Milford Theatre circa 1988 / photo by James Smith from THS Archives

Black Bear Film Festival returns to Milford Theatre [Milford, PA]

Three-day event begins with Friday night gala

Milford Theatre circa 1988 / photo by James Smith from THS Archives

By Timothy Malcolm
Times Herald-Record
Published: 2:00 AM – 10/14/11

In the 1988 Italian film “Cinema Paradiso,” a man returns to his native village to mourn his friend and mentor, the projectionist of the local theater. He finds that the theater is being demolished. Just another movie house lost to modernity.

This could have been the fate of the Milford Theatre. The East Catharine Street movie house stood in disrepair for years, with bats allegedly flying inside the structure. But, in April, casting director Jerry Beaver purchased the building with his business partner, Dru Whitaker. Beaver? He’s a Pike County guy, out of the spotlight for a few years, but once he founded a film festival, the Black Bear Film Festival.

That festival is now 12 years old, and after its leaders decided they could no longer run the festival, Beaver stepped in there, too. Now the festival is back where it belongs, the Milford Theatre, age 100, and “Cinema Paradiso” is the first film showing at the festival, and suddenly fate is nothing but a four-letter word.

“When I bought the theater and started the renovation, I can’t tell you how many people came to me and said, ‘When are you going to show ‘Cinema Paradiso’?” said Beaver. “For three years people around the Milford area have been really upset. They miss being able to go to the Milford Theatre.”

“Cinema Paradiso” is the story of a man, the movie house he loves and the community that loves it back. And that’s only opening night.

The 12th Black Bear Film Festival runs through Sunday, featuring narratives and documentaries of all shapes and sizes. There’s “We Need to Talk About Kevin,” in which Beaver said Tilda Swinton gives a master class in acting. …

For the complete story visit http://www.recordonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20111014/ENTERTAIN/110140308/-1/ENTERTAIN08

What: Black Bear Film Festival
 When: Oct. 14-16
 Where: Milford, Pa.
 Price: $10, $20 (opening night), $5 (children’s) advance; $12, $7 (children’s) at box office; film salon free
 Call: 570-409-0909
 Visit: www.blackbearfilm.com

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