June 01--The legend of the Molly Maguires and 19th century outlaw justice in the anthracite fields has been retold in numerous mediums, from books to plays to major motion pictures.
A filmmaker from Minersville treated a crowd of more than 100 to some of his impressions of it with a film called "From The Hard Coal," a 15-minute drama with an emotional punch, on Saturday night at the Sovereign Majestic Theater, Pottsville.
Schuylkill County Commissioner George F. Halcovage Jr. gave it thumbs up.
"You played every emotion and ... I'm crying," Halcovage told the director, James R. Nevada, 21, after the screening.
"Thank you, George," Nevada said.
He's hoping to screen the short at film festivals, like Sundance and the Toronto Film Festival, and he's about to start the application process.
Local actors who starred in the short, including Dave Bradbury, Mahanoy City, and Bobby Maso, Freeland, said they hope the director can one day use it as the basis for a bigger project, like a television series.
"I think every scene is powerful. Every scene evokes a lot of emotion," Maso, 26, said. "I don't think there's a wasted shot, and it has to be that way because of its relatively short length. I think there's absolutely a future for this. I'd love to see it expanded into a mini series. The coal region has a deep history and I'd love to see it explored in a series like that."
An actor who has performed at The Strawberry Playhouse and with The Eckley Players at Eckley Miners Village, Weatherly, Maso had the lead role of "Jack," an innocent man accused of being part of the vigilante band.
"Since I was 12, my whole childhood and growing up has been in Eckley, immersing myself in the 19th century. And as I've grown older I've become more understanding of the plight of the people of that era, and my experiences have really helped me bring that character to life," Maso said.
Bradbury, 37, played a villain, a ruthless mining guard named Bryant.
"I loved it. This is the first time I've seen it and I thought it was really well put together. It's a beautiful movie and it told the story really well. I grew up in the coal region, and I heard the stories of the Molly Maguires and people like Bryant really existed," Bradbury said after the screening.
Born in Minersville, Nov. 27, 1992, Nevada, 21, is a son of Jim S. and Darlene Nevada. He attended St. Nicholas Elementary School until eighth grade. His family now resides in Doylestown. According to his resume, his goal is to "learn, network and find a career in the film industry." He is owner of The Teaberry Entertainment Co. He just graduated from the Rochester Institute of Technology's School of Film and Animation.
He started writing "From The Hard Coal" in 2011. He made the $9,000 production as a thesis requirement, but it became more of a personal project.
It was filmed for the most part in the area between September and November 2013. Local locations included Pioneer Tunnel Coal Mine & Steam Train Inc., Ashland; The Maid's Quarters, Pottsville; The Old White Church, Ringtown; and Eckley Miners Village, according to Nevada.
For more information on Nevada's work, visit the website for his company, Teaberry Entertainment, at www.teaberryentertainment.com.
"Quick question. Teaberry Entertainment. Teaberry? Is that what I think it is?" Halcovage asked Nevada during the Q-and-A after the film.
"Yes. It's named after Teaberry Hill in Minersville," Nevada said.
Members of Nevada's family in the crowd included his grandparents, Russell and Dorothy Souchak, who owned DeGutis Pharmacy, 245 Sunbury St., Minersville, which closed in 2008.
Also in the crowd was Matt Bubel, 29, of Tresckow, who played a miner named McNaulty.
"I loved the movie. When I first read the script, I loved it. But now actually seeing it, I'm blown away. And I've never seen myself on screen before. It's an interesting experience. I wish I had better words to describe it," Bubel said after seeing the film for the first time Saturday night.
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