Harlan County, USA


TIFF Bell Lightbox 2 Fri, May 4, 2018 1:15 PM
Film Info
Country Listing:USA
Festival Info
Festival Year:2018
Program Category:Outstanding Achievement Retrospective
Film Subjects:America
Labour & Working People
Cast/Crew Info
Director(s):Barbara Kopple
Producer(s):Barbara Kopple
Editor(s):Mary Lampson
Lora Hays
Mirra Bank
Nancy Baker
Cinematography:Hart Perry
Kevin Keating
Composer:David Morris
Sound:Barbara Kopple


A longtime advocate of workers' rights, Kopple originally set out to film in Harlan County, Kentucky, to look at the local union organizations. While she was there, however, things quickly changed when the miners walked off the job to demand safer working conditions. In the middle of this charged moment, Kopple shifted her focus to follow the striking workers and their families to picket lines, bargaining tables and hospital rooms in this canonical film. Kopple documented the 13-month strike, which tore at the community and exposed the hypocrisy of the mining corporation, whose interests clearly put profits before people. Featuring an incredible country and bluegrass soundtrack, Kopple's Oscar-winning documentary is both a snapshot of a community in crisis and a testament to labour movements everywhere. Kiva Reardon

After the screening, join us for an extended conversation with director Barbara Kopple and film subject Bernie Aronson, with a special live performance of music from the film by Jack Morris.

Additional Information

The Globe and Mail - "At Toronto's Hot Docs festival, a distinctly female gaze"

POV - "Ain’t that America: The Films of Barbara Kopple"