June 8-11, 2017



Mauch Chunk Opera House June 8 to 11

Channeling the rebellious spirit of the Molly Maguires, JTIFF challenged the boldest, 
most defiant filmmakers to present their work, shatter convention and incite spirited debate. 
The festival credo is “eyes and minds wide open,” and they mean it!

Jim Thorpe, PA — (May 16, 2017) — Jim Thorpe Independent Film Festival (JTIFF) founders Todd Morris and Jocelyn O’Neil announced the inaugural festival lineup this week, featuring 86 films from 16 countries, six world premieres, four North American premieres and 26 Pennsylvania premieres. The festival opens at 7 p.m. Thursday, June 8 at the Mauch Chunk Opera House, 14 W. Broadway, in historic Jim Thorpe, PA and will run through Sunday, June 11.

The selections were culled from more than 600 submissions of every genre and budget from gritty underground work to well-funded traditional films. “Collecting such an amazing slate of films that fit so well into a cohesive program was indeed a challenge, but knowing I’ll be bringing these unique cutting edge films to a wider audience here in Eastern Pennsylvania and in the process, push some buttons and stir up spirited debate, is indeed incredibly satisfying. Like the tag line of our festival implies - come to the Jim Thorpe Independent Film Festival with your “Eyes and Minds Wide Open”…and we definitely mean that,” Morris said.

Opening night kicks off in grand style at the historic Mauch Chunk Opera House with the much acclaimed documentary, The Pine Barrens. Featuring lush cinematography and a symphony of sounds, Director David Kessler takes us on a journey through the forested reserve that dominates the southern half of New Jersey. The Ruins of Friendship Orchestra will perform the film score LIVE! Kessler will be on hand to introduce the film and do Q&A. See the trailer: https://vimeo.com/158122539  

JTIFF is also proud to present the world premiere of Centralia by Pennsylvania Director Joe Sapienza. In 1962, the town of Centralia is overcome by a massive underground coal fire. But after the government intervened, the fire only grew larger forcing the population out of their beloved homes and ultimately creating one of Pennsylvania’s most tragic and famous ghost towns. See the trailer: https://vimeo.com/198530503

Other screenings feature exciting films in all categories including Action, Adventure, Comedy, Drama, Documentary, Experimental, Grindhouse, Action, Thriller, Horror, LGBTQ, Local Hero (Pennsylvania filmmakers) and Sci-fi. “Keep in mind that it’s not exactly a family friendly event and it’s definitely not mainstream. We intend to push people’s buttons and pull them out of their comfort zone,” Morris said.

In fact, JTIFF’s midnight GRINDHOUSE screenings on Friday and Saturday nights, offer some of the nastiest, most disturbing, politically incorrect films that not only push the envelope, but rip it to shreds. A few highlights include titles like PMS: Pre-Teen Monster Syndrome, Hog Hunters and the very disturbing Chateau Savignon: Terroir. Note that, due to adult content, both the GRINDHOUSE and the DARKSIDE screenings are limited to 18 AND OVER ONLY.

Even our Comedies are a bit twisted. Like Funeral Day directed and starring Jon Weinberg - A darkly funny tale of a hypochondriac who skips his best friend’s funeral in an attempt to start living his own life to the fullest, and Fastest Most Romantic Love Yet, a Kevin Smith-esque Romantic Comedy about two millennial Tinder lovers who discuss love, sex and technology with the crazy strangers who drop in on them before they meet for their “date.” Funeral Day trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7WAzsqWRtwFastest Most Romantic Love Yet trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QmMzAT-Jvgo

And don’t miss our noon ACTION! Block on Saturday! We have seven bone-crushing action packed films to roust you from your hangover including Monday, Diamond Dayze, Payday and Hardway – The Action Musical about a tough-as-nails Detroit SWAT team who hunt down the terrorist who killed one of their own… all while singing and dancing! Check out the trailers on the festival website.

Awards will be presented for each category, along with audience choice, Enfant Terrible - young filmmaker and Local Hero - Pennsylvania filmmaker, after the closing screening on Sunday. 
Parties are scheduled each night of the festival at venues within walking distance to the Mauch Chunk Opera House. The Opening Night Party will be at FLOW, 268 W. Broadway, which is owned by acclaimed artist Victor Stabin whose animated film The Bonito is Finito is also featured in the festival; Friday night’s party at Broadway Grill & Pub’s Underground Lounge, 24 Broadway; Saturday night at Marion Hose Company, next door to the Opera House at 20 W. Broadway. The Closing Night Gala will be held at the Anita Shapolsky Art Gallery also next door to the Opera House on the opposite side.

Founded by Brooklyn natives Todd Morris and Jocelyn O'Neil, the couple moved to Jim Thorpe in 2014 after the birth of their son. Jocelyn is an actress, writer and producer whose films have screened in festivals throughout the country. Todd is an award winning commercial producer who’s been working in the business for more than two decades. He’s also written and directed two indie features, several shorts and screened his work in dozens of film festivals around the globe.

JTIFF is supported in part with grants from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts and the Lehigh Valley Arts Council. 

Festival Tickets and passes are now on sale at the Mauch Chunk Opera House website: www.mcohjt.com Opening Night - $20; Individual Film Block - $10; Individual Day Pass for Friday, June 9 - $35; Saturday, June 10 - $40; Sunday, June 11 - $25; All Access Pass for all screenings - $100. The screening schedule can be found at http://mcohjt.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/SCHEDULEJTIFF-5-14.pdf 

For trailers and more information, visit http://www.jimthorpeindiefilmfest.com