Harlan County, USA w/ Barbara Kopple in person!

With live folk music performance from David Morris and his son Jack Morris!
Preserved by The Women’s Film Preservation Fund of New York Women in Film and Television and The Academy Film Archive

Harlan County USA chronicles a fiercely contested labor battle in Kentucky during the early 1970s. After the company Duke Power refuses to sign a standard union contract, miners and their families take to the picket lines hoping to force better wages and working conditions. The standoff intensifies as strikebreakers use intimidation tactics and state troopers provide safe passage for replacement “scabs” in support of the corporation. During one tense confrontation, a man points a gun at the camera and we hear a woman scream, “Don’t shoot!”

That’s the voice of Barbara Kopple, making her directorial debut. Having gained experience working with documentary pioneers Albert and David Maysles and on the anti-war film Winter Soldier, Kopple found a way to apply cinema-verité to a cause for which she was willing to risk her life. She and her crew lived among the miners for thirteen months when there was no other media coverage. Knowing that the attention helped to suppress violence, they would sometimes bring their 16mm cameras and pretend to shoot even when they couldn’t afford film. (via TIFF)

Dir. Barbara Kopple, 1976, 35 mm, 104 min.