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Home > Screenings > The Television Syndication Company (TVS) > Eastland: The Shipwreck that Shook America

Director: Harvey Moshman

Executive Producer: Harvey Moshman, Chuck Coppola

Writer: Chuck Coppola, Harvey Moshman

Cast: Chuck Coppola

Genres: Documentary, Factual

Demographics: 15+, 18+, Teen


1 x 53’ and 1 x 83’

EASTLAND: THE SHIPWRECK THAT SHOOK AMERICA is the shocking story of how hundreds of immigrant factory workers and their families had no idea that the steamship they boarded for a leisurely summer cruise had a history of near-capsizings. Ship owners packed the Eastland with unsuspecting women and children who ultimately were among the 844 victims who drowned inside the overturned steamer and in the Chicago River.

Yet, the rich and powerful men who were responsible for the carnage got away with it. Victims’ relatives recount how the tragedy, referred to by historians as "the Blue-Collar Titanic," affected their families for decades. Court documents reveal that the Eastland’s owners knew of the ship’s stability problems months before the disaster, yet rolled the dice as innocent passengers boarded for a Western Electric company picnic in July 1915.

EASTLAND stories of heroism and heartache include rescuer Reggie Bowles dubbed “The Human Frog;” Helen Repa, a young nurse described as “a badass;” and news photographer Jun Fujita, an immigrant himself, who risked his life capturing iconic images of the disaster.

Winner – 2 MIDWEST EMMY® AWARDS, NEW YORK TV & FILM FESTIVALS, INDIEFEST, TELLY AWARDS, & INTERNATIONAL MARITIME FILM FESTIVALS