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 biography of a classic American town in the age of Trump. Told through the voices of residents, it sidesteps clichés — like opioids, coal, and Trump — and traces the town’s story from the Native American burial mound it’s named after, through the rise and fall of industry — including giants like Fostoria glass and the Marx toy plant (Rock’em Sock’em robots!) — to the age of WalMart and shale gas, and a new generation figuring it all out. By reckoning with deeper truths about the heartland and its economy, without nationalist nostalgia or liberal condescension, Moundsville plants seeds for better conversations about America’s future.