The Miners' Hymns

The Miners' Hymns
Director: Bill Morrison

USA, United Kingdom, Music documentary, 2011, 52 min, without dialogues, V

The former coal mining communities in North East England are the subject of this inspired documentary by American multi-media artist and filmmaker Bill Morrison. Using rarely-seen footage from the British Film Institute, the BBC, and other archives, “The Miners’ Hymns” celebrates social, cultural, and political aspects of the extinct industry. The story is told entirely without words, yet the film is far from silent: it features a remarkable original score by the Icelandic composer Jóhann Jóhannsson. His exquisite composition for the film draws upon the brass music tradition that was so intertwined with the mining communities. “The Miners’ Hymns” is an emotional and dramatic audiovisual journey through history.

About the director:

Bill Morrison was born in 1965 in Chicago, USA. He studied painting and animation in New York, USA. Over the past twenty years he has built a filmography of more than thirty projects that have been presented in theatres, museums, galleries and concert halls worldwide. His work often makes use of rare archival footage in which forgotten film imagery is reframed as part of our collective mythology. Morrison has been commissioned to create films for numerous composers, including John Adams, Laurie Anderson, Michael Gordon, Henryk Górecki, Jóhann Jóhannsson, David Lang, Steve Reich, Julia Wolfe. “Decasia”, his 2002 feature-length collaboration with composer Michael Gordon, was described as “the most widely acclaimed American avant-garde film of the fin-de-siècle.” In 2011, Morrison’s feature film “Spark of Being” (2010) won the Los Angeles Film Critics’ Award in the Independent / Experimental category.

Section: Music Moves The World

Screenplay: Bill Morrison, Jóhann Jóhannsson

Dir. of Photography: Steven Desbrow

Music: Jóhann Jóhannsson