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Philipsburg Community Working to Boost Centre Film Festival

by and on October 17, 2019 5:00 AM

The Centre Film Festival is less than a month away from making its debut at Philipsburg’s grand Rowland Theatre, and the Moshannon Valley YMCA and several local businesses have jumped on board to get more community members — especially kids — involved in the arts.

“We want to teach things that kids aren’t getting in school,” said Mel Curtis, Moshannon Valley YMCA executive director. “Schools are mandated by the state what they’ve got to do and how they’ve got to do it. But you have to allow these kids to express themselves, because if you don’t, we’re really holding them back. We’re saying, ‘If you live here, you can only do (limited things),’ and they say, ‘Well, I don’t want to live here. I want to go somewhere with more opportunity.’ There’s opportunity everywhere, but sometimes you have to make your own opportunity happen.”

The CFF is, as the event’s website states, “A weekend festival that includes award-winning feature and short films, a showcase of new work by area high school students, live music and master classes led by visiting artists. It is the first project by the Centre Film Workshop, a grassroots organization founded in the summer of 2019 to bring local stories to film and create a platform for locally relevant multimedia storytelling, dialogue and screenings.

The festival’s community partners include the Philipsburg Revitalization Corporation, the Rowland Theatre and Galaxy’s Central Intermediate Unit 10.”

In early September, approximately 65 students from area schools gathered in Philipsburg to learn how to shoot a short film with their cell phones as part of the Centre Film Workshop’s first master class for high school students. Four more master classes — focusing on photography, music, storytelling, and dancing, respectively — remain, and students must apply to take part in them.

Many local businesses have been showing their support for the festival. Race Street Brew Works of Clearfield will be hosting a party and pop-up brewery during the weekend, Brown Dog Catering and Poppy & Co. Café, both of Philipsburg, will be hosting parties on various nights as well.

“It’s been really great to talk to local businesses about bringing the arts to Front Street in this capacity through film and celebrating the Rowland,” said Pearl Gluck, Penn State assistant professor of film who is leading the organization of the festival.

Gluck said Olenick’s Printing, located on Front Street, has been helpful in getting materials ready for the main event. Other businesses have taken out ads in the festival program. Gluck said Napa Auto Parts included in its ad a “really lovely note about how they love the Rowland.”

Shindig Alley, which sells vintage clothes and furniture on Front Street, has donated a $250 cash prize to the winner of the youth short-film contest and will be hosting a “filmmaker’s lounge,” which Gluck says she hopes will enable filmmakers and students to connect.

Organic Climbing is also a festival sponsor and will be offering movie-goers the chance to get a tour of the company’s manufacturing facilities after a screening of “Pennsylvania Bouldering: The Next Frontier.”

Curtis said the YMCA will be working with local schools to “continue to push to get kids to make films.” The Y has offered overflow space as the CFF and workshops need it and will be offering parents who bring their children to the classes a free pass to workout as they wait.

Gluck said it is her “dream to come to Philipsburg and see an inter-generational mix at the Rowland Theatre, engaging with the theatre in different ways.”

Curtis echoed Gluck’s sentiment.

“(The CFF) is going to bring notoriety to the town,” Curtis said. “It’s going to take maybe three or four years to catch on, but I think all in all, you can embrace the whole community, and that’s what we need. I love the idea that the kids can sit down and talk to somebody three times their age. I think that’s something that’s not there anymore. There’s a lot of little things for a younger person to look at the history of Philipsburg — we had a beef factory, an old brewery, an old bookbinding, bakeries — that’s stuff the younger kids have no clue about. There’s no way for them to understand that. That excited us, and we have the opportunity to get in and work at the ground level to get this thing up and running. It’s only going to grow.”

The Centre Film Fest will be held Nov. 8-10. More information about the festival, tickets, and applications for the master classes are all available at

This story was produced by the staff at the Centre County Gazette. It was re-published with permission. The Centre County Gazette is a weekly publication, available at many locations around Centre County every Thursday morning.

Teresa Mull
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