“Mine 9” Movie makes Premiere In Elkins

The independent film Mine 9, a thriller about trapped coal miners, will open at the Elkins 8 theatre in Elkins, WV Friday April 19th, and I recently spoke with director Eddie Mensore to learn more about him and the movie.

“I’m originally from New Martinsville, which is the northern panhandle of the state of West Virginia. And, I am a filmmaker that was based in Los Angeles, California for roughly 14 years, and for the last three years, I’ve been based in Atlanta, Georgia, and I moved here to make the movie Mine 9. I am the writer, director, producer, executive producer.”

I asked if it was based on true events.

“Mine 9 is not based off any one coal mine accident.

I grew up in West Virginia, so we obviously have known about various coal mine accidents that have happened, but what I did was just took elements of various coal mining accidents, and weaved them into a story. I specifically did not care to make a movie based off any one coal mining accident, due to the fact that those are real coal miners, and the real people involved, and I did not want to do anything to bring up bad memories – hurt people. It was more respectful for me just to leave the humans out of it, and just try to make the best claustrophobic thriller but I could.”

Mr. Mensore was lucky enough to be able to film scenes in a working coal mine.

“I need a coal mine that was a four foot seam –  meaning from the ground of the roof, and I found the Calico Coal Mine in Buckhannon County, VA. After some conversation, and their trust, they allowed me to go on to their property for just under two days, to film exteriors, and to go underground, and film real coal miners operating real equipment. So we filmed real coal miners doing those jobs, but not film their face. And then in a warehouse in Atlanta, Georgia, we recreated the Calico Coal Mine on a set. And we had our actors dress up in the exact wardrobe that the real coal miners were wearing, and blended those two worlds together to make it, hopefully, look seamless as one world. And we would have been unable to do that. If it were not for a wonderful visual effects artist by the name of Annaite Vaccaro.”

Fortunately, that artist was also Mr. Mensore’s wife. Independent films do not have Hollywood level budgets, and he noted the project couldn’t have been completed without this being a labor of love for all involved.

The distribution process was also unique.

“Two months ago, we premiered the movie at the Cinequest Film and Technology Festival in San Jose, California. And we won Best Picture – Drama category. April 12th, we opened throughout Appalachia – most films open in New York and LA, then they work their way into middle America. Being that I’m from West Virginia, and it meant a lot for me to open this movie in coal mine country,  because the people who helped me make it are there, we did it backwards. We opened within coal mine country, Appalachia, and our goal is to expand outward and end in New York and LA.”

More about the movie can be found at the website www.mine9.com.

Mr. Mensore concluded:

“For people on the outside of Appalachia, of the coal mining industry, when they watch, they can appreciate, respect the men and women in the coal mining industry for what they provide for all of us – because nobody really knows what coal miners do, and they do a great service for all of us.”

Story By

Scott Smith

Scott Smith is the General Manager for Allegheny Mountain Radio and Station Coordinator and News Reporter for WVLS. Scott’s family has deep roots in Highland County. While he did not grow up here, he spent as much time as possible on the family farm, and eventually moved to Highland to continue the tradition, which he still pursues with his cousin. Unfortunately, farming doesn’t pay all the bills, so he has previously taken other jobs to support his farming hobby, including pressman/writer for The Recorder, and Ag Projects Coordinator for The Highland Center. He lives in Hightown with wife Michelle and son Ethan. In his spare time, he wishes he had more spare time, especially to ride his prized Harley-Davidson motorcycle. scott@amrmail.org

Current Weather