The Bituminous Coal Queens of Pennsylvania

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The Bituminous Coal Queens of Pennsylvania
Directed by David Hunt
Jody Eldred
Produced by Patricia Heaton
Starring Sarah Rush
Music by Michael Wolff
Cinematography Jody Eldred
René Jung
Edited by Edgar Burcksen
Distributed by Netflix
Release date
  • October 16, 2005 (2005-10-16) (Heartland Film Festival)
Running time
89 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $350,000[1]

The Bituminous Coal Queens of Pennsylvania is a 2005 documentary film directed by David Hunt and Jody Eldred about the fiftieth annual "Pennsylvania Bituminous Coal Queen" beauty pageant which took place on Sunday, August 17, 2003 at the State Theatre Center for the Arts (Uniontown, Pennsylvania). The film is produced by Hunt's wife Patricia Heaton, and prominently features actress Sarah Rush, who was herself a Coal Queen in her youth. Heaton describes the film as "an homage to small town America".[2]

The film follows the past and present contestants and winners of the annual beauty pageant sponsored by the bituminous coal industry of Greene County, Pennsylvania and was shot over a 10-day period in August 2003.[3] The movie's budget swelled from $45,000 to $350,000 after the licensing for the various song snippets that appear in the contestants' acts.[1]

A memorable character is the pageant's stage manager, who is easily offended when the contestants make requests and suggestions. He has since been fired.[1]

Featured contestants
Name Act Representing
Dana Bukovitz Tap dance Frazier High School
Alyssa Corfont Tap dance to "Fame" Waynesburg Central High School
Elizabeth Gessner Piano and voice performance of "Change the World" Geibel Catholic High School
Mary Hawkins Dance Jefferson-Morgan High School
Christine Henry Dance Mapletown Junior-Senior High School
Jessica Levo Voice performance of "I Enjoy Being a Girl" Carmichaels Area High School
Abbey Lion Dance Laurel Highlands High School
Ryann Over Dance/lipsync to "All That Jazz" Uniontown Area Senior High School
Malana Piatt Baton performance to "All That Jazz" Bethlehem Center High School
Michelle Tanner Voice performance of "The Rose" Albert Gallatin High School
Laura Yost Xylophone Clay-Battelle High School


  1. ^ a b c Bond, Paul (2006-02-03), "Timely documentary mines world of 'Coal Queens'", The Hollywood Reporter, Los Angeles, California, ISSN 0018-3660, archived from the original on 2012-01-26 
  2. ^ Patricia Heaton on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, May 17, 2006
  3. ^ Pitz, Marylynne (2006-06-11), "Movie documents Bituminous Coal Queens", Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, ISSN 1068-624X, retrieved 2012-01-26, In August 2003, director David Hunt and two film crews documented the festival for 10 days. Then, he edited 74 hours of footage into 90 minutes, which took a year. The movie budget was about $450,000. 

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