As I write, our Dietrich Theater Winter Fest – a feast of three weeks of 21 foreign and independent films – is in its last day. How will it be remembered? Ronnie Harvey, our film booker, reflects that this festival certainly proves independent cinema is alive and well. He believes it is going through a renaissance, shown by the audience these films attract, not only in our little corner of the world, but nationally and internationally.
Our audiences are hungry to see films with original ideas, more voices and points of view, adds Ronnie. He goes on to cite movies like “Shape of Water” and its story of love, good and evil, and “Lady Bird” with Greta Gerwig’s fresh and honest tale of a mother and teenage daughter relationship, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” so raw and uncompromising. And “Loving Vincent,” the first-ever totally hand-painted film, exploring the mystery of Vincent Van Gogh’s death.
These movies attract an ever-widening and dedicated audience. “Last weekend a father and son drove 140 miles to come to the Dietrich to see nine film festival films,” says Erica Rogler, executive director. Filmgoer Sandy Austin made a point to see all 21 films. She felt this film festival had the best choices ever, citing her favorites that all had wonderfully strong women: “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” “Divine Order,” “Novitiate,” “Breathe,” “Dolores” and “Lady Bird.”
Wyoming County Reads 2018 – always in February – has been sabotaged by the weather this year. Two discussions were affected, but the accompanying movies were not. This last week “Stand By Me,” the movie based on Stephen King’s novella “The Body,” brought an audience of 116. The wrap-up discussion is rescheduled 7 p.m. March 14 at the Tunkhannock Public Library. All who can make it are invited.
So what is coming up at the Dietrich? Two free history programs at the Dietrich Theater! Author Jim Remsen will share his research for his book “Embattled Freedom” at 3 p.m. Sunday, March 18. This is the story of the fugitive slaves who made the Underground Railroad Village of Waverly their home before the Civil War. Books will be available for sale and Jim will do a book signing.
The following Saturday, March 24 at 11 a.m., you are invited to a free showing of the movie called “Peoples of the Susquehanna,” produced by WVIA Public Media and Bucknell University. “Peoples of the Susquehanna” explores tribes of the Eastern Woodlands, the Iroquois Confederacy, as well as findings about various prehistoric tribes. Producers of the film, Kris Henderson, David Buck of the Endless Mountains Heritage Region, and Hickory Edwards of the Onondaga tribe will hold a Q and A following the movie.
Finally, you need to know about one other opportunity. It is all about farming in the Endless Mountains. Farming endures today as the backbone, not only of our economy, but also of our culture and heritage. Farming influences our relationship with the land, our neighbors, and our government. Mike Lovegreen presents the history of agriculture in our region right up the present during a presentation at 1 p.m. on Tuesday, March 20. The presentation is free, sponsored by the Endless Mountains Heritage Region with funding from the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. All are welcome.
Just remember that all of these programs are here for you. We do it all for you. We would like to see you soon and often.