For movie buffs in the area, the Dietrich Theater in Tunkhannock will be the hottest summer spot over the next few weeks. The theater’s annual film festival runs from Friday, July 14, through Thursday, Aug. 3, and will showcase a total of 23 films over 21 days, with “something for everyone,” said assistant general manager Ronnie Harvey.
“This year we have an expanded list of 23 independent, foreign and documentary films that range from music concert biopics, historical docu-dramas and films that capture the heart of family struggle and the bonds that unite us in our humanity,” he said.
Harvey said the event began with the intention of bringing foreign and independent films to the local area — those that previously could only be found in major cities such as New York City.
“As the years progressed, we realized the viability of these festivals for their ability to bring in people from outside of the area, and that they were a big boon for not only us, but the local businesses in town,” he explained.
“We saw the desire and passion surrounding these films and this festival, and decided that we were in the business of giving the public what they wanted.”
The festival’s opening night will feature two films. “Paris Can Wait,” a rated-PG road trip comedy starring Diane Lane and Alec Baldwin, screens first. After intermission will be a showing of “Their Finest,” rated R, based on the novel “Their Finest Hour and a Half,” which tells of a female script writer who is asked to help bring a heartwarming touch to propaganda films during the war.
Other films to be shown throughout the three-week festival include “Alive and Kicking,” “Churchill,” “The Freedom to Marry,” and “Mr. Gaga.”
Harvey said his personal favorite is “Beatriz at Dinner,” starring Salma Hayek and John Lithgow, which tells events that unfold when the lives of a poor immigrant and a cutthroat billionare collide.
Since its inception, the popularity of the film festival continued to grow along with the number of films screened to its enthusiastic audiences.
“With each passing year, we see an expanded audience, and the old die-hards never leave,” Harvey said, adding that increased demand from the public caused the theater to schedule more festivals throughout the year.
Admission to opening night festivities on July 14 will cost $25 and includes both films as well as appetizers, drinks and dessert. Admission to all other films will be $8.50 per screening. The festival concludes with a film discussion on Friday, Aug. 4, at 1 p.m. to give the public a chance to share ideas and opinions on the festival’s content.
“We have an expanded concession area with new specialty drinks and products that might better cater to our film festival attendees,” Harvey said, noting that the Dietrich’s reputation for providing quality arts, entertainment and culture to the public makes it a good place to hold the festival.
“We think it is very important to provide this type of programming to our area because they don’t usually get the kind of exposure to other cultures, religions and areas of the world that they do outside of these movies.”
— jacqueline kurovsky

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