Good Life

College Town Film Festival calls ‘action’ in State College

Break out the gourmet popcorn.

The College Town Film Festival is returning to downtown State College from Wednesday to Saturday.

Think of this as a pallet cleanser, a glass of fine wine to wash away the taste of movie theater nachos and that jumbo box of Sour Patch Kids — both of which have a natural place in any well-balanced diet, to be sure, but every once in a while it’s nice to shake things up.

The submissions keep getting better.

Matthew Jordan, president of the board of the College Town Film Festival

The festival shines a light on independent cinema, films that either because of their subject matter or the fact that nobody with the last names Spielberg, Nolan or Abrams was involved, tend to fall through the cracks.

Existing well outside of major markets like New York City or Los Angeles, the chances of Centre County residents being able to catch a documentary such as “Two Blue Lines” up on the big screen are slim.

“Most of what we get are kind of studio films,” said Matthew Jordan, an associate professor of film/video and media studies at Penn State.

Jordan is president of the board of the College Town Film Festival and that means that he more aware than most of just how many films are out there floating around out in that strange netherworld between the edit suite and the multiplex — and how good they are.

“The submissions keep getting better,” Jordan said.

His personal favorite is “Miners Shot Down,” a documentary about the deaths of 34 striking miners at the hands of police in South America. The film received an International Emmy Award for Documentary and will be playing at 7 p.m. on Friday in the HUB-Robeson Center’s Freeman Auditorium.

“It’s a very important and gripping film,” Jordan said.

The festival’s lineup is full of projects that are ripe for discussion. Filmmaker Linda Brown will be on hand for a Q&A about her documentary “You See Me,” which tells the story of her father’s stroke and her subsequent investigation into his surprising past.

The filmmakers have been giving us a lot of good buzz, nationally and internationally.

Matthew Jordan, president of the board of the College Town Film Festival

Additional conversations with filmmakers are peppered throughout the festival’s four-day run, giving audiences the opportunity to gain broader insights into the craft of filmmaking than they could get in a DVD commentary.

“For me, it’s the most rewarding part,” Jordan said.

Outside of the films themselves, workshops such as Everyone’s a Filmmaker and Original Script Reading will explore how life is breathed into the written word and the immediacy with which a solid idea can now be committed to film.

Still, any festival is only as strong as its films.

“The filmmakers have been giving us a lot of good buzz, nationally and internationally,” Jordan said.

All films are open to the public; admission to the festival is free with a student ID. A full schedule of films and events can be found at www.collegetownfilmfestival.com.

Frank Ready: 814-231-4620, @fjready

IF YOU GO

What: College Town Film Festival

When: March 16-19

Where: various locations, downtown State College and Penn State campus

Info: www.collegetownfilmfestival.com

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