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Bigger names, stronger films: Jim Thorpe’s film festival opens Thursday

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Published April 22. 2019 11:33AM


The paparazzi will line the red carpet of the Mauch Chunk Opera House starting Thursday, ready to snap photos of film makers and enthusiasts.

The third annual Jim Thorpe Film Festival will begin a bang next weekend starting with Thursday’s opening tragic-comedy based on a true story “Mope.”

The shocking film’s director and co-writer Lucas Heyne, along with producer Kelly Hayes will be on hand for the first strong-adult content feature of the weekend. No one under 18 will be admitted to this exclusive showing.

“We really stepped up our game,” said festival co-founder Todd Morris.

“We have bigger names this year. These are noteworthy award winning films that have premiered in Sundance, Berline and Toronto,” he said.

Co-founders Morris and Jocelyn O’Neil, have accumulated 40 years of extensive experience in the industry, have grown the festival for its Junior year in the historic district.

According to O’Neil, 800 films from every genera and all corners of the globe were whittled down to 90 films with seven features.

“These are buzzy films,” O’Neil said.

The festival will follow the previous years’ block-themed structure with varying in subjects and length.

Friday afternoon the first three blocks, “True Story, New Homeland, Cruel World,” are free admission for college and high school students with ID.

The afternoon feature,”Camp Wedding,” sees a groups of friends working to transform a dilapidated summer camp into the wedding venue of Mia’s dreams, when people begin disappearing in the night.

Following its Pennsylvania premier, a question-and-answer session with the film’s writer and director Greg Emetaz will take place.

Saturday’s blocks start at 11 a.m., with Lehigh Valley Student films, and question and answer periods for each film.

Saturday afternoon’s block “Wicked,” starting at 2 p.m., will have several directors on location to answer questions after film showings.

The evening’s “Luz” block begins at 8 p.m., featuring a German film titled, “Luz,” making its Pennsylvania premier, is described as “a thriller that toys with the audience’s perceptions.”

Adult audience favorite blocks “Grindhouse 1” starts at 10 p.m., when three directors will attend for a Q&A session following films such as “Radio Candy,” by Jeffrey Garcia making its world premiere. “Radio Candy,” is described as a “metaphysical southern black comedy following the exploits of a bullied Boy Scout on his quest for vengeance.”

“Grindhouse Block 2,” features Brazilian film, “The Nightshift,” that tells the story of Stenio, a young man gifted with the paranormal ability of speaking with the dead.

The Sunday “Local Heroes” will host the directors of each film for a Q&A session. Films hailing from the Lehigh Valley include Lindsay Barrasse’s “The Road Less Traveled,” a horror/suspense thriller set in the late 1970s.

The afternoon features international films such as Estonia’s “Tomorrow Island,” making its US premier.

Sunday’s “Mad Love,” block will feature sci-fi drama-mystery, “Juniper,” followed by a Q&A with director George R. Martens II.

Closing the festival is a feature all the way from Kenya, family-friendly heartwarming film “Supa Moda.”

Making its Pennsylvania premier, “Supa Moda,” is about a bright 9-year-old girl tragically diagnosed with a terminal illness. She fantasizes about being a real-life superhero, a dream that her sister and the rest of the village are determined to make a reality.

“We keep striving to improve and grow, our goal every year is to get bigger and more impressive,” said Morris.

For Thursday night’s opening, Noch Eight Craft House will get the weekend started.

Friday night a shuttle will be available to take guests from the Opera House to the Stabin Museum for live music, a vinyl spinning DJ and hors d’oeuvres.

As the weekend closes after Sunday’s award ceremony at the Mauch Chunk Opera House, hosted by PBS 39, the Broadway Underground will host the weekend’s wrap-party.

Tickets can be purchased on a block-by-block basis, day passes or VIP passes are available for the entire three day festival. For a full schedule and information visit site:



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