Her article, “Historic mission: Film explores Stockyards’ transition from industry to entertainment hub,” ran on June 25, 2016 and brought some well-deserved notice to the film project and additional support in the form of DVD Preorders.
“It was scary to see my picture on the front of Fort Worth Business, but we sure are grateful for their write-up on the Film Project,” said McLeod on the SFP’s Facebook page.
The film follows the Stockyards’ transition from being a center for livestock sales and meatpacking to becoming a hub for Western entertainment and tourism. The idea for the documentary came in 2009, when the film’s project coordinator and producer, Rosalie McLeod, and Fort Worth businessman Steve Murrin were having a casual conversation about the people who contributed to the businesses that existed in the Stockyards at the time.
“We were sitting there musing, basically,” McLeod said. “We wished that we had their stories.”
So she and Walters began filming. However, the footage “sat on the shelf” for five years, she said, until Stockyards renovation talks began in 2014. They then realized that the time was ripe to come out with a film.
They set out to finish the documentary with a meager crew that consisted of Walters and McLeod, cameraman Don Garland and music composer Ron DiIulio. They tapped Western entertainer Red Steagall to narrate the film and interviewed Stockyards icons such as Murrin, former White Elephant Saloon owner Joe Dulle and chef Tim Love. They also spoke with Stockyards developer Holt Hickman before he died in 2014.
Walters said the film is a sequel, really, to his first documentary about the Stockyards, Wall Street of the West, which was released in 2001. The first film followed the Armour & Co. and Swift & Co. meatpacking plants, which bustled with business before the Armour plant closed in 1962 and the Swift plant closed in 1971. The film ended with the closing of the plants.
The new film is about what happened next. The area began to transition into more of an entertainment center with the White Elephant Saloon opening in the 1970s and the coliseum becoming a venue for wrestling and rodeo. The big boom came when Billy Bob’s Texas honky-tonk opened in 1981. Walters calls that the “turning point” of the film. Billy Bob’s attracted big-name performers such as Willie Nelson and Larry Gatlin. From then on, the Stockyards became the go-to place for Western entertainment.
“The story is about the transition,” Walters said. “It hung onto its history and heritage, and it made a successful economic transition.”
The story (read it in its entirety here) also included a link to the main SFP website along with information about the film’s fund raising and preordering the DVD and more information about the film’s first confirmed film festival screening coming this November at the Lone Star Film Festival.