Meet the Fokker: Making Airplanes in 1920s West Virginia

There’s only a brief reference to the Fokker aircraft company in Moundsville, so I wanted to tell a full version of its story: In the 1920s, as fledgling passenger transport firms raced to connect towns all over the world by propeller, one of aviation’s most famous pioneers came to northern West Virginia to make airplanes.Continue reading “Meet the Fokker: Making Airplanes in 1920s West Virginia”

People In Small Towns Like Moundsville Used to Go Watch Prison Baseball For Fun

One extraordinary thing about Moundsville’s old West Virginia state penitentiary, which closed in 1995, is how much it was integrated into the lives of residents. As Tracey Whorton describes in our movie, inmates would shout out their windows about her choice of flavor at a nearby ice cream parlor. Inmates worked excavating the mound acrossContinue reading “People In Small Towns Like Moundsville Used to Go Watch Prison Baseball For Fun”

‘Moundsville’ debuts in New York, Pittsburgh; returns to Moundsville

We spent last week touring the movie, and meeting new audiences. On Monday, we screened “Moundsville” at America Magazine headquarters in mid-town Manhattan. America is a thoughtful Catholic magazine, and it published a cover story on Moundsville last year. The magazine’s motto in “Pursuing the truth in love.” More and more, the movie has feltContinue reading “‘Moundsville’ debuts in New York, Pittsburgh; returns to Moundsville”

Press & Reviews

Fresh and valuable… The Moundsville film, by Miller and Bernabo, presents the results in a way different from most other documentaries I’ve seen… worth watching. — James Fallows, The Atlantic  Summarizes the core problem that many small cities and towns face in 21st century America. — Matt Stroud, Postindustrial This sort of entrepreneurial revival isContinue reading “Press & Reviews”

“Moundsville” to Screen at America Magazine in New York City

Although I discovered Moundsville on a reporting trip for the Wall Street Journal in 2013, and wrote a fun front-page story about a paranormal hot-dog stand, it wasn’t until 2018 that I tried to write something deeper about the town, and realized how rich a place it was. By that time, I had left theContinue reading ““Moundsville” to Screen at America Magazine in New York City”

Why there’s no Trump in “Moundsville”

I have an essay in Sunday’s Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that tells the story of premiering “Moundsville” in Moundsville. It also tackles the T word. One reason journalists got obsessed with telling stories about small-town America is, of course, the 2016 election of Donald Trump. Explaining why people grew to support the reality-TV star was something weContinue reading “Why there’s no Trump in “Moundsville””

Details for Pittsburgh Premiere of “Moundsville” at Carnegie Museum

“Moundsville” will premiere in Pittsburgh on Jan. 17 at 8pm, at one of the most prestigious cultural institutions in the world, the Carnegie Museum of Art. You can buy tickets ($10; $8 for members; $5 for students) via the museum website. The movie will be screened in a small theatre that seats around 200. (So makeContinue reading “Details for Pittsburgh Premiere of “Moundsville” at Carnegie Museum”

The Der Spiegel scandal, parachuting, and why journalists should behave more like anthropologists

I hope the story about the reporter for the German magazine Der Spiegel who went to the small town in Minnesota and made everybody look like gun-toting Trump-worshiping idiots in a long story full of falsehoods highlights the qualities of “Moundsville”. There is a way to cover heartland America in a way that resonates withContinue reading “The Der Spiegel scandal, parachuting, and why journalists should behave more like anthropologists”

“Moundsville” Released Online + Bonus Feature

Hi everybody, we’ve now released “Moundsville” online! You can rent or buy the movie here. We’ve also released a bonus feature where I explain why we made this movie. We’re still figuring out how the life of an independent movie works. But there is one thing I know for sure: We need YOUR help. Please,Continue reading ““Moundsville” Released Online + Bonus Feature”