Special Event: Film Screening and Discussion with the Director

About the Film

Once the home to the rise and reign of King Coal, West Virginia is now in the crosshairs of a transition of power: from coal to gas. In the midst of this ecologically violent shift, communities are being ripped apart physically, economically and emotionally. The third poorest state in the nation, Paul Corbit Brown, president of Keepers of the Mountain explains the situation. “People here feel very isolated, they feel very forgotten. They feel very neglected, abandoned, abused – and hungry. For more than just food.” It's no surprise then that West Virginia is ranked number one in the opioid crisis. It's not surprising that forgotten folks have latched on to the lies and propaganda peddled by the likes of Trump.

What is surprising, however, is how much we could learn from West Virginia. Known by many, even inside the state, as a throwaway resource colony filled with nothing but hillbillies and poisoned streams and coal ash, these hills and hollers have a lot to show us about people power, resilience, beauty and indeed, ourselves. More than a microcosm of corporate malfeasance, bad policies and extremist propaganda, West Virginia is home to a radical working class history and the hard work of hoping for and building a better future.

“Hard Road of Hope” amplifies the voices of these forgotten and proud rednecks – the ones carrying the torch from the first rednecks who tied on red bandanas and marched for their basic human rights. It seeks to hold a mirror up to all sacrifice zones, to the isolated folks in pain across the nation. This is an American story, an American history – and for the future of all the people who call this place home, this is the path we must all walk if we want to thrive, and indeed, survive.


About the Director

Eleanor Goldfield is a queer creative radical, journalist and filmmaker. Her English reporting work has appeared on Free Speech TV, RT America, Mint Press News, ROAR, Popular Resistance, Truthdig and more. She is one of the 2020 recipients of the “Women and Media Award” presented by The Women's Institute for Freedom of the Press. She is currently a board member of the Media Freedom Foundation.

Her first documentary, "Hard Road of Hope," has garnered international praise, a Best Feature Length Documentary award, and Best Woman Filmmaker Award, and has Official Selection laurels in 13 film festivals including Cannes Independent. Hard Road of Hope takes viewers into the hills and hollers of West Virginia, into the past as a tool for understanding the present and building a better future. Through the story of West Virginia, folks from across the country and indeed the world can relate to the power of radical organizing and the dire need for serious and systemic change now.

Her first solo EP, “No Solo” features 3 original songs and 2 original spoken word pieces. Currently, Eleanor is the host of the podcast Act Out! and the co-host of the podcast Common Censored along with Lee Camp as well as the Silver Threads Podcast with carla bergman.

Previously, she founded and fronted the political hard rock band Rooftop Revolutionaries who toured extensively, opening up for acts such as Tom Morello and Helmet. She worked for 10 years in recording studios such as The Village in Los Angeles as a technician, and during that time received a B.S. (which she finds endlessly amusing) in Audio Science.

Her work as a community organizer is based on mutual aid principles and direct action. As an artist, her work typically combines live music, spoken word and projected visuals. Besides touring, performing and media work, she also assists in frontline action organizing and activist trainings.

Mini Biography By: Eleanor Goldfield

The Expert

Markus Will
Researcher at Zittau/Goerlitz University of Applied Sciences
Member of Institute for Transformation, Housing and Socio-Spatial Development (TRAWOS), Environmental Engineer, Sustainability Expert, Author of several academic papers and application-oriented literature, Trainer and consultant with broad expertise in sustainability assessment.

The Presenter

PD Dr. Gunter Süß
Director of Studies at the IKKS
Post-doctoral degree (habilitation) in American Studies and Communication Science from the Technical University of Chemnitz (Germany)

Gaining Credit

Students can acquire credit points for their General Studies (Studium Generale) module by submitting a paper (Beleg). If you are interested, please contact us via ikks@hs-mittweida.de