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.