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  • On Wilson Creek, neighbors grapple with a tough choice: saving land or livelihood?

    On Wilson Creek, neighbors grapple with a tough choice: saving land or livelihood?

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  • While community opposition to the mine grows, friends still argue over what's best.

    While community opposition to the mine grows, friends still argue over what's best.

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  • Beverly May worries that no one will speak up to mining interests at a public hearing.

    Beverly May worries that no one will speak up to mining interests at a public hearing.

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  • While voices opposed to the mining prevail, Terry Ratliff describes the victory as bittersweet.

    While voices opposed to the mining prevail, Terry Ratliff describes the victory as bittersweet.

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  • Step into a virtual mining town in Second Life.

    Step into a virtual mining town in Second Life.

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  • Terry Ratliff and Beverly May face the challenges of mountaintop removal from very different perspectives.

    Terry Ratliff and Beverly May face the challenges of mountaintop removal from very different perspectives.

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  • Beverly May cheers at a meeting to protect Wilson Creek.

    Beverly May cheers at a meeting to protect Wilson Creek.

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  • Beverly May meets with Mud Creek residents.

    Beverly May meets with Mud Creek residents.

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  • A scene from Deep Down

    A scene from Deep Down

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  • An image of a mountaintop removal mine in Deep Down

    An image of a mountaintop removal mine in Deep Down

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  • Rick Handshoe works tirelessly to document the abuses by the local mining company.

    Rick Handshoe works tirelessly to document the abuses by the local mining company.

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  • A scene from Deep Down

    A scene from Deep Down

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  • Terry and Rick sit down to discuss Terry’s options with the mining company.

    Terry and Rick sit down to discuss Terry’s options with the mining company.

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  • Coal train approaching in Deep Down

    Coal train approaching in Deep Down

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  • Co-directors Sally Rubin and Jen Gilomen

    Co-directors Sally Rubin and Jen Gilomen

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The Film

Deep in the Appalachian mountains of eastern Kentucky, Beverly May and Terry Ratliff find themselves at the center of a contentious community battle over a proposed mountaintop removal coal mine.

Deep Down puts a human face on the consequences of our environmental impact.

Any exploration of power production in America will lead to Appalachia, a region that has supplied our nation with coal for over a century. As America’s energy consumption rises, the extraction and burning of coal to meet these demands has dramatically altered the Appalachian landscape, economy, and culture. Mountaintop removal mining has stripped swaths of the ancient hills down into barren, flat-topped environmental catastrophes.

Coal is the number one industry here, with an enormous influence on local economies and people. Simultaneously, Appalachia as a region deserves our attention as a place of history, complexity, and change. It is time for us to look back to this “forgotten” region. We must trace the power lines from our homes to people far removed from our daily lives.

The Filmmakers

  1. Sally RubinProducer/Director
  2. Jen GilomenProducer/Director
  3. David SutherlandProducer