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Award-winning documentary March 2 at ASU

Article Published: Feb. 24, 2011 | Modified: Sep. 7, 2011
Award-winning documentary March 2 at ASU

Mimi Pickering's film, 'Buffalo Creek Flood: An Act of Man' will be screened March 2 at ASU.

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To commemorate the 39th anniversary of the Buffalo Creek Flood, filmmaker Mimi Pickering will present her award-winning film "Buffalo Creek Flood: An Act of Man" Wednesday, March 2, at 7:30 p.m. in the Great Hall of the Living Learning Center on Appalachian State University's campus. The screening is free and open to the public.

The film is described by the Library of Congress as a "powerful documentary" that "represents the finest in regional filmmaking, providing important understanding of the environmental and cultural history of the Appalachian region." It poignantly portrays the impact that the February 1972 collapse of a coal-waste dam had on the West Virginia communities it devastated. 

A wall of sludge, debris and water tore through the valley below, leaving in its wake 125 dead and 4,000 homeless. The Pittston Company, owners of the dam, maintained that the disaster was "an act of God." Interviews with survivors, representatives of union and citizens' groups and officials of the Pittston Company are juxtaposed with actual footage of the flood and scenes of the ensuing destruction.

Pickering has produced films for the nationally recognized Appalshop media arts center in Whitesburg, Ky. Her documentaries often feature women as principle storytellers and explore the efforts of grassroots people to deal with community problems as they work for social change. 

Pickering is a recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and two Kentucky Arts Council Fellowships, as well as media grants from the American Film Institute, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the National Endowment for the Humanities.  Her award-winning documentaries include "Chemical Valley" (1991), "Dreadful Memories" (1988) and "Hazel Dickens: It's Hard to Tell the Singer from the Song" (2002).

In 2005, The Library of Congress named "Buffalo Creek Flood: An Act of Man" to the National Film Registry as a "culturally, historically and aesthetically" significant motion picture. The National Film Registry list is designed to reflect the full breadth and diversity of America's film heritage, thus increasing public awareness of the richness of the American cinema and the need for its preservation.

The screening is sponsored by University Documentary Film Services, a unit within Appalachian's University College. University College consists of the university's integrated general education curriculum, academic support services, residential learning communities, interdisciplinary degree programs and co-curricular programming - all designed to support the work of students both inside and outside of the classroom.

For more information, contact Tom Hansell at (828) 262-7730 or (

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