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Southside Film Fest to celebrate 20 years with shorts on Bethlehem Steel, Easton football

Southside Film Festival
The Southside Film Festival is now in its 20th year.

BETHLEHEM, Pa. — High school football, steel and brick and mortar shops: The Southside Film Fest has returned with films highlighting the culture of the Lehigh Valley.

The festival, now in its 20th year, also will feature 70 independent films, including documentaries, comedy and horror at venues such as the National Museum of Industrial History, Cathedral Church of the Nativity and Touchstone Theatre.

Presented by the SouthSide Arts District, the festival runs from Tuesday, June 11, to Saturday, June 15.

It's the longest-running film festival in Bethlehem and will present international films, question-and-answer sessions with filmmakers, juried selections and networking opportunities for film buffs and directors.

Opening night kicks off at 6 p.m. at Comfort Suites, 120 W. Third St.

At 7 p.m. there will a walking procession to the Cathedral Church of the Nativity, 321 Wyandotte St., for a screening of "The Death Tour," an indie film that follows a pro-wrestling group from Canada.

Access to the party and the subsequent opening night screening cost just $10.

State Theatre, Double Decker

Customers in Double Decker records
Julian Abraham
Customers in Double Decker Records on Wednesday. In the span of about an hour, well over a hundred people came through the doors.

In addition, seven films shot throughout the Lehigh Valley will debut at the Cathedral Church of the Nativity beginning at 1:20 p.m. Saturday.

"Rip Double Decker" a short by Nicholas Luciano, includes an interview with Jamie Holmes, owner of Double Decker Records.

Holmes closed the doors to his Allentown shop in 2023 after 23 years in business. Showtime is 1:20 p.m. Saturday.

"Saving the State Theatre," directed by Jaime Joseph, tells the story of Friends of the State Theatre, a group of locals who rallied together in the 1980s to raise money to buy thehistoric Easton arts venue after it was threated to be demolished.

Matt Heffner
Former Bethlehem Steel workers Joe Mayer and Lester Clore star in “Forged Steel” a short film by Matt Hefner.

Football fans can revisit the longtime rivalry between high school teams in the 42-minute feature "Tradition: an Easton and Philipsburg Story."

The film consists of interviews with football coaches, former players and staff who touch on the Easton Rovers' annual Thanksgiving football game against the Phillipsburg Stateliners.

Lastly, "Forged in Steel" details stories from some of the workers from the old Bethlehem Steel plant who share what life was like after the plant closed in 1995.

For the complete festival schedule and ticket information, go to the SouthSide Film Fest website.