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Westray

2001 1 h 19 min
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In this feature documentary, filmmaker Paul Cowan offers an innovative, moving account of the Westray coal mine disaster that killed 26 men in Nova Scotia on May 9, 1992. The film focuses on the lives of three widows and three miners lucky enough not to be underground that day when the methane and coal dust ignited. But their lives were torn apart by the events. Meet some of the working men, who felt they had no option but to stay on at Westray. And wives, who heard the rumours, saw their men sometimes bloodied from accidents and stood by them, …

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Westray

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In this feature documentary, filmmaker Paul Cowan offers an innovative, moving account of the Westray coal mine disaster that killed 26 men in Nova Scotia on May 9, 1992. The film focuses on the lives of three widows and three miners lucky enough not to be underground that day when the methane and coal dust ignited. But their lives were torn apart by the events.

Meet some of the working men, who felt they had no option but to stay on at Westray. And wives, who heard the rumours, saw their men sometimes bloodied from accidents and stood by them, hoping it would all turn out all right. This is a film about working people everywhere whose lives are often entrusted to companies that violate the most fundamental rules of safety and decency in the name of profit.
  • participant
    Harriet Munroe
    Vicki Drolet
    Wayne Cheverie
    Bernadette Feltmate
    Fraser Agnew
    Carl Guptill
  • director
    Paul Cowan
  • writer
    Paul Cowan
  • photographer
    Paul Cowan
  • producer
    Kent Martin
  • editor
    Hannele Halm
  • production manager
    Patricia Coughran
  • location manager
    Connie Littlefield
  • sound
    Jane Porter
  • additional sound
    Arthur McKay
    Wayne Cormier
  • camera assistant
    Kyle Cameron
  • narrator
    Michael Jones
    Katie Malloch
  • original music composer
    Robert M. Lepage
  • studio musician
    Stéphane Allard
    Claude Castonguay
    Robert M. Lepage
    René Lussier
    Éric Auclair
    Claude Lavergne
    Eric Longsworth
  • production consultant
    Dean Jobb
  • art direction
    Alex Busby
  • production assistant
    Iain MacLeod
    Paul Mitcheltree
    Gillian Matheson
  • additional photography
    Kyle Cameron
    Mike Mahoney
  • set construction
    Scott MacFarlane
  • research
    Paul Cowan
  • location scout
    Margo Mosher
  • technical coordinator
    Patricia Coughran
    Claude Cardinal
  • sound editor
    Alex Salter
  • re-recording
    Jean Paul Vialard
    Shelley Craig
  • titles
    NFB Visual Effects Services
  • studio clerk
    Stephanie Coolen
    Vanessa Larsen
  • program administrator
    John William Lutz
  • executive producer
    Sally Bochner

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Education

Ages 13 to 17
Have a class debate about how fair/unfair it was to hire men without mining experience, including the perspective of the executives from Westray. Write a journal from the perspective of a miner's wife after watching the film and include some of the emotions and events that she would have gone through supporting her husband.
Westray
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