Fresh Docs Screening in March 2016

The Center for Documentary Studies and the Southern Documentary Fund are pleased to present a free screening of director Rhiannon Fionn’s Coal Ash Chronicles, a compilation of experiences and viewpoints from all sides of the coal ash issue. The film is presented as part of the Fresh Docs series, featuring documentary works-in-progress; following the screening, a moderated conversation with the filmmaker will take place, during which the audience provides valuable feedback.

View the extended trailer here.

Coal Ash Chronicles
Friday, March 25, 7 p.m.
*Center for Documentary Studies
1317 W. Pettigrew St., Durham, North Carolina

*Please note that this screening will be held at the Center for Documentary Studies instead of the Full Frame Theater as originally announced. 

Tickets: Fresh Docs screenings are free, but attendees must RESERVE A TICKET via Eventbrite.

Coal ash is an industrial trash, the second-largest source of waste in America. It’s mostly unregulated and, since the 2014 Dan River spill in North Carolina, it has become a political hot potato and the state has arguably become the epicenter of the coal-ash debate. Charlotte-based independent and award-winning journalist Rhiannon Fionn followed the story during a multi-year road trip from Charlotte to Alaska and all pertinent points in-between, chronicling experiences and viewpoints from all sides of the issue. Since she began researching and reporting on coal ash in 2009, and filming in 2012, more than 400 North Carolina citizens have been warned not to drink their well water, Duke Energy pleaded guilty to multiple violations of the U.S. Clean Water Act in federal court, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued a toothless regulation, and South—not North—Carolina has become a leader when it comes to coal ash cleanups. The film takes a hard look not only at the people involved and their experiences but also at potential solutions to this solvable environmental and health hazard.

Rhiannon Fionn is an award-winning journalist who has researched and reported on coal ash waste since 2009. In addition to the film Coal Ash Chronicles, she is also working on a non-fiction book about coal ash. Rhiannon is based in Charlotte, though she’s regularly on the road as the national spokesperson for Working Films’ Coal Ash Stories program. Coal Ash Chronicles screened at the 2014 Cucalorus Film Festival as a work-in-progress feature film.



3 comments on “Fresh Docs Screening in March 2016

  1. Ward Riggins, III on

    Rhiannon Fionn,
    We are a group of concerned citizens of Wayne County, Georgia.
    Soon we will have our website up. For now our Facebook page:
    Will tell you a little about our concern. Republic Waste Management wants to build a new rail spur in our wetlands.
    Your film might be helpful to our cause. Our cause might be helpful for your filmmaking. Is your film online somewhere? How can we preview your CoalAshChronicles? I will share your website with our “steering committee”. below is the beginning of our website:
    It is not “online” yet but will be any day.
    Best regards,

    The danger is real, Wayne County.

    Despite a high water table and the porous, sandy soils situated atop the Floridan aquifer, plans exist to build a 250-acre rail yard alongside a landfill off U.S. 301 near the town of Screven in Wayne County Georgia.

    As many as 100 train car loads a day of coal ash and/or municipal waste are slated to be dumped in the Broadhurst Environmental Landfill.

    That means up to 10,000 tons daily of coal ash would be deposited in the landfill. That’s millions of tons of coal ash annually.

    Besides being toxic from high levels of heavy metals, coal ash is also radioactive, just like nuclear waste, and nuclear waste doesn’t fade to safe levels for 10,000 years.

    We appreciate Republic Service’s hard work and efforts to provide our community with a well-run landfill for municipal waste. We are glad they are a part of our business community and we wish them well. BUT — WE DO NOT WANT COAL ASH transported and dumped into our fragile wetlands environment. That means no rail spur, and

    Unbeknownst to the citizenry, Republic Services had already taken in as much as 800,000 tons of coal ash at the Broadhurst Landfill from Jacksonville Electric Authority (JEA) from 2006 until 2014.
    There was a leak; they didn’t tell us.

    We’re working hard at this grassroots level to change the laws regarding where and how coal ash is dumped. We know for a fact it cannot be anywhere near wetlands, rivers, or aquifers.

    Join us in making a stand for our right to keep poison out of our water and fragile environment.

    • SDF on

      Hi Ward,
      Thanks for your interest in Coal Ash Chronicles, and for the work you are doing to fight for environmental justice in Georgia. I’m sure Rhiannon would be in terested in your story. I have forwarded your message to her and she should be able to respond directly. Please confirm you email address is

      You may also email me at with any questions.
      All the best,
      Sara Bell
      SDF Program Manager

  2. Deon on

    This fall the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University and the Southern Documentary Fund will co-present another season of the monthly Fresh Docs series, a showcase for documentary works-in-progress and recently completed films.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *