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      Filmmakers bring the Italian Hall Disaster to the big screen

      The 1913 Italian Hall Disaster; a tragedy during the copper mine strike that still lives deep in the hearts of many residents.

      "The way the story goes is that there was a cry of fire in the midst of the Christmas party, and the crowd stampeded down the stairs," said Thomas Baker, park ranger for the Keweenaw National Historical Park.

      Seventy-four people died on that Christmas Eve including children.

      The tragedy was almost 100 years ago. Although the hall was torn down in 1984, some of the sandstone blocks were preserved and a memorial was built.

      In a documentary titled "1913 Massacre," two filmmakers, inspired by a Woody Guthrie song, followed the tragedy with firsthand accounts from those who were there that night.

      "I was there, my sister was there. I went down the fire escape, but my sister went down the stairway, and they were falling down on the stairs, and I guess she had a body on her arm that was laying on her arm and then somebody came by and lifted the body off and took her off, otherwise she would've been dead, too," said Julia Picchiottino, one of the survivors.

      Many of the victims were taken to the Calumet Theatre as a holding ground until they were finally laid to rest at the Lakeview Cemetery in Calumet.

      Executive director of the Calumet Theatre says people still have questions about the tragedy.

      "The Calumet Theatre has been approached many times on where were the bodies brought. Were they brought to the ballroom, were they brought to the stage? And people have come for years looking for that answer as well, and we don't have a firm answer on that even,â?? said Laura Miller.

      In honor of the lives lost in the tragedy, the theatre is offering a free screening of the film Friday at 7 p.m. and Saturday at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.

      There will also be a question and answer session with the filmmakers.