Documentary Film Synopsis
When highway signs commemorating folk hero Ginger Goodwin disappear, the documentary Goodwin’s Way finds the nearby Cumberland, B.C. at a crossroads with its history.
Goodwin, a rebellious labour activist, was slain by police under mysterious circumstances almost a century ago, yet his name still elicits wounds that date back to the town’s coal mining past.
Residents weave an oral tapestry of fact and myth - some remember Goodwin as a criminal, while many others admire the ideals of equality and self-determination he fought for. Those ideals have long been overshadowed by Cumberland’s dependency on a resource economy, which are chronicled from boom times to bust.
Now, as young families set their sights on building a sustainable generation, a new proposal for a coal mine threatens to make history repeat itself. Amidst an effort to oppose the project, residents young and old reconnect with Ginger Goodwin’s legacy - his ‘way’.
Goodwin’s Way straddles the dividing line between historical and current-event documentary genres to tell the story of a community fighting for autonomy over its past, and its future.
Founded by coal baron Robert Dunsmuir in the 1880′s as a small coal mining camp, Cumberland quickly grew into Canada’s western-most city, and an epicentre of British Columbia’s early labour battles...
Mine accidents, striker evictions, Chinese exclusion, Japanese internment, and the slaying of Ginger Goodwin were the odds that Cumberlanders stood against. But generations of struggle transformed a ‘work camp’ into a tight knit community with a fierce sense of autonomy.
By the 1960s coal mining was finished in the area – almost 300 had died in the mines, and the surrounding watershed was left contaminated. Dark clouds continued to hang over the town – old wounds went unreconciled…
Now, after decades of post-industrial decline, a new generation of young families have re-discovered the sleepy village, but a proposal for new underground coal mines leave Cumberland's future uncertain.