Centre Film Festival adapts and grows to return for its third year

October 01, 2021

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Making a film requires a plan as well as the patience and persistence to adapt when things go awry, and one award-winning Penn State faculty filmmaker knows that process well.

Pearl Gluck’s filmmaking credits and success provide a testament to her adaptability and talent.

Along with fellow faculty members Curt Chandler and Cassie Ross Green, Gluck engaged a team of award-winning collaborators and colleagues and they all have tapped their skillsets in recent months to pull together something even bigger than one film — the third-annual Centre Film Festival, scheduled Nov. 1-7.

The seven-day festival will be conducted with three delivery methods for its 18 documentaries, eight feature films, numerous shorts and more than a dozen related discussions and question-and-answer sessions with filmmakers and local activists. In-person programming will be conducted at the historic Rowland Theatre in Philipsburg, the Mishler Theatre in Altoona, and on the University Park campus, while hybrid and virtual offerings will round out the programming.

Gluck said the festival includes a variety of approaches to storytelling as well as myriad film genres. Tickets information and a full schedule may be found on the festival website.

“We have films that educate, films that entertain and films that do both,” said Gluck, an associate professor in the Department of Film Production. “There’s something for everyone, so many entry points. Plus, all the filmmakers are excited to be part of what we’re doing. The quality of the films is so high. It’s exciting to think about all we have on the schedule.”

The schedule includes comedy, drama and experimental films with a mix of nonfiction and fiction offerings. As in previous years, the work of Pennsylvania filmmakers is a focus for the festival and a popular set of children’s programming returns as well.

The three-year-old festival also includes the work of several Penn State alumni and friends, many of whom will be screening films or participating in related programming. Among that group are:

  • Michael Craven, an award- cinematographer whose most recent credits include “The Chair” on Netflix.
  • Film, TV and theatre actor Patrick Fabian (“Better Call Saul”), who will talk about acting for the camera after a special screening of “Driver X,” in which he plays the lead role. He earned his bachelor’s degree in fine arts from Penn State and at one time his mother worked as an usher at the Rowland Theatre.
  • Kelly Gallagher, an experimental filmmaker and faculty member at Syracuse University.
  • Actor, writer and director Joshua Leonard (“If I Stay,” “Togetherness,” “The Blair Witch Project”), who grew up in State College, the son of a Penn State faculty member. He will discuss acting and directing after the screening of his latest edgy comedy, “Fully Realized Humans.”
  • Ian Tarbert, who will participate in a Q&A session after a screening of a film he produced, “Drunk Bus,” which follows the driver of a late-night bus on a college campus.

In another timely connection, related to November as National Native American Heritage Month, the festival plans a special in-person screening of “Home From School: The Children of Carlisle.” The documentary follows a delegation of Northern Arapaho tribal members as they travel from Wyoming to Pennsylvania to retrieve the remains of three children who died at the Carlisle Indian Industrial School in the 1880s.

“It’s a festival that will evoke emotions, make you think, and prompt laughter,” Gluck said. “We’ve had to adapt — the first year was in person, last year was all online and this year is a mix — and, as a team, we’ve worked hard to pull together the best possible festival.”

Partners across the University and community include The Happy Valley Adventure Bureau, the College of Arts and Architecture, the Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications, the Sustainability Institute at Penn State, and the Philipsburg Revitalization Corp. Plus, an inaugural first-year seminar class in the Bellisario College has been helping with market research and support for the festival.

Last Updated October 06, 2021