UVA Wise Featured in New SWVA Documentary Film Screening Saturday in Norton

Photo courtesy Friends of Southwest Virginia

UVA Wise will be showcased in a new documentary about revitalizing Southwest Virginia (SWVA) that debuts this week.

“Change-makers of the SWVA Coalfields,” which highlights regional trailblazers and leaders, will premiere Saturday, Nov. 19, at the Park Avenue Theater in Norton, Va. The screening is free and open to the public. Doors open at 4:30 p.m. and the screening begins at 5 p.m.

UVA Wise Vice Chancellor for Administration, Government Relations and Strategic Initiatives Shannon Blevins is featured in the film, along with the College’s Oxbow Center including the Clinch River Ecological Education Center in St. Paul, Va.

“It’s been an honor getting to know all the folks in this film, and so many more, who are working diligently and creatively to rejuvenate this gorgeous, hidden gem of a region,” said Jan Canterbury, who directed and produced the film.

Filmmaker Jan Canterbury explores several key questions including: “Can we really revitalize SWVA? How can we break down barriers to transform this proud and productive region into one that offers good-paying jobs and social vibrancy while still retaining our kind and true character? Will our children want to stay and raise their family in these beautiful mountains, or uproot in search of a more lucrative life in an urban area?”

The film features conversations with folks from Appalachian Voices, Friends of SWVA, UVA Wise, Ridgeview Robotics team, the Mountain Heritage Museum and Lawrence Brothers, Inc.

The documentary introduces those regional leaders “who are courageously confronting these challenges and finding creative solutions to re-awaken this powerhouse of energy into a vibrant place that's drawing new folks, while also enticing our young folks to remember why they love calling this special and unique place “home,” said Canterbury.

"‘Change-makers’ is a positive documentary that highlights both the challenges and strides we’re making in Southwest Virginia to jumpstart a more diverse economy and to give our kids the best opportunity for their future here in this beautiful place we take pride in calling ‘home.’ It’s about us, it’s for us. And it’s a fun film for the whole family and friends to watch together,” said Chad Thompson, marketing coordinator with Abingdon Tourism.

For more information, contact filmmaker Jan Canterbury at 703-314-3996 or nutzynomad@gmail.com.