CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) — A major documentary is set to premiere this week and will put the spotlight on one of the worst pollution sites in the nation. That town is Minden, West Virginia. The goal here is simple – showcase the problem with an eye on fixing it.
“Merle died of cancer. Bill Hazell here, died of cancer. He died of cancer. Died of Cancer,” said one Minden resident as he walked down the street pointing at various houses.
The new documentary, “Impossible Town” chronicles the illness and deaths in Minden. For more than forty years the Fayette County community has been devastated by water and soil contaminated with cancer-causing PCBs. Old manufacturing plants that are long gone, are blamed for the pollution.
For years, the community fought to have the federal EPA, and state DEP, clean up the mess. While some work has been done; contamination levels are still dangerous. “Impossible Town” aims to raise awareness of the problem.
“When you look at a tiny area of 200 or 300 residents, and every other person has cancer, you have to believe there is something in the environment causing it. And it’s not just your genetics or some other bad luck. There has to be something there when that many people are affected,” said Dr. Ayne Amjad, an “Impossible Town” physician, who along with her late father advocated for the people of Minden.
“We felt that it was really important to shine a light on the people who’ve been doing this work for the last forty years, the folks in Minden,” said Scott Faris and Meg Griffiths, “Impossible Town” co-directors.
The family of Dr. Amjad even bought land to help Minden residents relocate, but most are too poor to do so, and many just want their community cleaned up.
The premiere of “Impossible Town” will take place in seven cities. The showings in Clarksburg and Pittsburgh are part of film festivals, so there is an admission charge. But the other five premiers across West Virginia next week are free admission. Minden remains on the federal EPA Superfund site.
For more information and to watch the trailer go to: http://www.ImpossibleTown.com.
The screenings are as follows:
Sat 9/30 at 5:30pm at Robinson Grand in Clarksburg, WV (Admission charge)
Sun 10/1 at 7:00pm at Maverick Hotel in Pittsburgh, PA (Admission charge)
Wed 10/4 at 7:30pm at WVU Gluck Theater in Morgantown, WV (Free)
Thur 10/5 at 7:00pm at Towngate Theater in Wheeling, WV (Free)
Fri 10/6 at 7:00pm at WV Culture Center in Charleston, WV (Free)
Sat 10/7 at 7:00pm at Historic Fayette Theatre in Fayetteville, WV (Free)
Sun 10/8 at 5:30pm at Raleigh Playhouse in Beckley, WV (Free)