The mighty Barbara Kopple’s 1976 film, an impassioned documentary record of the year-long Brookside, Kentucky, miners’ strike that came to be known as “Bloody Harlan,” celebrates its 40th anniversary with a return to the festival where it had its premiere—before going on to win the Oscar for Best Documentary. Kopple and her crew spent a year and half in Harlan County, often under volatile conditions—she would later learn that there had been a price on her head. “It was an astounding experience,” she has said. “I learned what life-and-death was all about.” She also made a great film. A Cabin Creek Films release.
The restoration of Harlan County, USA was funded by New York Women in Film & Television in 2004 through a Women’s Film Preservation Fund Legacy Grant and underwritten by the Academy Film Archive.