We had talked about showing our movie for the first time at Pittsburgh theatres like Row House or Regent Square. In the end, we got an offer to do the premiere at the Strand, a 98-year-old theatre in the center of Moundsville. There’s already a lot of interest on Facebook. We’d love to fill up the theatre, of course. (It seats 400.) But the real reason to show this for the first time in Moundsville is that it best fits our mission of telling local stories locally. We want to show how important it is to talk about history by listening to people, instead of arguing everything through a political lens. We’ll do a Q&A after the movie. I’m hoping there’ll be local media coverage. Phil Remke, the deputy mayor, called me to say he’s talked to a couple TV stations about the Strand showing, and that I can expect calls from them.
“Moundsville” is the economic biography of a classic American town, from the prehistoric burial mound it’s named after, through the rise and fall of industry, to the age of WalMart and shale gas, and a new generation figuring it all out.
Told through the voices of residents, the story covers an arc that includes Moundsville’s Native American origins, white settlement, Marx toy plant (it made Rock’em Sock’em robots), legendary prison, first African-American mayor, post-industrial decline, and current small businesses. The constant is the 2,200-year-old mound left behind by the Adena people.
By reckoning with deeper truths about the heartland and its economy, without nationalist nostalgia, liberal condescension, stereotypes, or talking about Trump, “Moundsville” plants seeds for better conversations about America’s future.
Funded by the Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council.