Moving Mountains photo

Moving Mountains

Laura Sky says that her film Moving Mountains is a 'celebration of our own capacity as women'. And no wonder. Ten years ago it would have been unheard of to find women working alongside men in open pit coal mines, but today the women at Fording Coal, in the mountain-top community of Elkford, B.C., 'the stars' of the film, are doing just that. Donned with hard-hats, goggles, green overalls and thermal vests, metal and rope swinging from their belts, these indomitable women have taken their place in the blasting crews that blow holes in the sides of mountains, or as drivers of the gigantic, bungalow-sized bulldozers and loaders, of which the wheels alone are twice their height.

They had to move mountains just to get there. The company was initially reluctant and began hiring women for outside work only after the women's union, the United Steelworkers of America, began filing complaints with the B.C. Human Rights Commission.

And the struggle did not end there. The women in Moving Mountains talk candidly about their original shyness. Some of the men in the film are supportive, including significantly, the local union president. In one scene a woman trains her husband on the heavy equipment. Others admit they will never get used to women in such a role. "I'm glad to know my wife is sitting in the comfort of my home instead of out in all this dirt," says one.

Moving Mountains stands on its own as a half hour of great entertainment. Backed by the original, funky, footstomping music of Donna Green, the men and women at Fording Coal speak with sensitivity and humour.

But interest in the issues raised in the film will carry on long after the projector is turned off. To this end each print of the film is accompanied by a useful resource pamphlet, offering suggestions for initiating group discussion around the film, and supplying a valuable list of reference material which deals with women in non-traditional work.

Join the celebration.

Moving Mountains was produced by Laura Sky in association with E. Gérard Docquier, National Director, United Steelworkers of America, and was made possible by grants from the United Steelworkers of America, the Canadian Labour Congress, the Women's Bureau, Labour Canada, and the Ontario Arts Council.