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Journey to the End of Coal

An educational webdocumentary that lets viewers investigate the world of Chinese coal miners who risk their lives in state-owned and private coal plants. 300 photographs and many hours of video and sound were used to create a striking immersive environment.

There are some places in this world you may wish they never existed. Some places just like the dark lands of Shanxi, China.

Not only is this place known for its alarmous pollution problems and corruption scandals but it is today’s most dangerous coal mining region in the whole world, killing more people every year than anywhere else totaled. A scandalous situation half a million miners are facing there, often resigned to the fact they have no choice but to risk their life if they want to make a decent living.

This story begins in Datong which is located just a couple hours away West from Beijing. You travel from there all around the region and visit its major coal mines, from the “best” state-owned complex to the worst private ones.

In and around the coal mines, you will get the story first hand from the mingong, the rural migrants traveling their country looking for work. At your own pace and will, you meet them at their home, at the Church, on the road, or at work. You hear about how they live their life in this valley of death and pollution, sometimes even literally bumping into them as they leave their home for their night shift, in the frozen winter of Northern China.

Ultimately, you might discover China forbidden mines in which happens most of the accidents and interview its survirvors.

Project details

Year of development :2008
Created by:Samuel Bollendorff
With:Abel Ségrétin and Grégoire Basdevant
Full project credits