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Sand Creek Massacre to be re-created on film in Soul of Silas

While the University of Denver explores the role that John Evans, its founder, had to the Sand Creek Massacre, some people have moved beyond study to action. Aaron Sears, for example, has written a script for a movie he plans to direct: The Soul of Silas. The film is far from a big-budget affair -- in fact, Sears admits it's an "amateur" effort -- but it has big intentions. "I want to change the name of streets down here," he says. "It makes me disgusted to have names like Evans and Downing. I want to create a movie to bring awareness to what's going on."

A decade ago, Sears was doing some research for an autobiographical movie -- the Denver house where he grew up was allegedly haunted -- when he came upon the story of Sand Creek. "How did we not know about this?" he asks today. On November 29, 1864, 700 troops led by Colonel John Chivington, a Methodist minister, rode into a peaceful camp of Arapaho and Cheyenne on Sand Creek and killed over 150 people, most of them elderly men, women or children. "And not just killed women and children, but they then butchered them to pieces," Sears says. "It was a no-holds-barred massacre."

In fact, the federal government labeled it a massacre in a treaty the next year, after a Congressional committee investigated. Silas Soule, a captain who'd ridden with Chivington but refused to participate, testified before Congress; he was murdered on the streets of Denver in April 1865. "And how did we not know about this guy?" Sears asks.

As he dug deeper and deeper into the story, he decided it had to be a movie, and one that focused on Soule. "We're trying to bring some justice," he says. Interested in getting involved? Sears and his producer, Jamie Crowe, are currently looking for actors; they'll be holding a casting call today from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and again from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, April 20, at the Oriental Theater. Here are some of the details from the Soul of Silas Facebook page:

We are creating a film that will intrigue, educate, and empower change over injustices on our native people, not just involved with this true historic story that takes place in the Colorado territory in 1864, but over all time in which the darkest truths have been the very information withheld in our institutional textbooks; this story will bring to its audience a very eye-opening experience. The film The Soul of Silas is about Silas Soule, who is a 'historical figure' known for his moral courage. And it also involves many of Colorado's founding fathers and the conflicts that ensued. This is a passion project with special attention paid to historical accuracy. And with the intention to attempt and change certain Denver street names, as to no longer champion the tyrannical, homicidal leaders of this region, WE NEED YOUR HELP!!!....

The roles needed for this film are mostly "standing," but this movie is meant to drop some jaws, so there WILL be some very intense scenes that some of the actors and actresses will have to be very emotional and hectic. We have a very short time to film so the cast and crew will be working very fast. We need people who are punctual and can work under pressure. There will be little prep time for each shot. We are looking for people who are passionate about the story and who are natural & calm but also bring their own zest to each part....

Authenticity: The massacre scene will be very intense and action packed, requiring running, falling and getting shot with fake guns. It will require intense action during the raid of the Native tribe and the atrocities that took place that day were horrid, and require some rather gruesome scenes to be shot. It is horrid but happened!!! Please understand that these roles, scenes and portrayals are to educate the viewers of this film of the travesties that actually took place in 1800s America. We do not intend to offend ANYONE involved, because there will be some very intense scenes shot. Our mission is to portray the truth of what took place. There WILL NOT be any real firearms or weapons on set, so DO NOT BRING YOUR OWN FIREARMS. Non firing prop Guns are accepted.

A signed and witnessed insurance waver form is required by all people on set. Anyone with out a signed waiver will not be admitted on location.

Thank you from CITY11 Productions...

From the Calhoun: Wake-Up Call archive: "Silas Soule's letter tells the true story of Sand Creek, but like the massacre, it was misplaced."

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