2014 film focuses on county scandal

June 25th, 2015 11:45 am

First Posted: 6/5/2013

WILKES-BARRE — A nonfiction film about Luzerne County’s “Kids for Cash” scandal, which triggered reforms in state juvenile court and put two former Luzerne County judges in prison, has completed production and is expected to hit theaters in early 2014.

The movie from Robert May’s SenArt Films, a New York City-based film production company, is titled “Kids for Cash” and has been four years in the making. The executive producer is John Weekley.

The film was co-produced and directed by May, a Back Mountain resident, who became interested in 2009, when former county judges Mark A. Ciavarella and Michael Conahan were charged with accepting kickbacks from the builder of private juvenile detention facilities the county used.

“I took notice of the scandal, and when I started reading articles about it, I became really interested in it,” May said Wednesday.

SenArt Films started up local production offices and conducted in-depth, behind-the-scenes research about the case. May said that throughout production the film has developed in unexpected ways. Production teams from Los Angeles and New York City spent time over a four-year period working on the film in Luzerne County.

“It is quite a story and is full of a number of twists and turns,” May said.

“Kids for Cash” was produced by May and Lauren Timmons. Previously, the two producers collaborated and worked together on “The War Tapes,” which won Best Documentary at the 2006 Tribeca Film Festival.

SenArt films also has produced the Academy Award-winning film “The Fog of War,” along with films such as “Stevie,” “The War Tapes,” “The Station Agent” and “Bonneville” in 2006 starring Jessica Lange and Kathy Bates.