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Impossible Town

NY Premiere

Directors: Meg Griffiths and Scott Faris

United States, 2023, 90 min

Shooting Format:RED Cinema

Festival Year:2024

Category:Documentary Feature

Genres:Environment, Social justice

WINNER: Best Documentary

Crew:Producers: Brandon Hill, Alia Mansoori, Meg Griffiths. Editors: Daniel Roman


After the untimely death of Pakistani-born oncologist Hassan Amjad, his daughter Ayne seeks a definitive solution to her father's unresolved dream of helping Minden, a former coal-company town polluted with carcinogenic PCBs. No stranger to audacious goals, Ayne hatches a plan to relocate Minden's 250 residents to a plot of land purchased in the wake of her father's passing.

When Ayne encounters resistance from the community, she takes her plans statewide, landing a high-profile role as WV's State Health Officer in the early months of the pandemic. Ayne's star rises as she spearheads a much-lauded vaccine rollout, but the demands of her new position make it all but impossible to pursue her goal of moving Minden and her personal dream of raising a family of her own.

In a last-ditch effort to finish her father's work, Ayne dispatches her personal lawyer to launch a class-action lawsuit against industry titans, the proceeds from which may serve as Minden's best hope of financing relocation. With personal and professional obligations mounting, Ayne must decide how much she is willing to sacrifice to make good on her late father's mandate to help others at all costs.


About the directors

Meg Griffiths - Meg began her career as a photo and video journalist at the Houston Chronicle and then held a leadership role at Teach For America where she built the nonprofit's first video studio. After overseeing content development and digital strategy at an LA-based agency, Meg co-founded Universe Creative, a documentary production company. Meg's work has been nominated for a Pulitzer Prize and is supported by the International Documentary Association and Redford Center. She holds a MA in journalism from the University of Texas at Austin.


Scott Faris - Scott grew up in West Virginia and attended NYU's Tisch School of the Arts before teaching 5th grade on the Rosebud Indian Reservation in South Dakota. After working as a video producer for various educational nonprofits, Scott co-founded Universe Creative, an LA-based doc production company, with his friend and long-time colleague, Meg Griffiths. Scott enjoys stories that challenge conventional wisdom and preconceived notions about people and places often overlooked by popular media. He is proud to have visited all fifty US states.

Filmmakers' note

Over the last decade, co-directors Meg Griffiths and Scott Faris have created documentary content for nonprofits, foundations, and socially conscious brands through their production company, Universe Creative. Scott grew up in West Virginia, where the majority of his family resides to this day, and has long desired to tell stories about this often misunderstood and misrepresented state.

IMPOSSIBLE TOWN is fundamentally a meditation on loss. Ayne's loss of her father parallels that of Minden's health, hope, and sense of a brighter future. The film highlights how grief can paralyze those caught in its grip, leading to emotionally-driven interpretations of the world that make it difficult to communicate clearly and find compromise.

Moreover, the film asks audiences to question the persistent modern fantasy that complex environmental issues are best solved through singular heroes and miracle solutions rather than the decidedly grittier work of collective, incremental social, political, and legal progress.

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