THE TRADESMEN from Chris Szwedo on Vimeo.
This seventy-five minute film is the result of three and one-half years of effort. Twenty-six times traveling from the East Coast to Pueblo, Colorado to film from the ground-up the construction of one of the last large-scale fossil-fuel plants in America. Early on the decision was made to document it from the perpspective of the three major construction trades-- Ironworker, Pipefitter, and Boilermaker. These three trade unions provided no shortage of interesting characters from which to draw from. Unlimited political and site access, plus access within key construction zones was critical in bringing home the story of not only a major-league construction project, but also the inherent economic risk that companies face in bidding, managing, and bringing a big project to reality.
Our production crew was small with the majority of the camerwork by Chris Szwedo, with an occasional assist from Brooklyn-based DP Jeremy Leach. To reduce impact and liability, no more than one director/cameraman and soundman participated in any site visit, with the average length of stay being two-days. Every construction phase captured was carefully coordinated not only to document evolutions in the project, but to do so safely. To keep pace with real events and the sheer volume of material, editing took place on a quarterly basis, which included original music and the script written by Chris Szwedo. Arizona-based Merlin "Tank" Peterson served as the key advisor and star on the project, in additon to his duties as a Construction Craft Supervisor.
This is a film that began innocently, and grew into a major grueling project, but for which a debt of gratitude is due to the remarkable building tradesmen, who have created the American electrical nfrastructure.