2018 Global Labor Film Festival – “Harlan County, USA”

Sunday, May 6 at 7:00 pm

For the sixth year, as part of its May events, the Old Labor Hall adds Barre, VT, to the worldwide list of cities participating in the 2018 Global Labor Film Festival (held each May by the Labor Film Database).

Barbara Koppel in Harlan County, KY
Barbara Koppel filming in Harlan County, KY

This year we are screening the classic Harlan County, USA, the first feature-length documentary by legendary filmmaker Barbara Kopple. The film tells the story of the 1973 coal miners’ strike against the Brookside Mine of the Eastover Mining Company in Harlan County, Kentucky. Harlan County was infamous for the “Mine Wars” during the Depression. The story of the strike, recounted in this film, is like a reprise of those bad old days.

Eastover’s refusal to sign a contract (when the miners joined with the United Mine Workers of America) led to the strike, which lasted for more than a year. The footage is more moving than if it were fictional and had been made by a studio. The real living conditions and working conditions shown hark back to the early days of the twentieth century.  The  violent battles between gun-toting company thugs/scabs and the picketing miners and their women supporters are more dramatic than if they had been staged with a cast of thousands.

There is a good reason that the film won a 1977 Oscar for Best Documentary and has been selected by the Library of Congress for inclusion in the National Film Registry of works that are considered “culturally, historically or aesthetically significant.” Join us at the showing and see for yourself.

Admission free – light refreshments available (donations to support the Hall cheerfully accepted)


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