"Moundsville" film to be broadcast on PBS stations nationally

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The Old West Virginia Penitentiary at Moundsville, in northern West Virginia, now welcomes tourists. (Photo courtesy David Gear)

Filmmakers David Bernabo and John W. Miller have reached an agreement to distribute the documentary film "Moundsville" to 338 public broadcasting stations nationally over the next three years.

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The National Educational Telecommunications Association has agreed to distribute the film, which will be cut from 74 to 57 minutes and will be close-captioned to suit PBS standards, according to Miller, who is co-director.

"Moundsville" is the biography of a classic American town, Moundsville, West Virginia, told through the voices of residents, Miller says.

The story investigates the history of the community from the construction of the Native American mound for which the town is named, "to the arrival of the world’s largest toy factory, to an economy based on Wal-Mart and fracking and a new generation figuring it all out."

"The goal of the film is to affirm the community-building and healing value of shared local narrative," Miller says.

Since premiering in Moundsville in December 2018, the film has been distributed online, on Vimeo, and screened publicly in Pittsburgh, New York City, and at locations in West Virginia.

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“Moundsville is an excellent addition to our catalog,” says Angee Simmons, vice president for content for the National Educational Telecommunications Association. “NETA’s program service celebrates local voices and stories from all corners of our country.”

Co-director Simmons says that although he was familiar with the toys produced in the town, he had no idea of its prehistory.

Moundsville “just happens to be home to my favorite childhood toy, The Big Wheel, and unbeknownst to me the largest indigenous burial mound in the country,” Simmons said.

“But more importantly is told with a lot of heart from the people who call it home. After watching, I knew I wanted to share it with public television audiences.”


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