A man wants to make a movie about the Duluth lynchings – and you could help

Publish date:

A Minnesota filmmaker has been working for a decade to turn his movie idea into a feature-length film.

"Hate Storm" focuses on the historic lynchings in Duluth in 1920. Duluth native Dale Botten has written an award-winning screenplay – but making a movie costs a lot of money.

So in an effort to attract investors, Botten is producing a "teaser trailer" of the film. Auditions for the teaser are being held on Tuesday in Duluth.

'Hate Storm'

According to the film's GoFundMe page:

The screenplay is based on the book "The Lynchings in Duluth" by Michael Fedo. Botten read the book and couldn't put it down. He believes that the story of the lynchings is one that needs to be told today.

The film's director, Brandon Cole told BringMeTheNews the film "hopes to educate about something that a lot of people try to sweep under the rug."

In 2006, Botten wrote a first draft of a screenplay and bought the rights to Fedo's book. The screenplay won the $20,000 grand prize at The Expo Screenplay Competition in Los Angeles, and one critic even called it "Oscar bait." It won another award at the Catalina Film Festival in 2015.

But Botten says attracting the necessary funds has proven difficult – he needs an estimated $5-10 million to shoot the full-length film.

That's why he's filming the teaser trailer, and hoping that the right people will see it.

The Auditions

The first round of auditions were announced on Facebook last week and will be held on Tuesday from 1-4 p.m. at the Lincoln Park Community Center in Duluth.


It is an open audition, so anyone can show up. They ask that actors and actresses bring a head shot and resume.

And a second round of auditions is to be determined, Cole told BringMeTheNews.

The Duluth lynchings

It's a grim moment in Duluth's history: In June 1920, several young black men who worked for a traveling circus were arrested for the rape of a young white woman – but little evidence of the crime was found, Minnesota Historical Society says.

They never got a trial, because a mob of white people made their way to Superior Street where they forced their way into the jail and pulled the six men from their cells.

Three of the men – Isaac McGhie, Elmer Jackson, and Elias Clayton – were beaten and lynched.

The city has a memorial dedicated to the victims and an annual Day of Remembrance.


Next Up