Documentary puts focus on Valley

The Our Power documentary takes a look at more than 20 Latrobe Valley community advocates, businesses and residents. photograph supplied

The Our Power documentary takes a look at more than 20 Latrobe Valley community advocates, businesses and residents. photograph supplied

Two Melbourne filmmakers have pledged to literally give the red-carpet treatment to the stars of their latest film, the people of the Latrobe Valley.

Our Power is a documentary which captures a history of the local coal industry, shines a light on the Hazelwood mine fire of 2014 and capture an "alternative narrative starting to stir in the Valley".

"The [mine] fire has been the spark in the community ... the community is looking for justice right now and want to be in control of their own destiny," director Peter Yacono said.

Mr Yacono and producer Anissha Vijayan's film is their first feature-length production which was three years in the making.

The film draws on public records footage of the SEC "glory days" in an "old-school" video montage.

"You see the camps and the tents all the men used to stay in," Mr Yacono said.

The film features the 2014 mine fire and its aftermath, looking at volunteer firefighters to the excavators who dug up hot spots in the mine for weeks and specialists who could explain the effect of particulate matter on the body.

Mr Yacono said, before the project started, he had no idea so much of the state's power came from the Latrobe Valley and the aim of the film was partly to bring both Melbourne and the Latrobe Valley together in understanding.

"We really wanted to talk to every subset of Latrobe Valley community," he said.

The filmmakers spoke to more than 20 groups to offer a snapshot of pockets of thought around the region.

This included former CFMEU Victorian mining and energy division president Luke van der Meulen, ex-Hazelwood workers and people "on the other side of the coin" such as Earthworker Cooperative's Dan Musil and Gippsland Solar's Andy McCarthy, whose "business has gone from strength to strength".

Community figures such as Morwell Neighbourhood House manager Tracie Lund and Voices of the Valley president Wendy Farmer also feature in the film.

Mr Yacono described it as a very thorough and thought-out production, which aims to encourage state-wide discussion "in this transition in energy".

"We're literally buying a red carpet and rolling it out for the Valley [for the screenings]," he said.

The first screening of Our Power will be on Friday, June 1 at Lavalla Catholic College, 206/204 Grey Street, Traralgon from 6pm.

The second will be on Saturday, June 2 at Morwell Bowling Club, 52 Hazelwood Road, Morwell from 6pm.

The third screening will be on Sunday, June 3 at Moe RSL, 63-68 Albert Street, Moe from 2pm.

Tickets are free but seats are limited.

To reserve a ticket, visit ourpowerdoco.com/screenings.

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