Untitled Jefferson County Project

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TYPE
: Documentary Feature
GENRE: Documentary
STATUS: Development

LOGLINE

As environmental regulations are loosened and billions in tax breaks given to manufacturers, a West Virginian community tries to stop construction of a polluting factory.

SYNOPSIS

Each year states compete to attract multinational companies, giving aways billions in tax incentives for the promise of jobs. Often the companies take much more than they’re worth. JEFFERSON explores this issue through a West Virginia community fighting to stop an international manufacturing plant from being built in their backyard.

ARTISTIC STATEMENT

The story will be told entirely through the voices of the county residents, Rockwool representatives, and government officials. There will be no narrator. Broadly speaking there will be three types of scenes that will have distinct stylistic approaches: verite scenes, stylized interviews, and graphic animation. Verite scenes will be shot at a conversational-distance away from the subject when possible. We want the audience to feel embedded in the community. While our two main subjects will be Shaun Amos and Leigh Smith, the community is chock full of colorful characters who the viewers will meet along the way. The stylized baseline interviews are shot with a single key light, creating a dramatic feel. Cutaway angles are filmed with the subjects looking into the corners of the frame. We want to evoke the residents’ experience of feeling cornered. Graphic animation will be used selectively throughout to underpin important policy or geographic points. For example, we’ll want to show the distance of the factory to the surrounding schools, the dye test results from a regional water supply contamination study, and a breakout of tax subsidies Rockwool is receiving. Finally, it will be critical to establish the natural beauty of West Virginia as a secondary character. The environmental elegance will help establish the consequence of the fight, and one of the reasons residents are so passionate about stopping the plant.

KEY CREW

Jamie Coughlin - Producer/Writer
Coughlin is a journalist and creative producer. She is the recipient of a White House News Photographers Award for Best Documentary, was nominated for an Emmy, and is a RIAS fellow. TransMilitary, Coughlin’s feature debut which she produced and wrote, premiered at SXSW 2018, where it won the Audience Award for Best Documentary and received critical acclaim. Coughlin was named to the 10 Filmmakers to Watch list by The Independent. Her films have received funding from the International Documentary Association, The Rogovy Foundation, the GLAAD Media Institute, the Frameline Completion Fund, and many others. She and Silverman started SideXSide Studios 2015 after Coughlin left USA Today.

Gabriel Silverman - Director/Writer
Silverman’s debut feature, TransMilitary, premiered at SXSW 2018 where it won the Audience Award for Best Documentary and received critical acclaim. Silverman was named to the 10 Filmmakers to Watch list by The Independent. He began his career as a journalist at The Washington Post, where he won more than a dozen awards for his reporting, including an Edward R. Murrow Award for his investigative work, a White House News Photographers Award for Best Documentary, & two Emmy nominations. Silverman is an IFP Documentary Lab Fellow, RIAS Fellow, and his projects have received funding from the International Documentary Association, The Rogovy Foundation, the GLAAD Media Institute, the Frameline Completion Fund, and many others.

 

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