BLOOMINGTON, In. (February 9, 2018) – Grammy award winning singer/songwriter John Mellencamp will introduce the National Geographic documentary From the Ashes at a free screening this Friday, February 9, at 4:30pm at the Indiana Memorial Union’s Whittenberger Auditorium. The film, produced by Bloomberg Philanthropies & RadicalMedia, explores the legacy and future of the coal industry in the United States.
The event is open to the public and sponsored by IU’s School of Public and Environmental Affairs (SPEA) and the Integrated Program in the Environment (IPE).
Directed by Emmy nominated filmmaker Michael Bonfiglio, From the Ashes captures Americans in communities across the country as they wrestle with the legacy of the coal industry, and what its future should be under the Trump administration.
The film goes beyond the rhetoric of the “war on coal” to present compelling and often-heartbreaking stories about what is at stake for our economy, health and climate. With 7,500 U.S. deaths from coal pollution each year, the film invites audiences to learn more about this dying industry and how it impacts their everyday lives.
From the Ashes premiered earlier this year at the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival, followed by a limited theatrical release in New York and Los Angeles and then a global broadcast debut on National Geographic beginning Sunday, June 25. National Geographic will continue to roll out the film globally across 171 countries and 45 languages. For more information on From the Ashes, visit FromTheAshesFilm.com or visit and visit National Geographic Education for educational resources focusing on coal and other sources of energy.
Mellencamp, a Bloomington resident, recorded a unique rendition of the Merle Travis song “Dark as a Dungeon” for the film. Originally written in 1946, “Dark as a Dungeon” portrayed the plight of coal miners at the height of the coal industry.
“This is a tremendous opportunity for IU students and the entire campus and Bloomington communities,” said Jeff White, a member of SPEA’s faculty and director of IPE. “We are grateful that John Mellencamp will be here in person to offer his insight. The film offers a thoughtful point of view on an important issue. SPEA and IPE are proud of our tradition of hosting a diverse array of events that critically address such complex socio-environmental issues.”
Mellencamp received an honorary degree from IU in 2000 and his name graces the university’s primary indoor athletic training facility. He is one of ten musicians being inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame this year.
Mellencamp's career in music, spanning more than 35 years, has seen him transition from pop star to one of the most highly respected singer/songwriters of a generation. He is an authentic voice of American music and master storyteller with a commitment to creating traditional rock & roll, bittersweet songs of happiness and melancholia, inequality and fervent political dissent. With dozens of hits to his credit, the singer has taken on the plight of the family farmer, issues with authority figures and, of course, his own musings on relationships. Throughout his prolific career, Mellencamp has written more than twenty Top 40 hits, Hits like "Jack and Diane," "Small Town," "Crumblin Down," "The Authority Song," "Rain On The Scarecrow," "Lonely Ol Night," ""R.O.C.K. In The U.S.A.," "Paper In Fire," "Check It Out," "Pink Houses," "Pop Singer," and "Jackie Brown." These iconic American songs have played an important role in defining Midwestern music and developing the rock genre.
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