Sept. 19--The Dietrich Theater's annual Fall Film Festival opens Friday, bringing some of the year's hottest independent and foreign films to Tunkhannock.
The sold-out opening night gala is a double feature for comedy lovers, featuring "The Way Way Back" and "Blue Jasmine." The former, starring Steve Carell, Toni Collette and Sam Rockwell, is a coming-of-age movie about a teen introvert surviving the summer with his mother and her boyfriend and finding solace at a water park. The latter, a Woody Allen comedy, features Cate Blanchett as a New York socialite who loses everything and is forced to move in with her less-than-sophisticated sister in San Francisco.
"We like to have more upbeat movies for the opening," said Jennifer Jenkins Douthett, the theater's executive director. "They were the two we were all looking forward to."
Patrons unable to attend the gala will have more chances to view these titles. "The Way Way Back" is also showing at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday and Oct. 3; 4:30 p.m. Sept. 27 and noon Sept. 29. "Blue Jasmine" will be screened again at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday and Oct. 3 and at 7 p.m. Sept. 28.
The theater will screen all 19 festival films using new digital projectors, a conversion that was completed this month. Jenkins Douthett said this enhances the viewing experience, as movies are quickly churned out on DVD and streaming services.
"There is nothing like watching a movie in the theater," she said.
As with previous seasons, the festival offers an array of foreign titles. Two films, both set in Israel, come from the Middle East, "Fill the Void" and "The Attack." "Fill the Void" is the first film by a female Orthodox Jewish director and "The Attack" centers a Palestinian doctor's search for why his wife became a suicide bomber.
"We try to pick things from all over the world. We don't have any political agenda one way or another," Jenkins Douthett said.
In addition to the global titles, the festival features one film that hits a little closer to home. "The English Teacher," written by Wilkes-Barre native Dan Chariton and his wife, Stacy, is set in Kingston and stars Julianne Moore, Greg Kinnear and Nathan Lane.
"This is a really nice, fun movie," Jenkins Douthett said. "You like to go see things about places you live."
Documentaries have a strong presence this season with director Sarah Polley's "Stories We Tell" and the provocative examination of killer whales in captivity, "Blackfish." The festival also includes summer's most buzzed-about doc, "Twenty Feet From Stardom" -- a must-see for music fans and admirers of Oscar-winner "Searching for Sugar Man." The film chronicles the lives and dreams of the background singers for legendary talents like Sting, Bruce Springsteen and more.
For patrons unable to take in the entire festival, Jenkins Douthett suggested the following films:
n "Fruitvale Station," with breakout star Michael B. Jordan, based on the true story of Oscar Grant, who was killed by transit police in Oakland, Calif.
n "Unfinished Song," with Terence Stamp as an aging man who finds healing when he joins a group of singing seniors.
n "The Hunt," with Mads Mikkelsen as a daycare worker whose life turns into shambles when a child's lie spreads through a small community.
The festival ends Oct. 3. Matinee tickets cost $8 and evening tickets cost $9. Call 570-996-1500 for more information.
The 11th Annual Fall Film Festival opens Friday at the Dietrich Theater in Tunkhannock. The Oktoberfest Opening Night Gala is sold out.
The festival continues through Oct. 3, featuring 19 independent and foreign film selections. Tickets cost $8 before 6 p.m. or $9 after 6 p.m. Films include:
- 20 Feet From Stardom: 7 p.m. Saturday; 9:30 p.m. Sept. 27; 4:30 p.m. Sept. 30
- The Attack: 2 p.m. Tuesday; 7:30 p.m. Oct. 1
- Austenland: 2 p.m. Monday; 7:30 p.m. Sept. 26; noon Oct. 2
- Before Midnight: 7 p.m. Sunday; 2:15 p.m. Sept. 28
- Blackfish: 2:15 p.m. Wednesday; 4:30 p.m. Oct. 2
- Blue Jasmine: 4:30 p.m. Tuesday and Oct. 3; 7 p.m. Sept. 28
- The English Teacher: 4:30 p.m. Sept. 28; noon Oct. 3
- Fill the Void: noon Wednesday; 2 p.m. Oct. 1
- Fruitvale Station: 9:30 p.m. Saturday; 7 p.m. Sept. 30
- Hannah Arendt: 4:30 p.m. Sunday; 2 p.m. Sept. 27
- A Hijacking (Kapringen): 4:30 p.m. Wednesday; 9:15 p.m. Sept. 28
- The Hunt (Jagten): 2:15 p.m. Sunday; noon Sept. 28
- Much Ado About Nothing: 7:30 p.m. Monday; 2 p.m. Sept. 26 and Oct. 3; 4:30 p.m. Sept. 29
- Museum Hours: noon Sunday; 2 p.m. Sept. 30
- Renoir: 4:30 p.m. Monday and Oct. 1; 7:15 p.m. Sept. 27
- Still Mine: noon Saturday; 5 p.m. Sept. 26; 2:15 p.m. Oct. 2
- Stories We Tell: 2:15 p.m. Saturday; 7:30 p.m. Sept. 25; 7 p.m. Sept. 29
- Unfinished Song (Song for Marion): 4:30 p.m. Saturday; 2:15 p.m. Sept. 29; 7 p.m. Oct. 2
- The Way Way Back: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday and Oct. 3; 4:30 p.m. Sept. 27; noon Sept. 29
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