Staff Pick: Won’t Pipe Down

Won’t Pipe Down | 2015 | 23 min
Marley McDonald, Dan McNew, Art Pekun, Abby Riggleman
2016 Official Selection & Student Filmmaker Award


This pick is my thank you letter to people all over the world who just Won’t Pipe Down! To the communities and individuals fighting for a cleaner planet. To the folks 2015-WSFF-Staff Picks Laurel3fighting for environmental rights in their own backyards. And to the storytellers – people like Marley McDonald, Dan McNew, Art Pekun, and Abby Riggleman – the filmmakers who are behind the short documentary Won’t Pipe Down and who present a David and Goliath battle between the residents of Nelson County, Virginia and the Dominion Power company. This community’s opposition to the Atlantic Coast Pipeline explores and informs about environmental justice, property, and individual rights.


Won’t Pipe Down is a thoughtfully woven film that focuses on stories of the people – individuals who are connected to their land and want to protect it. Residents of Nelson County face having their lives and livelihoods uprooted by the construction of a pipeline that would have no direct benefit to them. Sounds discouraging, but what I like about Won’t Pipe Down is that by the end I feel a sense of hope. The film tells a story of success, of a community coming together to have their voices heard. This film strengthens my belief that when an unwanted entity threatens a community, it is possible to band together under a common vision and protect the things that truly matter.

I selected Won’t Pipe Down as my staff pick this month, in part due to the state of affairs playing out in North Dakota as we speak. The proposed $3.8 billion pipeline that would carry nearly 500,000 barrels of crude oil per day from North Dakota to Illinois, met with months of resistance from members of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, members of nearly 100 other tribes and concerned citizens across the US and Canada.

So here’s to you Nelson County, to you Standing Rock, and to all the other communities around the world who Won’t Pipe Down!

Won’t Pipe Down is currently in our Film Library and available to borrow if you’re an active SYRCL member. (Reach out to Alena Loomis to see if your membership is current). You can also check out Won’t Pipe Down at an On Tour stop near you!

This month’s staff pick is brought to you by Jess Swigonski, Festival Liaison for the Wild & Scenic Film Festival.