More Than Movies: Excitement grows for Dietrich Theater’s Winter Fest 2018

More Than Movies - Margie Young

More than usual excitement is in the air about Winter Fest 2018.

Executive Director Erica Rogler noted the featured 21 films have garnered 39 Oscar nominations. Film Booker Ronnie Harvey added Winter Fest includes five of the films nominated for Best Motion Picture: “Lady Bird,” “3 Billboards of Ebbing, Missouri,” “Call Me By Your Name,” “Shape of Water” and “Darkest Hour.” Cultural Assistant Jessica Shaffer further explained the excitement may be because the Oscar Awards will be given during the festival – on March 4. All of us in Northeastern Pennsylvania will be able to see so many of the films that have been nominated.

No wonder there is such a buzz about Winter Fest!

On Preview Day, several attendees spoke of the timeliness of Winter Fest 2018, with multiple showings of 21 films in 21 days from Feb. 16 to March 8.

Dietrich Theater Bookkeeper Robin Rome said it really “breaks up the winter. It’s the icing on the cake.”

On Preview Day, Loretta Slotkowski told Rogler, “You make the winter exciting,” referring to Winter Fest.

As guests arrived for Preview Day, I had a chance to talk to some of the 37 people who attended the showing of all 21 previews. Don Banks, coming from Scranton, said he had already picked out 10 movies to see. After the previews, Ann Davies knew she didn’t want to miss “Bill Nye: Science Guy,” “Lucky,” “Faces, Places” and “Darkest Hour.” After seeing the preview, Betsy Green decided to bring her daughter to see “Lady Bird” on Opening Night.

Preview Day helped me decide which movies to put on my must-see list. I knew I wanted to see the Oscar contenders, but now I know I want to see “Loving Vincent,” the first fully painted feature film ever. It is a true work of art, as it brings the paintings of Vincent van Gogh to life as it explores his complicated life and controversial death.

“Human Flow” is another preview that grabbed me to see the film, bringing live footage of the harrowing journey of the millions who are refugees around the world. It is directed by Chinese artist and activist Ai Weiwei.

Another preview that inspired me to see the movie is “Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story,” the documentary about the Hollywood beauty of the 1940s who was also an inventor of a wireless form of communication called “frequency hopping” used during World War II, leading to the creation of secure communications for wireless phones, Bluetooth, and more. I always knew she was a beautiful movie star, but I did not know she was also a brilliant inventor.

And there are so many more that I hope I can see — “The Paris Opera,” a sneak peek behind the curtain; “Jane,” the National Geographic story of trailblazer Jane Goodall, a female scientist in a man’s world and her study of chimpanzees; “Bill Nye: Science Guy” and an explanation of why science is important and “Breathe,” with Andrew Garfield and Claire Foy, an incredible love story.

Do you have our Winter Fest brochure? Call 570-996-1500 to get one or go to

Twenty-one foreign and independent films in 21 days. How many will you see?

We hope to see you there soon and often.

More Than Movies

Margie Young

Reach the Abington Journal newsroom at 570-587-1148 or

Reach the Abington Journal newsroom at 570-587-1148 or