Kentucky native Ron Schmidt talked more Wednesday about his passion movie project to Paducah Rotarians, describing it as a Kentucky story that’s about unity, relationships and the game of baseball.
Schmidt, of Cleveland, Ohio, is working to produce “This Field Looks Green To Me,” a film inspired by Kentucky’s first integrated Little League baseball team in the coal mining town of Middlesboro. He’s looking to film parts of the movie in Paducah and parts of it in Middlesboro — roughly 350 miles away.
It’s a coming of age story that centers on the young lives of three characters, and begins in the summer of 1953 — around the time a group of nine men introduced an integrated Little League team. The story is told “through the eyes” of 12-year-old Charlie, who is a Black player on the baseball team.
“Kids need us to give them hope. The men 70 years ago showed leadership in the coal mining town of Middlesboro,” he told Rotarians, during this week’s meeting at The Carson Center. “The kids followed their lead and learned how to build relationships across the color line through sports.”
In his Rotary presentation, Schmidt played a video that detailed the story of “This Field Looks Green To Me,” the origin of the title and the importance of mentorship for youth. As previously reported, he’s planning local locations for filming, including the historic Hotel Metropolitan and Columbia Theatre.
He told Rotarians there are different ways to be involved in the project, such as being an investor or sponsor. Among his plans, Schmidt is interested in bringing a small legacy field to Paducah and Middlesboro, where people can visit where the film was shot. He’s visited Paducah in recent months to scout filming locations and talk with different community members about the project.
After the meeting, Schmidt gave an update on the film’s status.
“The script is written,” he told The Sun.
“You can’t do any hiring for actors and everything until you get the money, so I’m looking for money. But, what I’m doing is — it’s kind of like a good business plan — I’m promoting the movie and promoting the idea before we even shoot anything.”
The film’s potential production budget is around $6 million, and Schmidt indicated he wants production to start in fall this year. He said he and the film’s director, Adanma Onyedike Barton, plan to visit Paducah Middle School later this week to talk with students about the project.
People can visit this fieldlooksgreentome.com to learn more.
Follow Kelly Farrell on Twitter, @KellyAFarrell11