WILKES-BARRE — Thursday seemed like the best possible day to release a report on a downtown survey.
Public Square was filled with people attending the weekly farmers’ market and Mother Nature cooperated by offering a spectacular day of sunshine.
Patty Kopec and her daughter, Frankie, were enjoying some of the food and sunshine. Even with no entertainment on the band shell stage, the Kopecs raved about the city and the downtown and said they wished more events were planned for Public Square.
“It needs this kind of stuff,” Patty Kopec said. “It needs more events that appeal to families.”
Blue Bell/Pottstown, Pa.—As part of its yearlong celebration of its 50th Anniversary, Montgomery County Community College (MCCC) invites the community to the premier public screening of “The History of Montco: A Documentary,” on Friday, June 27, at 6 p.m. in the Science Center Theater, 340 DeKalb Pike, Blue Bell. The screening is free of charge—everyone is welcome. Light refreshments will be served. To RSVP, call 215-641-6324 or email firstname.lastname@example.org by June 18.
The documentary is directed and produced by MCCC alumni Joseph Sapienza, Philadelphia, and Sean King, North Wales, who began the project a few years ago while they were students at the College.
“The documentary really began as a one or two minute news package on the construction of College Hall,” King says. “After looking through some photos, we decided to expand the project to cover more of the history of Montco. From there, it snowballed into a feature length documentary.”
The video starts in Conshohocken, where the College opened its doors in early October 1966—almost two years after it was officially established on December 8, 1964. Through interviews of current and former faculty, staff and administrators, King and Sapienza captured the spirit and tenacity of an ever-evolving, growing educational institution that has become the alma mater of more than 55,000 alumni.
After years of preparation, hard work, research, and the desire to make their idea a reality, they completed an entertaining, informative movie that is a testament to their accomplishments and to the story about the college.
“It was a long process. We started pre-production in July of 2011 and the film didn’t go into editing until the summer of 2013,” Sapienza says, recalling the many hours of research, interviews, recording and editing.
The movie is about two hours long. During the intermission, Sapienza and King will be available to answer questions about the process of creating the Montco documentary.
Sapienza began his studies at Montgomery County Community College in the winter of 2010 in the Film and Video program. In fall 2012, he then transferred to the Film and Television program at Drexel University earned his bachelor’s degree in May 2014. With films, one of his favorite subjects is documentaries, especially documentaries involving history. For his senior project at Drexel, Joe produced a history documentary about the coal town, Centralia, and its ongoing underground mine fire. Following graduation, he started an internship with NFL Films.
King studied Communications at Montgomery County Community College, focusing on Journalism. While he was at the College, he was involved in numerous campus activities, including the Communication Arts Production Group and Montco Radio. After graduating in 2012, he started studying History and Political Science at Arcadia University, focusing on contemporary American history and politics. When he completes his bachelor’s degree, King plans to pursue a job in government.
For more information about Montgomery County Community College’s 50th Anniversary, visit http://www.mc3.edu/50.
A blockbuster movie just approved for a multimillion-dollar Pennsylvania film tax credit could make 2014 Pittsburgh’s biggest year yet for film and TV production — as long as the project stays on track after losing its star.
Actor Will Smith backed out of the title role in “Brilliance” on Thursday as Legendary Pictures learned it had been awarded a $19.5 million tax credit by the Pennsylvania Film Office, putting the movie’s cost somewhere around $100 million.
“If the level of interest continues, this is setting up to be the biggest year we’ve ever had,” said Dawn Keezer, director of the Pittsburgh Film Office. She declined to comment on “Brilliance.”
Build it and filmmakers will come. Build it and jobs will come and lift Norristown to prosperity.
That dream fizzled like a box-office bomb last May, when the project’s investor filed for foreclosure against the developer.
The forlorn shopping center, Logan Square, sits half-empty, its fate likely to be announced in the coming weeks. The county is grappling with how to recoup the $25 million it sank into the project — including $10 million in federal funds it must repay — and its lawyers are preparing a lawsuit against the developer. And prosecutors are scrutinizing the deal to see if more than bad luck and poor judgment were to blame.
Bethlehem keeps working to earn its Christmas City nickname.
The city may have more holiday events than ever this year: Christkindlmarkt is open for its 21st year, Historic Bethlehem Museums & Sites is holding holiday tours and carriage rides for its 20th year and Center City’s Christmas City Village is returning for its third year.
The continued addition of holiday attractions has only helped existing events, operators said. Christkindlmarkt, a German-style holiday marketplace put on by ArtsQuest, had two of its three best years following the debut of the Downtown Bethlehem Association-organized Christmas City Village in 2011, ArtsQuest spokesman Mark Demko said.
Christmas City Village — an open-air German-style market also known as Weihnachtsmarkt — is adding another five huts for a total of 35 this year, Downtown Business Association Manager Kara Johnson said. And Historic Bethlehem is already ahead of schedule on pre-sale tour and carriage ride tickets, according to LoriAnn Wukitsch, the organization’s vice president and managing director.
LOS ANGELES, CA (AP) – Ben Affleck will don Batman’s cape and cowl.
Warner Bros. announced Thursday that the 41-year-old actor-director will star as a new incarnation of the Dark Knight in a film bringing Batman and Superman together.
The studio said Affleck will star opposite 30-year-old Henry Cavill, who will reprise his role as Superman from “Man of Steel.” The movie will also feature “Man of Steel” stars Amy Adams as Lois Lane, Laurence Fishburne as Perry White and Diane Lane as Martha Kent.
The big-screen DC Comics superhero mash-up was first revealed by director Zack Snyder at last month’s Comic-Con International in San Diego.
LOS ANGELES (AP) — “Man of Steel” leaped over box office expectations in a single weekend.
The Warner Bros. superhero file earned $113 million in its opening weekend at the box office, according to studio estimates Sunday. The retelling of Superman’s back story earned an additional $12 million from Thursday screenings, bringing its domestic total to $125 million. Original box-office expectations for “Man of Steel” ranged from $75 million to $130 million.
“They finally got the Superman formula right,” said Paul Dergarabedian, an analyst for box-office tracker Hollywood.com. “Superhero movies really are the bread and butter of the summer box office. The fact that ‘Iron Man 3’ has the biggest opening of the year so far and ‘Man of Steel’ has the second biggest opening of the year just proves that.”
Hollywood Reporter hit the accelerator with its gushing, declaring the expected four-day take of $316 million to be “absolutely monumental,” leaving previous late May holiday weekends choking in its dust.
“One of the biggest weekends of all-time!” writes Paul Dergarabedian.
Indeed, BoxOfficeMojo.com gives the previous champ as Dec 25-27, 2009 (led by Avatar), with a distant $259.9 million in total domestic ticket sales. Then again, add in the the $58.3 million from Monday, Dec. 28, 2009, and the comparable four-day total becomes an unsurpassed $318.2 million.
At one point during “Star Trek Into Darkness,” Kirk fumes, “Sometimes, I just want to rip the bangs off his head.”
But Kirk doesn’t do that, which is a good thing considering the amount of time consumed by the workday ritual of transforming Pittsburgh native Zachary Quinto into Spock, the half-Vulcan, half-human with a high-maintenance look.
By the time the movie finished shooting, the makeup artists had shaved a whopping 30 minutes from their application of the signature swooping ears, angled eyebrows and other facial flourishes.
Not a big deal? It started as 3 hours and 15 minutes — plus another 30 minutes in hair — so even an extra half-hour can be a luxury when you have to report to the set 2 1/2 to three hours ahead of everyone else who may be arriving at 6 a.m.
Cinema entrepreneur Penn Ketchum is heeding the advice of 19th century American newspaper editor Horace Greeley.
“Go west, young man.”
Ketchum, managing partner of Penn Cinema, intends to develop a small, luxury two-screen movie theater in York city.
But he said Friday that he has no intention of going south into Lancaster city and doing the same kind of project there.
Ketchum’s $750,000 venture in York was disclosed Thursday by York Mayor Kim Bracey in her State of the City address.
Annette Funicello, who won America’s heart as a 12-year-old in Mickey Mouse ears, captivated adolescent baby boomers in slightly spicy beach movies and later championed people with multiple sclerosis, a disease she had for more than 25 years, died on Monday in Bakersfield, Calif. She was 70.
Her death, from complications of the disease, was announced on the Disney Web site.
As an adult Ms. Funicello described herself as “the queen of teen,” and millions around her age agreed. Young audiences appreciated her sweet, forthright appeal, and parents saw her as the perfect daughter.
She was the last of the 24 original Mouseketeers chosen for “The Mickey Mouse Club,” the immensely popular children’s television show that began in 1955, when fewer than two-thirds of households had television sets. Walt Disney personally discovered her at a ballet performance.
NEW YORK—Peter Jackson’s “The Hobbit” led the box office with a haul of $84.8 million, a record-setting opening better than the three previous “Lord of the Rings” films.
The Warner Bros. Middle Earth epic was the biggest December opening ever, surpassing Will Smith‘s “I Am Legend,” which opened with $77.2 million in 2007, according to studio estimates Sunday. “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” also passed the December opening of “Avatar,” which opened with $77 million. Internationally, “The Hobbit” also added $138.2 million, for an impressive global debut of $223 million.
Despite weak reviews, the 3-D adaptation of J. R. R. Tolkien’s first novel in the fantasy series was an even bigger draw than the last “Lord of the Rings” movie, “The Return of the King.” That film opened with $72.6 million. “The Hobbit” is the first of another planned trilogy, with two more films to be squeezed out of Tolkien’s book.
At Oyster Mill Playhouse, the aging rooftop heating and air conditioning system is threatening to stage a death scene worthy of “King Lear.”
With audiences — and therefore revenues — down, there’s no money for a replacement, so managers of the not-for-profit community theater in East Pennsboro Twp. are hoping the community will donate about $25,000 to keep Oyster Mill going for another year.
“Like many other theaters, we are having our financial problems,” said Howard Hurwitz, vice president of the 91-seat theater’s board of directors. “This year has been kind of a bad year. We just haven’t been getting the attendance. We used to sell out on opening nights, but now we are lucky if we get the theater half-full.”
Oyster Mill is far from alone.
With poverty high in Reading, city officials are willing to try just about anything to create decent-paying jobs.
Friday afternoon, they heard a pitch for an idea that has worked elsewhere and might be just right in Reading.
Seattle-based filmmakers Melissa Young and Mark Dworkin, in town for the Berks Arts Council’s seventh annual Greater Reading Film Festival, were the featured guests at a lunchtime roundtable session focused on employee-owned businesses.
Young and Dworkin have created a documentary on the subject titled, “Shift Change: Putting Democracy to Work,” which will be screened during the festival.
CAIRO — Anti-American protests inspired by a video denigrating the Prophet Muhammad entered a fourth straight day here in the Egyptian capital and other demonstrations erupted in much of the Middle East after Friday Prayer — an occasion often associated with public displays of dissent.
Witnesses in Cairo said protests that first flared on Tuesday — the day J. Christopher Stevens, the American ambassador in Libya, was killed in an attack in neighboring Libya — continued sporadically early Friday, with protesters throwing rocks and gasoline bombs near the American Embassy and the police firing tear gas.
In Lebanon, one person was killed and 25 injured as protesters attacked restaurants, while in Sudan demonstrations flared outside of the German and British embassies. There was also turmoil in Yemen, Bangladesh, Qatar, Kuwait, and Iraq. Palestinians clashed with Israeli security forces in Jerusalem, and held protests in the West Bank and Gaza.
It’s a work in progress for owner Kevin Rhude, who would like to turn the 100-year-old State Theatre of Boyertown into a theater of the arts.
At 61 N. Reading Ave., the theater shows three to four movies a week at 4:30 and 7 p.m. Mondays through Fridays in addition to a 2 p.m. matinee on Saturdays and Sundays.
But Rhude of Boyertown wants the theater to go beyond film and be a venue for arts of all kinds.
Rhude purchased the State Theatre in 2008. Having worked in real estate for more than 20 years, Rhude said he has an appreciation for old buildings and art.
Blockbuster Video plans to shutter all but one of its remaining Lehigh Valley stores in the coming days, according to several sources.
The beleaguered movie rental chain plans to cease rentals as early as Monday, Dec. 26, at stores at 2221 Lehigh St., Allentown; 2918 William Penn Highway, Palmer Township; and 756 Memorial Parkway, Phillipsburg, according to employees who answered the store phones Wednesday.
Liquidations are planned to start next week, according to the clerks.
The Fishwrap is now advertising the opening date for the new Carmike Theater as 11-18-11, which is this coming Friday. There must have been an unforseen delay that caused the original opening date to be pushed back.
Pottstown’s long-awaited new movie theater is opening 11-11-11. The new 12 screen complex will open at Upland Square Shopping Center in West Pottsgrove Township, next to Target. Head on over and check it out!