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SOARE wins multi-state award for fight against mining industry; join in Nov. events

They are a brand-new student organization and, although they still are in the midst of their first unified battle, this group of Austin Peay State University students already has been honored for its ambitious effort to end mountaintop-removal mining.

SOARE was chosen by the multi-state Mountain Justice Film Festival to receive a grant to help fund its efforts, said Dr. Joseph Schiller, SOARE adviser and associate biology professor.
They are a brand-new student organization and, although they still are in the midst of their first unified battle, this group of Austin Peay State University students already has been honored for its ambitious effort to end mountaintop-removal mining.

SOARE was chosen by the multi-state Mountain Justice Film Festival to receive a grant to help fund its efforts, said Dr. Joseph Schiller, SOARE adviser and associate biology professor.

Announcing the award-winners, the Mountain Justice Film Festival Web site says: “The new student organization, Students Organized to Advance Renewable Energy (SOARE) at Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, Tenn., is hosting the Mountain Justice Film Festival this October and November, partnering with a variety of community organizationsincluding artists and filmmakers, boosting the impact.”

SOARE will wrap up this year's film festival with events planned for Thursday evenings, Nov. 3, 10 and 17. Each evening's screening will be preceded by a 5 p.m. reception with guest discussants at the Downtown Artists Co-op, where the installation exhibit, “Mr. Peabody's Coal Train” by Professor of Art Gregg Schlanger, is on display.

On Nov. 3, screening begins at 6 p.m. in Clement Auditorium. The films to be shown and discussed are “Sludge,” “Thoughts in the Presence of Fear” and “Coal Bucket Outlaw.”

“Sludge” by David Salyer, documents the Oct. 11, 2000, Inez, Ky., coal-sludge-pond failure, which the EPA has called the “worse environmental disaster ever to happen in the Southeastern United States”20 times the size of the Exxon Valdez oil spill.

Directed by Herb Smith, “Thoughts in the Presence of Fear,” a visual interpretation of award-winning author Wendell Berry's essay of the same name, focuses on the environmental destruction of strip mining in Appalachia.
“Coal Bucket Outlaw,” a film by Tom Hansell, explores a day in the life of a Kentucky coal-truck driver. This documentary provides an unblinking look at where our energy comes from and reveals the price we pay for America's addiction to fossil fuels.

During intermission, Dr. Stuart Bonnington, APSU professor of psychology, will perform songs from Appalachia.

On Nov. 10, following the 5 p.m. reception, the evening presentations, which begin at 6 p.m. in the Customs House Museum, will feature Ron and Sarah Whitehead in readings and songs reflecting their roots in the rich cultural tradition of the Southern Appalachians. Ron will read from his award-winning book, “The Beaver Dam Rocking Chair Marathon,” while Sarah will accompany him on myriad musical instruments. Their performances have received worldwide acclaim. To read more about them, go to www.tappingmyownphone.com.
Films to be shown Nov. 10 are “MuckedFlash Flooding in the West Virginia Coal Fields” and “The End of Suburbia.” Made in 2003 by Robert Gates,

“Mucked” chronicles the flood devastation in the West Virginia coalfields in 2001 and 2002 through eyewitness accounts that point to mountaintop-removal mining and deforestation as being responsible, in large part, for the deadly flash floods. Directed by Barry Green and produced by Barry Silverthorn, “The End of Suburbia” explores our way of life and how it will change as global demand for fossil fuels begins to outstrip supply.

SOARE's 2005 film festival concludes Nov. 17. The evening's reception, which will be held in APSU's Clement Auditorium, will provide an opportunity for guests to talk with Nick Algee of the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy and documentary film-maker Jeff Barrie, both of whom will discuss their efforts to promote energy conservation and clean, renewable energy.

The 6 p.m. screening in Clement Auditorium will be a re-play of “The End of Suburbia” and “Kilowatt Ours.” At intermission, Barrie, producer/director, will discuss his new project, “Southern Energy Conservation Initiative (SECI).” The goal of SECI is to reduce energy consumption in the Southeastern U.S. by 25-50 percent.

All of the events of the SOARE Film Festival are free and open to the public. Any donation will go to organizations battling to end mountaintop-removal mining.

The students in SOARE would like to express appreciation to all who have supported their first film festival, which began Oct. 13.

For more information, telephone Schiller at (931) 221-7240. —Dennie B. Burke