Director: Leah Bonvisutto

Run Time:  1 hour 30 mins (approx)

Screening Block: BONUS EVENT

Date/Time: On Demand

Ticket Price: TBD – This Bonus Event is produced independently and is not included in All Festival Pass

Feature, Recorded Live Performance, Drama, Suspense

Description:  1972, West Virginia. Following a cave collapse, 5 coal miners struggle to survive the dwindling supply of oxygen, lack of food and water, their unravelling sense of time, and their own competing natures. This critically acclaimed, award-winning show has been performed in more than 15 cities across the US, over the last 7 years. This year, due to pandemic mitigation measures, Butcher Holler‘s first international tour was suspended. This video is original quarantine art, parts of which were filmed on tour, parts in self-isolation.

Company Commentary: Our plan in early March, when we embarked on our first international tour, was to perform 5 shows in Sydney, Australia, and then make it over to New Zealand where we would join up with the Wellington and Dunedin fringe festivals. At the time, it was still very uncertain how COVID-19 would impact the US or the world at large, though within mere days, our entire venture turned out to be a lesson in adaptability. In total, we were only able to put on one show in Sydney, before having to rush over to make the New Zealand quarantine curfew on March 15th. When only a couple of days later, all our New Zealand shows had been cancelled, we were compelled to get creative. Like many of our friends and colleagues, we’ve decided to rise to the occasion, to take inspiration from the Chinese wisdom that danger is often closely related to opportunity, and to find a way to continue to make art, despite extreme circumstances.

Half of this film was shot at BATS theatre in Wellington, NZ. The other half was filmed by each of us individually, while under quarantine. We have worked day and night to coordinate our filming, splicing, and post-production, often over terrible WiFi connections and with limited resources. Our goal was ambitious: to try to the best of our ability to capture the rich dynamism of our original stage production. What resulted was a unique approach toward filmed theatre, a cinematic full feature film that doubles as a resilient response to the constraints much of the artistic community is currently facing.

Video streaming and on demand have certainly become the new normal for theatre artists across the world. Rather than merely reacting to global pandemic measures, however, we believe our current project actively engages the question of what new forms are possible in these trying times and during periods of crisis in general. 

Butcher Holler, Here We Come confronts the colossal question of energy dependence by focusing on the real human lives caught in the crosshairs of the energy debate, pinned between the rock of energy dependence, on the one hand, and the hard place of greed, competition, and personal fears / desires / beliefs, on the other. More than anything, Butcher Holler is a story about stories, at a time when human stories are of utmost importance. In times of crisis, symbolic narratives have the tendency to captivate the human imagination and influence the formation of new cultural identities.

 Due to recent developments of the Coronavirus pandemic and global measures to mitigate its disastrous ramifications, many of the seams that held together our global narrative of economic and infrastructural stability are being exposed and beginning to fray. There is no time like the present to begin discussing what sort of future narrative we as world citizens wish to adopt. In what new and creative ways will we give meaning to our lives in the months and years to come. Many artists have been seriously impacted by the COVID pandemic, and it is our responsibility as creative members of society to rise above these adverse circumstances to help initiate the future.