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Investigative Film on Penokee Mine Comes to Northern Wisconsin

Natalie Jablonski

A film about a proposed mine in the Penokee Range is screening around the state and in northern Wisconsin. 

Milwaukee-based 371 Productions produced the film for Al Jazeera America’s investigative series Fault Lines.

The half-hour documentary looks at how Gogebic Taconite’s iron mine would impact the environment and the livelihoods of people in northern Wisconsin, and raises questions about the democratic process and the passage of the state’s new ferrous mining bill. 

Producer Devon Cupery says audiences have been responsive to hearing from the local stakeholders involved in the controversy. 

“It seems that people are very happy to have that kind of personal connection—that you can’t necessarily get with a news story," she said, "by hearing directly from the people who are in the film, and getting a better understanding of the issue of this proposed mine.” 

Cupery says a screening at the Midwest Energy Fair in Stevens Point last month packed the tent. 

And she says she’s been surprised by how many people are interested in organizing screenings of the film throughout the state. 

“I hope that it will help raise awareness about the story on the state level, because it is an important story for the state as a whole," she said. "And that people around the state will be able to understand what the stakes are – because it is an important story for everybody that’s involved with the issue.” 

The film is screening Thursday, June 24th in Ashland at the Northern Great Lakes Visitors Center, with a panel discussion to follow that includes Bad River Tribal Chairman Mike Wiggins and state Senator Bob Jauch. 

There is also a screening in Mellen on August 13th, Madeline Island on August 14th, and a Mercer screening still in the works. 

Producer Devon Cupery says people can contact her to organize a local screening in another area.  

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