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The zombies are coming

  • After two years in local production, a zombie film will debut Saturday at the Angela Theater, Coaldale.
    After two years in local production, a zombie film will debut Saturday at the Angela Theater, Coaldale.
Published October 17. 2013 05:00PM

For the past two years, a group of local filmmakers has been promising that their final product would be ready for Halloween 2013.

It appears they've delivered.

"Within the Woods of Undead County," an independent film produced in the Tamaqua area and a few other locations of eastern Pennsylvania, will premiere 4 p.m. Saturday at the Angela Theater, Coaldale.

Proceeds of the launch will be donated to the American Cancer Society, along with a percentage of DVD sales, producer Joshua Solarczyk of Lehighton said.

"After hard work and encouragement and help from the community, our movie is now complete and we'll be having a red carpet event that is open to the public that has always been there for us," Solarczyk said.

In some respects, the premiere is expected to have a Hollywood feel, complete with autographs, runway pictures, limousine arrival, VIP preferences and other pre-show activities.

The original story and characters of the horror/zombie film were created by Tamaqua's Justin Stephens.

"Seeing this come to fruition is a dream come true, it truly is," Stephens said.

In addition to writing the story, Stephens is in charge of special effects through Lavender Lady FX. Other principals include Jarred Yurkunas, producer and Nicholas Pontonski, director, and artist TJ Chinaski. Many locals have served as extras during filming sessions.

The movie was funded by the filmmakers along with donations by arts supporters and movie participants.

The film was shot digitally on a Panasonic DSLR camera in full anamorphic, which typically features creative distortions and perspective.

Solarczyk said the project began as a short film "to educate ourselves and have fun in the process."

After word spread, the effort turned into a big sensation, he said. Zombie-themed productions have their own cult following and there was no keeping the project a secret.

Featured among the film's performing talent are Gabriella Harry, Michael Motyl, Cory Handelong and Angela McCormick. The movie represents coordination among Clear Motion Productions, Pontastic Films, Yurkunas Cinemas and Lavender Lady FX.

The group filmed in the summer of 2012 nonstop every weekend. Filming took place 24 straight hours some weekends.

The movie tells the story of Jocelyn, Ashm, Matt and Kelly, four very different characters who escape into the woods after their county is hit with an unknown plague, turning residents into vicious creatures of the undead.

This event forces the four to survive in the wilderness in search of safety. However, in their attempt to find safe haven from the outbreak, they're followed by the creatures they were trying to escape.

Actual viewing of the film is expected to begin at 6:45 p.m., followed by a public question-and-answer session for cast and crew at 8:15. Tickets are available in limited quantities, said Solarczyk.

More information is available at:, and on Facebook.

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