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With the recent April 2010 Massey Energy Company coal mine disaster in West Virginia

With the recent April 2010 Massey Energy Company coal mine disaster in West Virginia "On Coal River" could not be more relevant.

SOC Partners with Documentary Film Festival

American University's School of Communication is proud to be partnering with AFI-Discovery Channel Silverdocs Documentary Festival taking place in and around the AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center in Downtown Silver Spring June 21-27.

As a contributing sponsor of Silverdocs, SOC is sponsoring the premiere of the film On Coal River on June 25 and June 26. Details below

All 600 Silverdocs volunteers will be sporting the AUSOC and Silverdocs logos on their T-shirts.

SOC Dean Larry Kirkman and other faculty members will also be at Silverdocs to participate in a concurrent educational conference. Details below

Silverdocs tickets and passes are on sale now (you can get a special Student Pass for $125!) and the festival can always use talented volunteers. Check out silverdocs.com for more information.

Sponsored Screening & Panel: On Coal River

With the recent April 2010 Massey Energy Company coal mine disaster in West Virginia, On Coal River could not be more relevant. When residents of the Coal River Valley begin noticing that a host of medical problems are linked to a Massey-owned coal-waste dumping ground that sits above the local elementary school, they demand action. One former miner, Ed Wiley, takes matters into his own hands to lobby for a new school to be built far away from the dumping ground. Wiley, along with other members of his community, join together in a David-and-Goliath struggle to draw national attention to the dangers they face on a daily basis.

Friday 4:30
Direct from New York City, Reverend Billy and The Mountain Top Choir celebrate the World Premiere screening of On Coal River with an outdoor performance on the Heavenly Blue Staircase, downtown Silver Spring plaza.

Post-screening discussion with filmmakers Francine Cavanaugh and Adams Woods, and film subjects Bo Webb, Judy Bonds, and Ed and Deb Wiley. Panel discussion moderated by American University School of Communication professor Charles Lewis, investigative journalist, longtime 60 Minutes producer, founder of the Center for Public Integrity and Investigative Reporting Workshop Executive Editor.


Tuesday, June 23, 10:30 AM

An exploration of the challenges a range of Silverdocs directors have faced as storytellers, when using their family members as characters in their films.

Introduced by: Larry Kirkman, Dean, American University School of Communication

Moderator: Pat Aufderheide, professor and director, Center for Social Media


  • Doug Block, director, THE KIDS GROW UP
  • Kaleo La Belle, director, BEYOND THIS PLACE
  • Alexandra Codina, director, MONICA AND DAVID (invited)
  • Chico Colvard, director, FAMILY AFFAIR

Presented in Collaboration with American University School of Communication


Friday, June 25, 4:20 PM

Teachers and students may have the best intentions, but whose responsibility is it to teach about the rights to the music and film clips used in those projects? What are a teacher’s legal rights in using film and music clips to teach with? Can you put those clips online? What happens when students use film and music clips in their work? What is public domain? What’s your legal liability and responsibility if it’s your assignment?

Moderator: Carleton Jackson, librarian, Nonprint Media Services, University of Maryland Libraries


  • Pat Aufderheide, professor and director, Center for Social Media, American University, School of Communication
  • Devin Cheema, director, Legal and Business Affairs for Experius Academy
  • Peter Jaszi, professor of law, American University
  • Jonathan Band, policybandwidth

SILVERDOCS: June 21-17

Learn more about Silverdocs films, events and volunteer opportunities!

Check it out

Silverdocs 2010 Kicks Off with Help from SOC

Volunteers at Silverdocs will be sporting t-shirts with the SOC logo.

Read more