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New film festival headed to Allentown

Allentown Film Festival
Allentown Film Festival
The logo for the new Allentown Film Festival

ALLENTOWN, Pa. — A new Allentown festival that will present a mix of international, American and Lehigh Valley films will premiere in April, organizers announced Monday.

The nonprofit Allentown Film Festival will screen dozens of short and feature films, at Nineteenth Street Theatre and the boutique Theatre514 across the street April 14-16, organizers said.

Allentown Art Museum will also show films on April 15, and Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center will kick off the festival with movies on April 1.

  • Allentown Film Festival will debut in April at Nineteenth Street Theatre, Theatre514, Allentown Art Museum and Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center
  • It expects to screen a mix of international, American and Lehigh Valley films
  • Local submissions are being sought

Screening times and admission prices will be announced.
The festival will award cash prizes to the best entries in the Lehigh Valley Shorts categories.

Lehigh Valley residents can submit films, one to five minutes long, in three categories: K-12 students, college students and nonstudents.

Alan Younkin and Michael Schelp, co-chairmen of the Art In The Park held annually in September in the city’s West Park, are heading up the festival.

“The goal is to identify and encourage compelling, thought-provoking independent films,” said Younkin, the festival's director.

“The goal is to identify and encourage compelling, thought-provoking independent films."
Allentown Film Festival Director Alan Younkin

“The Allentown Film Festival will not only boost Lehigh Valley pride but also remind people in the Mid-Atlantic region that Allentown is a vibrant, much-closer-than-you-think arts mecca.”

Younkin promised the festival will "put on a really fun show with VIP red-carpet parties, great films, engaging panel discussions, and a real sense of community.”

Schelp, the new festival's chief marketing officer, said, “Allentown needs a film festival. According to FilmFreeway, the leading festival submissions website, Philadelphia has almost 40. Pittsburgh, 20. Even tiny Milford in the Poconos has the wonderful Black Bear Film Festival.”

Civic Theatre Artistic Director William Sanders said, “People have been talking about starting a film festival for years. We are thrilled to host what we hope will become a highly anticipated annual tradition.”

The festival has received more than 330 entries from filmmakers in more than 40 countries and has accepted several dozen films so far, organizers said.

Categories are Best Narrative Feature, Best Documentary Feature, Best Narrative Short, Best Documentary Short and Best Music Video.

While there is an entry fee for those categories, there is no charge for the short film entries from the Lehigh Valley, they said.

Local entries are being sought. They must be submitted by establishing a free account atFilmFreeway.com/AllentownFilmFestival and uploading a film. Deadline for entries is March 1.

Festival organizers are also seeking sponsors.

More information is available at allentownfilmfestival.org.