Saturday, May 6, 2017

Steel Giants dvd

We had the idea for this documentary one morning over breakfast and with six screaming kids. Actually, the idea was to make movies about things people loved and how they enjoyed spending their time. We wondered if hobbies were a dying pastime.

We quickly discovered that they were not, particularly in the railroading world where enthusiasts come from just about every age, race, class, and ethnicity demographic. The railroad is a unifying force, in more ways than one.
This project began where the first 13 miles of railroad in America ended - right across the street from the oldest surviving railroad station in America. There, at a coffee shop, we met with Courtney Wilson, executive director of the B&O Railroad Museum, to pitch the idea. With so much history and power and influence, there were a number of directions we could take with this film. But we all agreed that there were stories worth telling and details worth showing. The details would come.

Courtney Wilson, Executive Director of the B&O Railroad Museum
When people heard we were making a documentary about trains - rather, locomotives - they would often respond with a personal story to tell: the time one woman rode a train in the mid-1950's from New York to Minnesota with her twelve siblings and ate candy bars all along the way; or the gentlemen who recalled the EM-1 that ran through his Maryland backyard most afternoons in the late 1940's. There was the young woman who talked of sitting on her grandparents' porch in the summer, barefoot and hot, watching as the trains roared and rattled by. And still today, children stop and take captive notice at the sound of a train whistle when it blows. Mr. Wilson, who also narrates the documentary, liked to tell us, "Every kid has a train gene." This film gives everyone that chance to be a kid again.

And while it evokes stories, the first American railroad has its own stories to tell, too. In this documentary, we highlight six locomotives considered central to the evolution of railroading in America. We detail why the locomotives were built and how, what problems they solved and others they might have created, and how they impacted our country and the world on a human, civic, economic, and industrial scale. The railroad was, in many ways, America's first internet - connecting people and communities, commerce and collaborations, ideas and opportunities in ways that were unimaginable prior to its existence. That becomes very apparent through these stories and their visual depiction.

Filming began on a hot July morning in 2016 and continued for seven sessions (and through three seasons) until December 2016. We arrived at each session by 7:30 a.m. and wrapped up by 10:00 a.m., ending before the museum opened to the public. With such a short window of time we had to be extremely efficient in our focus and in our filming. Mr. Wilson made this difficult circumstance very easy, even revealing a hidden talent in film narration. He will forever be referred to as One-take Courtney.

Steel Giants dvd

Whether you love trains or know someone who does, we are certain this film will be time well spent. Terrific pacing, visually beautiful, exceptional narration, and music come together to tell the emotional, powerful, and technical story of one of America's greatest innovations.

We'd love to hear your stories so be sure to find us on Facebook at ( or send us an email

Here's to being a kid again,

The Lark Media Group - Maureen & Pete Mirabito and Karin & Dan Hack

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