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Opioids impact on hometown inspires filmmaker

by on October 03, 2019 11:01 AM

PHILIPSBURG — Filmmaker Spencer Folmar’s latest project, “Shooting Heroin,” is a feature film about the opioid epidemic in America and its horrific effects on rural communities. Folmar is a Clearfield County native and shot the film, the cast of which includes several local actors, in Centre and Clearfield counties.

“Shooting Heroin” is set to have its red carpet premiere at Philipsburg’s historic Rowland Theatre on Oct. 17. CCG recently caught up with Folmar to learn more about the movie and its homegrown director.

Folmar: I returned to central Pennsylvania a few years ago after living outside the area for over a decade to find that the opioid epidemic had devastated much of my hometown. It was around Christmastime that I visited, and many of my friends from high school had lost a loved one, and I had lost classmates to overdoses.

When I started to research more into this epidemic and began interviewing people for the film, I was overwhelmed by the statistics and number of deaths just in Pennsylvania and the country at large. I felt a responsibility and opportunity to share a message of hope through the powerful medium of film that addressed the epidemic as it exists in what is often referred to as the heartland of America.

CCG: What was the filming and casting process like?

Folmar: A lot of our lead actors came out of Hollywood, and I hired a casting director to work with agents and managers to attract that talent. We have Alan Powell from “Quantico,” Sherilyn Fenn from “Twin Peaks,” Garry Pastore from “The Deuce,” Lawrence-Hilton Jacobs from “Cooley High,” Cathy Moriarty from “Raging Bull” (nominated for an Oscar for that role), and more great talent.

We did hold local auditions at the Rowland Theatre over a year ago and casted many local actors for cameo roles and supporting lead roles, as well as many background and extras. Some scenes in the film had more than 300 extras and was only possible by the local area’s support and belief in this film. It was a real joy filming in central Pennsylvania and the community was very enthusiastic to the production and my cast and crew.

CCG: What does it mean to you personally to have your film shown at the Rowland Theatre?

Folmar: I love the Rowland Theatre, and it is one of my favorite theatres in the world. I screened my first film at the Rowland Theatre over a decade ago, and it is a joy to premiere my fourth feature film on Oct. 17 at this historic and beautiful cinema palace.

CCG: What do you hope this film will accomplish?

Folmar: I hope this film brings some much-needed attention to this epidemic (in this) country and worldwide. The movie is realistic about the darkness and heaviness of the subject matter, but has a message of hope in spite of the situation. I pray it is honoring to the victims and the families dealing with this nightmare on a daily basis.

CCG: What advice do you give to young aspiring artists who live in central Pennsylvania? How did you find success, being from a small town and community without the resources of a big city?

Folmar: I moved to Los Angeles to pursue filmmaking full-time, but before I made the leap, I was constantly making films and short films in central Pa., where I grew up. With today’s technologies and the online audiences that are easily accessible, it is more attainable than ever to break into the entertainment industry. It is not for the faint of heart, and often I say that the film industry is a game of perseverance where the last man standing wins … but it is a great joy and passion to be making feature films as my career. I always tell artist to not wait but create.

CCG: Any final thoughts?

Folmar: It is wonderful to tell a story from my hometown. Even though I live outside the area, my imagination often leads back to where I grew up and where my relatives have lived since the Revolutionary War. I hope that this movie is used as a tool and a resource for all types of organizations that want to help bring hope to those most severely suffering amongst us.


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