YOUNGSTOWN -- The once embattled Mark Colucci is planning to produce and direct a film documenting the history of laborers in Youngstown.
The film, "Hands of Steel," will be written and directed by Colucci with assistance from local community volunteers. Colucci said he also plans to film and edit the footage himself.
"This is my penance to the community," the former lawyer said.
Colucci was sentenced in 2004 to 18 months in prison for admittedly collecting taxes from his employees but failing to pay the IRS from 1996-2001, and for failing to pay $291,149 in personal income tax from 1997-2001. The court also ordered him to participate in a drug treatment program and to receive mental health treatment.
"Hands of Steel," Colucci said, will focus on the 1937 strikes by steelworkers, with some of the issues from the 1916 strike incorporated.
"The history's never really been told," he said.
A meeting was held at Our Lady, Comforter of the Afflicted Shrine, 517 S. Belle Vista Avenue, where about 20 people participated in the first official meeting of cast and crew. The script, he said, is not entirely finished, but will progress as filming begins. Colucci scripted and created the storyboard himself. Most of the movie will be shot locally.
"A lot of people are realizing Youngstown isn't a bad place to make a movie," he said.
Also, Colucci said, the film will portray Youngstown in a good light, using words such as "honor," "recognize" and "remember," frequently.
Colucci said he began spending a lot of time at the Youngstown Historical Center of Industry and Labor, researching the history of laborers in the area. Archival footage and photographs will be incorporated into his film.
"Hands of Steel," Colucci said, is important to him because not only will it honor local workers (specifically AFL-CIO members), but it was a dying wish of his father's.
"My father worked at the William B. Pollock Factory on Andrews Avenue for 38 years," Colucci said. "I always wanted to do a tribute to him."
"Before this city recovers, we have to remember who we were," Colucci contended.
All of the talent will be local actors, with or without experience, he said.
"Don't worry, I'll teach you how to act," Colucci said to the meeting's attendants. "I'm not trained to, but I'm not dumb either. But we can keep doing it, that's one of the great things about working with film."
The score for the film will be composed by Youngstown State University's Dana School of Music's Chair of Composition, Robert Rollin.
Rollin said he has composed the score for one other movie, an experimental film in Chicago "years ago."
"I wanted to lend my support. It seemed like a good thing and he seems very excited about it," Rollin said.
He was unsure how long it would take to produce all of the music for "Hands of Steel."
"It's like anything else. You get what you put in," Rollin said.
Dan Brandt and Ryan Coffey, composition students at Dana, will help create the score. Both said they have created concert pieces, but have not created anything for a film.