BY BROOKE WILLIAMS
Calling all aspiring movie makers.
The Dietrich Theater in Tunkhannock wants to see your original quarantine creations.
“Movies are our livelihood and we thought it would be a fun way for folks to spend some time while they’re home,” said Dietrich Theater Executive Director Erica Rogler.
Now through May 15, anyone 16 or younger could submit a short movie to the Dietrich Theater Movie Contest.
Sara Ergott, a member of the theater’s Board of Trustees, suggested the idea. Ronnie Harvey, the theater’s film booker, said with so many people getting bored at home, the contest could provide a fun and unique activity.
“We want to keep people engaged,” Harvey said. “We thought why not go and see what creative people are out there, especially in our area, and young people at that.”
He added, “ We wanted to give kids an opportunity to create something.”
People don’t need fancy equipment to participate in the contest, and their movies don’t need to be complex either. Harvey suggested shooting with a smartphone and putting the footage together with a free video editing program like iMovie.
The first place winner will earn a Dietrich Theater gift card worth $100, with $50 and $25 gift cards for the second and third place creators.
When the theater reopens to the public, Harvey hopes to show the winning movies on the big screen in addition to promoting them online through social media and the Dietrich’s website.
Videos should be two to five minutes in length, family friendly, and shot with people already in your home to follow social distancing guidelines.
Upload your movie to YouTube and email the link to email@example.com. Reach out to Harvey via email for any questions about the contest.
Harvey hopes family units can bond through this contest, and he already envisions some of the families who frequent the Dietrich getting creative together at home.
“I’m hoping it brings people together, especially when people have to be separated,” he said.
The Dietrich Theater has been closed in compliance with state directives since March 17. Word that Gov. Tom Wolf has targeted May 8 to start slowly lifting restrictions has given the Dietrich staff some hope moving forward.
“We can’t wait to be back with our classes and our movies once it’s safe,” Rogler said. “We’ll be ready.”
The movie contest is part of the theater’s ongoing efforts to move programming online during the closure, which Rogler and Harvey said has received positive responses.
Visit the Dietrich Theater’s Facebook page to see how its volunteers have been bringing the arts, physical fitness, creative writing and more to patrons through virtual means.
The Dietrich has also partnered with studios that want to give back to independent theaters.
If you rent or buy one of the movies listed on dietrichtheater.com through direct links, the Dietrich will receive a percentage of the profits.
“We look forward to continuing to think of new ideas as long as this goes on,” Harvey said. “We just look forward to seeing the submissions and seeing what creative ideas they come up with.”
Caitlin Heaney West is the content editor for Access NEPA and oversees the Early Access blog in addition to working as a copy editor and staff writer for The Times-Tribune. An award-winning journalist, she is a summa cum laude graduate of Shippensburg University and also earned a master’s degree from Marywood University. Caitlin joined the Times-Shamrock family in 2009 and lives in Scranton. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; 570-348-9100 x5107; or @cheaneywest