Travel through Kolkata via Google Earth to figure out a young boy’s past, take a deeper look into a black family torn apart by generational divides and racial inequality in 1950s Pittsburgh, or learn more about the stray cats of Istanbul at this year’s Dietrich Theater Spring Film Festival.
The annual event kicks off Friday at the Tunkhannock theater and runs through April 27, screening 23 films ranging from Oscar nominees to foreign films to documentaries. Tickets are $8.50.
“The biggest challenge, personally, is picking the films,” said Ronnie Harvey, the theater’s assistant general manager. “It’s hard to get it down to those core films, while getting advice from patrons coming to the films and other people that work with me.”
Harvey noticed the festivals’ appeal to not only regulars who enjoy the films chosen each time but also new people looking for something different from the superhero flicks and children’s movies often on the marquee.

“Before the Flood”

“I think they like that they can see all of these really well put-together films in a package,” Harvey said. “They turn it into a kind of game for them, to see how many (films) they can see in the festival. They do really like to be able to see quality films that other places in the area aren’t showing or, if they do, it’s only for a very short period of time.”
An opening night gala kicks off the festival with screenings of “Lion” and “20th Century Women”; a buffet of hors d’oeuvres from Twigs Cafe, Epicurean Delight, the Fireplace Restaurant and Ma Greenley’s BBQ; wine and beer provided by Nimble Hill; and dessert by Epicurean Delight. Gala tickets are $40 and must be reserved in advance.
Among the films chosen for this edition of the festival, three — “Land of Mine,” “The Salesman” and “Toni Erdmann” — were nominated for best foreign language film at the Academy Awards. Also slated are two films with local ties: “All in Time,” directed by Wilkes-Barre native Chris Fetchko, who will host a question-and-answer session after each screening, and “Completely Normal,” co-written by Scranton native Heather Davis, who will answer questions at the April 20 showing.
In honor of Earth Day, a question-and-answer session with Dr. Susan Kenehan follows the April 22 screening of “Before the Flood,” which examines climate change around the world and features Leonardo DiCaprio.
Other films set to screen include “Elle,” “Fences,” “The Founder,” “I, Claude Monet,” “I Am Not Your Negro,” “Jackie,” “Julieta,” “Kedi: The Cats of Istanbul,” “Manchester by the Sea,” “Neruda,” “Nocturnal Animals,” “Paterson,” “Things To Come,” “A United Kingdom” and “Year by the Sea.”
A post-festival film discussion takes place Friday, April 28, at 1 p.m., and gives people a chance to discuss the films with other enthusiasts. Harvey will facilitate the discussion.
“My favorite part is seeing the people who really enjoy what they are seeing and talking about it,” he said. “I love seeing people after a showing, seeing strangers who have become friends and having discussions. It just shows that movies are the great American art form. You can change a mind, you can impact someone’s life in the positive, just from a movie.”
— charlotte l. jacobson

If you go
What: Spring Film Festival Opening Night Gala
Where: Dietrich Theater,
60 E. Tioga St., Tunkhannock
When: Friday, doors open at 5:30 p.m.
Details: Tickets are $40, and reservations are required. Call 570-996-1500. For more information, visit dietrichtheater.com.

FESTIVAL SCHEDULE:

Saturday
Noon: “Land of Mine”
2:15 p.m: “Completely Normal”
4:15 p.m: “Jackie”
7 p.m.: “Fences”
9:45 p.m.: “Elle”

Sunday
Noon: “Before the Flood”
2 p.m.: “Lion”
4:30 p.m.: “20th Century Women”
7 p.m.: “Paterson”

Monday
Noon: “Kedi: The Cats of Istanbul”
Noon: “The Salesman”
2 p.m.: “Neruda”
2:30 p.m.: “Julieta”
4:30 p.m.: “Things To Come”
7 p.m.: “All in Time”

Tuesday
Noon: “The Founder”
Noon: “Manchester by the Sea”
2:30 p.m.: “Year by the Sea”
2:45 p.m.: “Elle”
5 p.m.: “A United Kingdom”
7:30 p.m.: “I Am Not Your Negro”

Wednesday
Noon: “I, Claude Monet”
2 p.m.: “Paterson”
4:30 p.m.: “Fences”
7:15 p.m.: “Land of Mine”

Thursday, April 13
Noon: “I Am Not Your Negro”
Noon: “Lion”
2 p.m.: “Jackie”
2:30 p.m.: “Toni Erdmann”
4:30 p.m.: “Kedi: The Cats
of Istanbul”
7 p.m.: “A United Kingdom”

Friday, April 14
Noon: “Fences”
Noon: “Neruda”
2:15 p.m.: “Year by the Sea”
2:45 p.m.: “Before the Flood”
4:45 p.m.: “Paterson”
7:15 p.m.: “The Salesman”
9:30 p.m.: “Nocturnal Animals”

Saturday, April 15
Noon: “20th Century Women”
2:30 p.m.: “Julieta”
4:45: “Lion”
7:15 p.m.: “All in Time”
9:30 p.m.: “The Founder”

Sunday, April 16
Noon: “Manchester by the Sea”
2:45 p.m.: “The Salesman”
5:15 p.m.: “I Am Not Your Negro”
7:15 p.m.: “Toni Erdmann”

Monday, April 17
Noon: “Land of Mine”
Noon: “Things To Come”
2:15 p.m.: “Elle”
2:30 p.m.: “A United Kingdom”
5 p.m.: “Julieta”
7:15 p.m.: “20th Century Women”

Tuesday, April 18
Noon: “Before the Flood”
Noon: “Neruda”
2:15 p.m.: “The Founder”
2:30 p.m.: “Kedi: The Cats
of Istanbul”
4:30 p.m.: “I, Claude Monet”
7 p.m.: “Lion”

Wednesday, April 19
Noon: “Land of Mine”
2:15 p.m.: “Nocturnal Animals”
5 p.m.: “I Am Not Your Negro”
7 p.m.: “Jackie”

Thursday, April 20
Noon: “Elle”
Noon: “Fences”
2:45 p.m.: “The Salesman”
2:45 p.m.: “Year by the Sea”
5 p.m.: “Julieta”
7:15 p.m.: “Completely Normal”

Friday, April 21
Noon: “20th Century Women”
Noon: “The Founder”
2:30 p.m.: “Jackie”
2:30 p.m.: “Lion”
4:45 p.m.: “Neruda”
7 p.m.: “Manchester by the Sea”
9:45 p.m.: “Paterson”

Saturday, April 22
Noon: “Before the Flood”
2:15 p.m.: “A United Kingdom”
4:30 p.m.: “Land of Mine”
7 p.m.: “Elle”
9:45 p.m.: “Nocturnal Animals”

Sunday, April 23
Noon: “Jackie”
2:15 p.m.: “Fences”
5 p.m.: “All in Time”
7 p.m.: “Lion”

Monday, April 24
Noon: “Neruda”
Noon: “Toni Erdmann”
2:15 p.m.: “Manchester by the Sea”
3:30 p.m.: “Jackie”
5 p.m.: “Completely Normal”
7 p.m.: “Things To Come”

Tuesday, April 25
Noon: “I Am Not Your Negro”
Noon: “A United Kingdom”
2:15 p.m.: “Year by the Sea”
2:30 p.m.: “Paterson”
5 p.m.: “I, Claude Monet”
7 p.m.: “The Salesman”

Wednesday, April 26
Noon: “Julieta”
2:15 p.m.: “Things To Come”
4:30 p.m.: “Kedi: The Cats
of Istanbul”
7 p.m.: “20th Century Women”

Thursday, April 27
Noon: “The Founder”
Noon: “Jackie”
2:15 p.m.: “Fences”
2:30 p.m.: “I Am Not Your Negro”
4:30 p.m.: “Toni Erdmann”
7:30 p.m.: “Lion”

Friday, April 28
1 p.m.: Post-festival discussion

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