening of the documentary Chemical Valley, which delves into issues experienced during the 1980s in the Kanawha Valley, related to industry’s impact on the environment and community.

The screening will be at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 4, in the Joan C. Edwards Playhouse, and it will be followed by a Q&A session with director Mimi Pickering. This event is free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be served.

Created in 1991, “Chemical Valley” explores issues such as job blackmail, racism and citizens’ right to know in the 1980s in the region once dubbed by residents “the chemical capital of the world.”

Pickering is an award-winning filmmaker and director of Appalshop’s Community Media Initiative. Located in the Kentucky coalfields, Appalshop is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year as a center for cultural organizing and place-based media, arts and education to advance social justice, environmental sustainability and economic equity.

“Although Chemical Valley is nearly 20 years old, Mimi Pickering’s documentary remains relevant today,” said Dr. Walter Squire, director of Marshall University’s film studies program. “The 2014 Elk River chemical spill demonstrates the need for continued environmental vigilance. Being able to speak with one of Appalachia’s premier documentarians can benefit not only filmmakers and other producers of media but also individuals concerned with various social justice issues facing their communities.”

This screening is supported by the West Virginia Humanities Council, the Marshall University film studies program, the Honors College, the Graduate Humanities program, and the Department of English.

The project also is presented with financial assistance from the West Virginia Humanities Council, a state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations do not necessarily represent those of the West Virginia Humanities Council or the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Contact: Jean Hardiman, University Relations Specialist, 304-696-6397,

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