The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

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May 28, 2012

Captured on film | Annual Johnstown movie festival kicks off tonight

People yearning to become successful filmmakers have an opportunity to showcase their talents during the seventh annual Johnstown Film Festival.

Johnstown Area Heritage Association’s festival will be held tonight through Saturday (June 6-9) and will feature a mix of film shorts – documentaries, experimental films, narratives and comedies.

Showings during the first three evenings will begin at 7 p.m. in the Johnstown Flood Museum’s second floor theater, 304 Washington St. in downtown Johnstown.

Admission is $5.

Showings on the final evening of the festival will begin at 8 at the Oilhouse at Peoples Natural Gas Park along Johns Street in downtown Johnstown.

“We are excited about the Saturday presentations because it marks the first public event ever held there,” said Shelley Johansson, JAHA’s director of marketing and communications. “The Oilhouse offers seating for nearly 400 people.”

Weather permitting, two large overhead garage doors will be open to give people the feeling of an outdoor theater.

“For the past two years, rain has forced us to move the final evening inside the Heritage Discovery Center instead of being in the courtyard,” Johansson said. “This year, we’ll be inside the Oilhouse, so we know we’ll be dry – and it will be a fantastic atmosphere.”

Another major change from previous years is the elimination of beer tastings and food.

“We’ve decided to eliminate that in favor of a significantly lower ticket price for the Saturday viewings,” Johansson said.

The evening of June 6 will spotlight “A Thousand Cuts,” a feature film starring Windber native Michael Newcomer.

The film had its world premiere in January at the Palm Springs (Calif.) International Film Festival.

“A Thousand Cuts” is a psychological thriller about a stranger (played by Academy Award nominee Michael O’Keefe) with a haunted past who shows up unannounced at the home of Hollywood’s hottest horror director (played by Newcomer), determined to teach him what real horror is all about.

Newcomer arranged for the special screening.

“We are hoping that he will be here for the presentation,” Johansson said.

Film shorts entered into the competition will be shown on June 7-8.

On June 9, the best of the films will be shown at festival park.

Cash awards will be given to the makers of the top three films and the best youth entry.

The third-place winner, “Following Chase” by Greg Koorhan of Wynnewood, Montgomery County, depicts Ted’s priority to stay with his partner, Chase. But they are not alone in the wild, and Ted must overcome his greatest fear to save his friend and reach their objective before they are caught.

The second-place winner, “Oh Happy Day” by Bill Sorice of New York City, shows Leo on the verge of giving up on life. Then, one day a new neighbor brings hope, and he discovers that finding the right words might not be as easy as it seems.

The student award winner, “The Things They Carried” by Dan Frantz of Downingtown, Chester County, also won the 2011 Student Award with “Left 2 Die.”

“Harmony,” by Pierre Emmanuel Plassart, a native of France working in Los Angeles, is the first-place winner.

In the film, Vanessa leads a quiet life as a housewife in the village of Harmony. But when she realizes the nature of the town, she decides to flee its barbaric customs, and her own family. Actors include Newcomer.

“The festival also includes a viewers’ choice award, which is selected by those attending the festival’s final evening,” Johansson said.

Doors open at 7:30.

Tickets for June 9 are $8 for JAHA members and $10 for non-members.

Advance tickets are available by calling 539-1889; at the Heritage Discovery Center, 201 Sixth Ave. in the Cambria City section of Johnstown; and at the door the nights of the showings.

For more information: www.johnstownfilmfest.org

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