CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Audiences at theaters across West Virginia and throughout the Appalachian coalfields will be the first to see the new movie Mine 9. Inspired by true events, the movie is about a crew of nine men working in an underground mine in Appalachia when things go wrong.
“It’s not based on any one event, but based on several that have happened over time,” said Kevin Sizemore, a Princeton, West Virginia native who stars in the movie. “Our director and writer Eddie Mensore put the script together and took it from different elements over the course of his life and friends of his have told stories.”
Mensore is a native of New Martinsville, West Virginia. The plot line contains familiar elements from the three most recent high profile mine disasters in West Virginia; Upper Big Branch, Aracoma, and Sago.
The trailer reflected the men in the movie wind up trapped with only one hour of oxygen and faulty self contained self rescuers. The unreliable oxygen units were a notable discovery from the Sago mine disaster in Upshur County. The plot also reflects a culture of production over safety and employees afraid to blow the whistle on an unsafe workplace for fear of losing their jobs.
“It’s about nine different miners, just like every day they work hard to put food on the table for their family,” Sizemore said. “It’s just another day at work and they get two miles deep, something bad happens and suddenly they have about an hour of oxygen left and they’re hoping somebody will help save them.”
It’s a familiar story in the coalfields, one that will likely hit very close to home for some. Sizemore is one of them.
“Some of my family and some of my best friends families worked in the mines,” he said on the West Virginia Morning News Friday. “I’m very familiar.”
The movie is expected to be released nationwide in the weeks ahead, but according to Sizmore , Mensore was adamant about showing in the Appalachian region of the country first.
“He wanted to get it into coal country first.,” Sizemore said. “He wanted to bring it home to the grass roots, so the people who really know this work could see it before we take it to other markets.”