A screening of “Badwater,” a television pilot filmed in Mancos and Cortez in 2020, will be shown at the newly renovated Mancos Opera House on Dec. 3 at 6 p.m.
The original television series and first screenplay were written by novelist Chuck Greaves, who lives in McElmo Canyon.
The pilot was directed by Felíx Enríquez Alcalá, a well-known television and film director with credits in “ER,” “Criminal Minds,” “The Good Wife” and “Breaking Bad.”
“Badwater” centers on the disappearance of a missing Native American girl in a fictitious reservation border town and the deep social divisions in a town where law and order don’t always mean truth and justice.
Greaves said the plot was motivated by the ongoing crisis of murdered and missing Indigenous people in the U.S. and elsewhere.
Professional actors were hired for the main roles, and 100 extras from the community were brought on board for various scenes.
Extras came from towns in the Four Corners and from the Ute Mountain Ute, Southern Ute and Navajo Nation Tribes.
A half-dozen local actors were hired for roles with speaking parts. A film crew of 50 to 60 people shot the pilot.
The cast performed in 78 scenes over nine shooting days, Greaves said.
Filming took place in various places including the Mancos High School, downtown Mancos, Montezuma County Combined Courthouse in Cortez, and Angel’s End Zone bar, where local band Flashback performed in the scene.
“The cast and crew were great. It was an intense experience,” said Greaves, who co-produced the pilot.
To make the pilot, $600,000 was raised from investors. The Colorado Office of Film provided a 20% rebate for all expenditures from Colorado.
The pilot was shopped around to the networks, but has not sold, Greaves said. If it does, shooting will continue in Montezuma County, and Greaves has five episodes sketched out.
“That was part of the idea, to bring some economic diversity to the county,” he said.
The “Badwater” screening is a fundraiser for the Colorado National Mustang Association to support its efforts in the Mesa Verde Wild Horse Rescue Project.
Music will by Ravensong, and there will be a Q&A with Greaves. The emcee is Tami Graham of KSUT Public Radio. There will be a cash bar.
Tickets are $25 at the door, or $20 online @tickettailor.com