Monday, January 04, 2016

Save the Wild U.P. to host Jan. 7 showing of Michael Loukinen's documentary "Winona: A Copper Mining Ghost Town"

Poster for Save the Wild U.P.'s Jan. 7 showing of Michael Loukinen's documentary Winona: A Copper Mining Ghost Town. (Poster courtesy Save the Wild U.P.)

MARQUETTE -- Grassroots environmental group Save the Wild U.P. (SWUP) will host a special screening of Michael Loukinen’s documentary Winona: A Copper Mining Ghost Town. The film will be shown from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 7, in the Baraga Conference Room located at 129 W. Baraga Street, Marquette. Note: $5 cover for the film screening.

Michael Loukinen, who serves on Save the Wild U.P.’s Advisory Board, has also made copies of the film for sale at the screening, with proceeds to benefit Save the Wild U.P.’s work.*

"You can dig out the heart of a community, but you can’t kill its spirit," said Chip Truscon, SWUP board member.

Winona, Michigan, a former copper mining town 33 miles south of Houghton is fast becoming a "ghost town." The town’s population has shrunk from an estimated 1,000+ in 1920 to perhaps 13 residents today. Noted documentary filmmaker and sociologist Michael Loukinen has created this beautiful, fascinating and elegiac film documenting the community’s history and demise.

"I really look forward to seeing our supporters at this screening of Winona," said Alexandra Maxwell, SWUP executive director and contributing photographer to the project.

"There’s a poignant human story here, but the film also acknowledges a dirty little secret -- when the mining boom ends, the U.P. is always left with struggling communities and collapsed economies, in addition to a polluted environment."

Loukinen is a retired professor of sociology at Northern Michigan University. He started by trying to teach using 35mm slide presentations. Gradually, he learned 16mm filmmaking, working with experienced filmmakers such as Tom Davenport, Debora Dickson, Kathleen Laughlin and especially Miroslav Janek (Czech Republic). Recently he has teamed up with digital cinema artist, Grant Guston. Most of his films are about the traditional cultures of the Lake Superior Region: Finnish Americans, Anishinaabe (Ojibwe) and wilderness workers (loggers, trappers, and fishers). He has also made three sociological intervention films concerning at-risk youth in alternative schools, adults with disabilities who are fighting for independent lifestyles, and the prevention of vehicular homicide. His films have won both academic and artistic awards and have been featured at film festivals across the country.

* To learn more about Save the Wild U.P., visit their Web site.

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