Film-maker David Riker (LaCiudad) is to direct a remake of the1953 film Salt Of The Earth, theoriginal release of which was blocked during the McCarthy era, for Echo LakeProductions and Esparza/Katz Productions.
The film will be produced byDoug Mankoff of Echo Lake along with Moctesuma Esparza and Robert Katz ofEsparza/Katz Productions and Paul S Mezey who produced La Ciudad. Becca Wilson, daughter of original screenwriterMichael Wilson is co-producing. The film will be shot on location in GrantCounty, New Mexico.
Salt Of The Earth is the true story of a New Mexico zinc mine strikein 1950 in which the predominantly Mexican-American miners overcame hugeobstacles to solve white management's strike-breaking tactics. The originalfilm, made between real-life New Mexico mining families and blacklistedHollywood film-makers, was itself beset with obstacles such as the deportation ofthe lead actress and a boycott by many US theatres.
The original was written byWilson, whose credits included A Place In The Sun and The Bridge On The River Kwai, and directed by Herbert Biberman, one of theblacklisted Hollywood ten who defied the congressional committee investigating'un-American activities' in the entertainment industry. Paul Jarrico, also ablacklisted screenwriter, produced the film which was eventually selected for the US Library Of Congress Registry Of Films.
"Fifty years later, thethemes of Salt of the Earth areas relevant as ever," said Riker in a statement. "Many of the women who joinedthe picket lines and starred in the original film are still alive, now in theireighties. Their children and grandchildren still work in the mines. There isgreat excitement about re-making the film and re-telling their story. Only thistime, their hope and ours is that the film will finally reach the audience itdeserves."
"Salt of the Earth is an American treasure and yet very few people knowabout the film because it was essentially banned during the McCarthy period,"Mankoff said. "I am very excited about working with David Riker and Paul Mezeyonce again, as well as with Esparza/ Katz and Becca Wilson to bring thisbeautiful, timeless story to contemporary audiences."
"This exciting project hasbeen near and dear to our hearts since the 1980's when we first discussed theidea with Paul Jarrico," said Robert Katz, speaking of the producer who died in1997 in an auto accident returning from an event commemorating the blacklistera. "We are pleased to be working with David Riker and our partners to seethat it is finally coming to fruition."
Echo Lake is an independentproduction outfit with exclusive access to a private investment equity fund.Since 1998, the company has produced and financed ten films including LaCiudad, Things Behind The Sun, Thirteen Conversations About One Thing and The Big Empty.