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Local Movie Producer/Director Scores Big

March 13, 2019
BY ED PARSONS - STAFF WRITER (EPARSONS@TYLERSTARNEWS.COM) , Wetzel Chronicle

Back in the late 70s and early 80s, one of the fun things to do throughout the country was to take in a good movie. Especially popular in small town America were the drive-in theaters, where people would watch the newest releases on the big screen from their automobiles.

My wife and I would pack the kids in the car, head to the movies, and enjoy the warm summer evenings - without any thought of the hard work and knowledge it takes to put together a film that could hold your attention for hours at a time.

I was a coal miner, and my wife worked at Corning Glass. Watching movies was one of our favorite activities. Not all movies could keep your attention, but occasionally one would come out that everyone just had to see. It was a big thing if it came to your area. I remember we would call the theaters in Parkersburg, Marietta and Wheeling to see what was showing.

Article Photos

Photos provided
Pictured is a scene from Mine 9.

Recently, while searching the Web for a good western or drama, we came upon some new releases scheduled for 2019. Being an ex-miner, and knowing the dangers involved in the industry, a new release for this year caught my attention. Scheduled for an April opening, in certain parts of the country, is a movie titled "Mine 9." My first thought was, "Why not Mine 4?" That's where I was employed for 27 years.

Further investigation into the movie brought me to my feet. There, right in front of me, was the name I had known for many years: Mensore. Then it hit me... That says, "Produced, written, and directed by Eddie Mensore." As I checked the preview on the show, I noticed it had been filmed in the Appalachia Mountain regions of the United States, mainly in Buchanan County, Virginia, at the Calico coal mine. Could this be the same Eddie Mensore from New Martinsville? The same one who I remember playing T-Ball and Grasshopper basketball?! Now we're talking the big leagues; not just anyone can make a movie. It takes an imagination and a special talent to put together a thought with a plot, and make them into a real-to-life film.

When I think of movie producers, big names come to mind. My favorite movie of all time, "The Passion of the Christ," is based on a real-life event. Mel Gibson, one of the greatest actors-turned-producers, produced that film. It was amazing in every aspect. Gary Kurtz brought us his monster-film, "Star Wars;" Michael Douglas brought us the great film, "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest." Alfred Hitchcock brought us "The Birds," and Tom Cruise brought us "Mission Impossible." Other names like Steven Spielburg, Clint Eastwood, Charlie Chaplin, Ron Howard and Tom Hanks are forever indwelled in filmmaking.

From watching the movie trailer of Mensore's newest release, "Mine 9," I can include him in the above category. The movie has been a decade in the making. Mensore is no rookie in the business; he is an experienced writer and filmmaker with a demonstrated history of working in the entertainment industry and is skilled in screenwriting, development, producing, and directing for film and television. Since January 2011 he has been with Emphatic Films, based in Atlanta, Ga., where he now resides as a writer, producer, director and current managing member of motion pictures and film.

Mensore grew up in New Martinsville, the son of prominent business owners and local respected citizens, John and Tulane. His skill in writing and producing is evident to an experienced ex-miner. This true-to-life creation brings back the memories of the everyday dangers coal miners face as they try to earn a decent living for their families.

The synopsis of "Mine 9," according to mine9movie.com, states the following:

"Mining country in Appalachia has been declared The Devil's Playground. A close-knit group of veteran miners, all friends and family, commence what would be a normal day's work - except today a rookie, the son of one of our veterans and the god-son of the Section Leader, joins them, 18 year-old Ryan.

With ever-growing safety concerns at the mine, Zeke (Section Leader and long time coal mining veteran), struggles with the correct course of action, weighing on one hand the safety of his men, and on the other, the need to earn a steady wage in an economically depressed region.

Today, however, fate takes matters into its own hands when a huge methane explosion rips through the mine. Smoke engulfs the men, forcing them to rely on nothing more than, brains, brawn and faulty self-rescuers (oxygen tanks that afford them one hour of air).

Mine 9 is the story of the struggle for survival against all odds; men trapped in hell as the result of exploitation, greed and circumstance."

"One thing I want to stress about this film is it isn't based on any one particular mining incident or disaster. The idea behind the film came from my roots in West Virginia. I lived in Wetzel County, which had no mines but had plenty of miners," said Mensore. "I wanted to make a film that would show the struggles and dangers these men went through and the hard work they put in to raise their families."

Mensore was educated at West Virginia University where he earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts, while studying Sports Management and Communications during the late 1990s. He enrolled in the Savannah College of Art and Design in 2000 and earned a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Film and Video Production in 2002.

Prior to his latest film he had been the recipient of many honors and awards from the film industry. His production of "The Deposition" earned him Honorable Mention by the LA Art House Film Festival; Best Drama, Feature Film at the North Carolina Film Awards; and the Las Vegas International Film Festival Golden Ace Award. His major awards, to date, total over 18.

His newest film is drawing rare reviews and was scheduled for release on March 8, 2019 in California. It will be show on April 8, in Winchester, Va., and the Towngate Cinema, in Wheeling, W.Va., will feature the film June 14-16. Clarksburg's Robinson Grand Performing Arts Center will show the film on April 13, 7 p.m.

"Mine 9" is an intense thriller film about a horrible mine disaster that traps nine miners underground, two miles in. It depicts the dangers of coal mining, especially those of smaller size where the chance of survival following a disaster is slim-to-none. One character in the film, Kenny, made the following statement. "Paycheck ain't going to mean (expletive) if you die two miles in."

The film is based on true-to-life events and is inspired by several mining accidents which happened in coal country. Mensore spent nearly a decade directing the film, which includes Kevin Sizemore - a West Virginia native - as one of its stars.

For more information on "Mine 9," check out mine9movie.com or the Facebook page "Mine 9."

 
 
 

 

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