Bill Haney's Sundance premiere, "'Last Mountain'" features the activism of Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., and Waterkeeper Alliance's commitment to stop mountain-top mining," said Salt Lake Film Center founder/director Geralyn Dreyfous. "The alliance has been suing the Massey Coal Company because the rubble from the mining pollutes running water ways in West Virigina."
The Waterkeeper Alliance was established by Kennedy in 1999, and unites more than 200 programs around the world that focuses on getting the public involved to prevent waterway pollution and climate change.
"The film is about our dependence on coal," Dreyfous said. "It's about new forms of energy that need to be invested in and it's also about the economic impoverishment of this mining town in West Virginia's Coal River Valley because of the depleting resources."
The company blasts the tops of the mountains in order to start digging for the coal, Dreyfous said.
"The toxins from the detonations have caused a lot of environmental problems and the rubble has been clogging any chance of forestation coming back," she said. "The Appalachain Mountains look more like lunar landscapes that have had a masectomy and it's not like you can grow a mountain back."
Kennedy and the Waterkeeper Alliance have been stopping the devastation for quite some time, Dreyfous said.
"So to bring awareness to the film and the cause, we're having a premiere party with KT Tunstall," she said.
Last December, Tunstall performed a benefit concert at Deer Valley for the Waterkeeper Alliance, during the CBS Celebrity Ski Weekend, Dreyfous said.
"KT fell in love with the area and the work of Waterkeeper," she said. "She asked if I could introduce her to people in the independent-film world, and I told her to come out to Sundance. She agreed to come back to do a benefit and is donating her time."
In addition to Kennedy and Tunstall, Grammy Award-winning singer/activist Harry Belafonte will take time to address the attendees about the importance of Waterkeeper and activism.
"Harry's has known the Bobby Jr. and the Kennedy family for years," Dreyfous said. "In fact, his relationship with the Robert F. Kennedy, Sr., is documented in the Sundance Film Festival opener 'Sing Your Song.'
"Harry was like an uncle to Bobby, Jr., and is very supportive to his cause."
Belafonte has another reason to speak about mining in West Virgina, Dreyfous said.
"Harry's daughter lives in West Virginia," she said. "Her son-in-law is in charge of the United Mine Worker's Union, who have been fighting for miner's rights in the area. So this is a personal cause for Harry, and for Bobby."
The concert for "The Last Mountain"and Waterkeeper Alliance will be held at the Yard, 1251 Kearns Blvd., on tonight (Saturday), Jan. 22, at 8:30 p.m. Tickets are $50, with VIP lounge access for $150. Tickets are available at www.waterkeeper.org.