‘Bloody Thursday’ film nominated for L.A. Emmy
Every year on July 5, dockworkers take the day off to commemorate what’s known as “Bloody Thursday” – the violence that prompted the founding of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union.
Making this year extra special is news that a locally produced documentary chronicling the 1934 struggle of West Coast dockworkers amid the Great Depression has been nominated for a Los Angeles Area Emmy Award for best historical/cultural show or film.
“It’s such an important story in San Pedro and in any port town on the West Coast,” said producer Jack Baric of San Pedro. The film was co-produced by KOCE-TV, Baric Entertainment and Redtail Media in association with the Harry Bridges Institute.
The hourlong documentary – which will be shown at noon Sunday on KOCE public television – uses audio and video interviews with those who participated in the events, focusing on the activity that took place in May 1934 in Los Angeles.
“We made sure we used the transcripts of the guys who were there,” Baric said. “The ILWU was very smart to interview these guys as they were getting older.”
Because some of the sound and film quality wasn’t good, actors were used to read verbatim from the transcripts.
“There was very little footage, we didn’t have much,” Baric said. “That was one of the challenges. This was 1934, not now when we film everything.”
Collaborating with Baric on the $200,000 film were Jared Cotton and Chris Burke. The Harry Bridges Institute also provided much of the research and assistance.
Baric, while not a longshoreman, said his own interest in documenting the union’s history on film flowed from his deep roots in the San Pedro community.
“I’m a San Pedro guy, so there’s not too many degrees of separation,” he said. “My father-in-law is a longshoreman, my cousins are longshoremen, the buddies I grew up with are longshoremen.”
The final winners will be announced at an Emmy Awards dinner on July 31.
Dockworkers will gather for the annual July 5 Bloody Thursday picnic on Monday at the Harry Bridges Park in Long Beach.
While much has changed in the 76 years since Bloody Thursday, Baric finds some interesting correlations with the ongoing ILWU clerical strike and the nation’s dire financial situation.
“The setting for this film was during the Great Depression and we’re in the worst economic times since then,” Baric said. “The beat goes on.”