October 2008

If the Fines film it,
people will come

Andrea and Sean Fine make documentaries – and they aren’t afraid of where their subjects take them. They have filmed Nile crocodile research in Botswana, refugee children in Ugandan war zone, rebels in Colombia and a motorcycle trek across Chile.

Built for the People. The story of TVA

And now the Tennessee Valley has been added to their resume.

The Fines are the award-winning documentary film producers who created “Built for the People: The Story of TVA” in celebration of TVA’s 75th anniversary. The project was commissioned and funded by the TVA retiree organization BVI Inc.

“It was our anniversary tribute to the Valley region and everybody associated with TVA as a way to acknowledge all this agency has done for the Valley and its people over its amazing history,” says Bob Steffy, BVI executive director.

photoThough the Fines are a young couple, they are anything but new to the film industry. For more than 10 years, the two have been producing, directing and shooting documentaries for television and theaters. In 2007, the Fines premiered the documentary feature “War/Dance” at the Sundance Film Festival, winning the Documentary Director Award. The highly acclaimed documentary has won numerous other awards and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature.

Welcome to the Valley

It was a journey of fearless fact-finding from the Smokies to the Shoals that left the couple exhilarated about the TVA documentary, a film that would capture the spirit and people of TVA.

“TVA has been an enormous force of change and progress in the Valley, and it has deeply affected generations of families,” says Andrea Fine. “From the very first meeting we had with the retirees, their commitment to the TVA mission was not ‘just a job’, it was a crusade.”


1: Scenic view of the Kentucky dam and lock underscores the importance of TVA’s vast scope of navigation. 2: Kingston Fossil Plant employee Jim Poston being filmed at Fontana Dam. Poston’s grandfather was among the 5,000 workers who built Fontana Dam. The dam was constructed to transform power from the Tennessee River to build World War II bombers. 3: TVA retiree Leo Cobb of Muscle Shoals cherishes his family’s first fuse box, which he has kept for 70 years. Though hired as a gardener, after 14 years Cobb rose to become one of TVA’s first African-American foremen. 4: Sean Fine interviews Oak Ridge resident Marilou Awiakta for the documentary. Awiakta, Cherokee and Appalachian poet, storyteller and essayist, remembers growing up during the “secret city” days of Oak Ridge. 5: TVA’s majestic Norris Dam was TVA’s first gift to the people of the Valley. Norris Dam was completed Oct. 1, 1933.