Pueblo native, filmmaker eyes Ludlow-based project
BY JON POMPIA | JPOMPIA@CHIEFTAIN.COM FEB 11, 2017
A Pueblo native and video production company executive has announced an upcoming project with close ties to Southern Colorado.
Carrie L. Gomez is co-owner of the Denver-based SCY (pronounced "see") Pictures, an all-Latina company dedicated to "creating films that advocate for women's rights, address issues faced by under-represented communities and promote awareness of the adversities that at-risk populations face in today's society."
SCY Pictures' latest project is entitled "Ludlow," which hearkens back to the tragic 1914 massacre in the coal camp near Aguilar.
"Ludlow," penned by award-winning writer Bruce Leaf, tells the story of a young coal miner (Leo) who falls in love with a wealthy mine owner's daughter (Lizzie) while battling the owner and National Guard troops in the bloody labor strike.
"The Ludlow Massacre was a pivotal time in U.S. history," Gomez said. "It was a time when the coal-mining industry prevailed and coal companies would recruit their miners from foreign populations in order to find the cheapest labor possible.
"Immigrants from all over the world came to America in hopes to better their life, only to be discriminated against, exploited and treated harshly by their employers and by the surrounding communities."
Gomez said she became familiar with the Ludlow Massacre through a 2004 college history class.
"I quickly became interested in it and began researching, writing papers and even did my graduate portfolio documentary on it," Gomez said. "I feel that this is a topic that is not only pertinent to today's history but also to the labor movement that started the unionization of companies."
SCY Pictures has partnered with Main Man Films to produce the script and develop a six-part series based on the historical content of the Ludlow Massacre.
It is Gomez's hope that once completed, "Ludlow" will be unveiled at film festivals and potentially through Netflix or HBO.
SCY Pictures recently produced an award-winning short film, "WORN," from a story written by Jeffrey Palmer. Directed by Stephen Mathis, it's a film that shows the connection between a father, a son and the homeless.
The piece collected several awards, including Best Short Unproduced Screenplay (NYC Picture Start Film Festival) and Best Short Story Screenplay (Salt Lake City Film Festival).
For more information, visit scypictures.com.
November 12, 2016
Denver production companies to produce Ludlow Massacre story.
Two Denver production companies, Main Man Films and SCY Pictures, have agreed to collaborate to produce a feature film and TV series based on the award-winning script LUDLOW about the coal miners’ strike and Ludlow massacre in Colorado a century ago.
The importance of what happened at Ludlow and its relevance to today’s world cannot be overstated. Meeting the nation’s energy needs, wealth distribution, the right to unionize, racism, xenophobia and worker safety are issues as important today as they were when the miners went on strike in 1913.
Arthur O. Thomas, founder of Main Man Films, said: “Shedding light on America’s untold stories is paramount in healing today’s divided society. We must never forget the importance of the Ludlow uprising and the benefits afforded to today’s workers.”
For years, the tragedy at Ludlow has captured the interest of Carrie L. Gomez, creative director and an owner of SCY Pictures. “I feel that it's important,” she said, “to let people know that this event was the foundation of labor history in this country and the beginning of the benefits of unionization.”
The award-winning script LUDLOW is a historical drama seen through the eyes of a young coal miner, who becomes a strike leader while falling in love with the daughter of the wealthy mine operator.
The screenplay was honored with a first-place award at the 2016 Moondance International Film Festival.
Festival founder and Executive Director Elizabeth English said, “LUDLOW is a wonderful, insightful story by Bruce Leaf, a multi-award-winning writer at Moondance, which shines a dramatic light on the coal miners' strike in southern Colorado, uniquely capturing the personal lives of the participants and the terrible tragedy of the infamous Ludlow massacre.”
Miners went on strike in the fall of 1913 owing to lethal working conditions, a mine operator committed at all costs to meeting the country’s demand for coal, and an inspiring speech by labor activist Mother Jones. The mine operator retaliated by forcing the miners and their families, about a thousand people, out of their company-owned homes and into a tent camp. They endured a bitterly cold winter, beatings by mine thugs, and random sniping by National Guard troops brought in by the governor.
The story revolves around LEO, a miner who becomes embittered after a mine explosion kills his friend. He falls in love with LIZZIE, the idealistic daughter of the mine operator named COLTON. She joins Leo in the camp, believing that the miners, many of whom are immigrants chasing an elusive American Dream, are being mistreated by her father and deserve a better life. Leo joins a group of militant miners who dynamite Colton’s house and smuggle guns into the camp. Day by day, tensions rise. Strikers are angry that scabs have taken their jobs, Colton has trouble filling orders because the scabs are poorly trained miners, and National Guard soldiers are bored and angry because they haven’t been paid.
The strike drags on into the spring of 1914, and the governor pulls all but 200 soldiers out of Ludlow. The situation erupts on April 20, 1914, when the soldiers attack and machine gun and burn the camp to the ground. Men, women and children are shot while Leo and scores of strikers fight back. Lizzie takes shelter with women and children in a pit dug under a tent, but it catches fire and collapses, killing all but Lizzie. When Leo sees the horror and damage, he leads strikers and Lizzie into the foothills of the Rockies and fights a guerrilla war against the troops. They corner Leo and Lizzie in an abandoned building, and he dies protecting her from relentless gunfire.
The guerrilla war lasted ten days, ending only when regular Army soldiers arrived to support the National Guard. The strike ultimately failed. More than 75 strikers, women, children and soldiers were killed, and an untold number were wounded during the 15-month strike. Ludlow is now commemorated as a National Historic Landmark.
Thomas, founder of Main Man Films, an international digital creation and film production company based in Englewood, Colo., is an experienced television and film producer whose work includes the Lionsgate-distributed film SHADOW WALKERS. He received a Telly Award for TIFFANY AT BREAKFAST, starring Bill Cobbs and Vickilyn Reynolds, and he was awarded the Audience Choice Award for BED OF DREAMS from the Tri-Media Festival. He has operated Main Man Films since 2002 and has produced television and film projects in Japan, Belize, South Africa, the United Kingdom and the U.S.
Gomez has worked short films and features. In 2015, she finished three feature films and one short film. She is one of the owners of SCY Pictures (pronounced see), an all Latina production company that brings meaningful, important stories to life. She believes that SCY Pictures can increase the number of minorities and women in entertainment and media. Yari Figueroa and Shannon Solis-Leasau work with Gomez as creative producers and co-owners of SCY Pictures.
Leaf has optioned three scripts, two of which are in pre-production. He has placed first in four national or international screenwriting competitions, including the Page International Screenwriting Awards. Before moving to screenwriting, he was a newspaper editor for 25 years, working for a wire service in San Francisco and two newspapers, the Daily Camera and the Rocky Mountain News, where he won numerous journalism awards.
The Women of SCY Pictures
This month we are shaking up our member spotlight by showcasing three lovely ladies who are placing their mark on the Colorado film scene with a new film company focused on creating opportunities for Latina filmmakers.
Meet: Carrie L. Gomez, Shannon Solis-Leasau & Yari Figueroa!
The three women created SCY Pictures after meeting each other through their own passion projects both volunteering for a non-profit and on film sets. The three soon discovered that their partnership was a perfect fit, in fact Carrie describes the relationship as not only a professional one, “but they are also my sisters.”
It didn’t take long for Shannon, Carrie & Yari to create SCY Pictures, which is a film and video production company in Denver, Colorado. They are the only production company owned by three Latina women and as such, feel that they have a unique point of view. In addition to providing top quality production services to clients, the founders of SCY also provide the public with quality original entertainment by producing their own projects, which they hope will bring cultural and gender awareness in addition to creating discussion around facing adversity.
When Carrie first approached Shannon and Yari about this adventure, she was reading everywhere about the lack of representation of women & Latina filmmakers in Hollywood. She wanted to bridge that gap because, “we have a passion and are creative and it is important to know that we as female producers we can make a difference not only in our work but within our culture.”
Yari believes it is important to represent talented women who are a minority in the film industry in positions behind the camera. Women are capable of providing the same level of quality as their male counterparts in crew positions and SCY Pictures provides an atmosphere where women can feel less intimidated to take opportunities that come along with the confidence that they can do it and do it well. Yari feels that “an all Latina company brings a certain point of view that is not often seen in visual story telling. Our experiences within a minority culture allow us to think outside the box in many ways and can bring a creative and fresh perspective to stories we wish to tell.”
The ladies of SCY Productions are currently working on a non-profit promo video for Mirror Image arts. Carrie explains this is an opportunity to show that in addition to team-building, “using some form of the arts helps kids think in different ways and established another outlook on situations like bullying. I think that for projects with SCY Pictures, we want to be able to dive into the world of powerful women characters that can bring some form of education, and show that there are smart and talented women in this world that deserve to be heard.”
SCY Productions is also preparing to start pre-production on an original screen play written by Carrie called “A Girl Like Me” which is a beautiful narrative of a Latina woman struggling to choose between her sexuality or her family.
Looking toward the future, SCY Pictures hopes to provide opportunities for female filmmakers and female industry professionals to work and standout along with their male peers. Yari explains, “We want to provide them with an avenue to feel safe stepping into positions they may have been intimidated to accept before.” As far as enriching the community, Carrie shares a few possibilities for the future: “We have talked about a few things, maybe teaching video and editing to underprivileged kids or working with kids in some way to help them develop their dreams. As far as the Latina community, I think being that voice that no one knows about will help others wanting to be heard, either through their screenplays or other film projects.”
You can learn more about Carrie, Yari & Shannon and their future projects on their site: http://www.scypictures.com