The Greater Reading Film Festival happens in PA this weekend, Nov. 5th to Nov. 8th

5 Nov


Oct 5th, 2009–

Area film fans looking for something to do this weekend might consider heading up to the Reading Film Festival in Pennsylvania, which begins its run this evening. Starting tonight and running through Sunday, where it will finish up with a screening of the Hitchcock classic, Rear Window, the festival is actually an interesting and eclectic collection of films both mainstream and experimental. I’ve seen a few of them like Make-Out With  Violence, Sita Sings the Blues and Home, but several others are new to me. I’ve got a busy schedule, so I won’t be able to make it, but for those that can here’s the info from the website followed by a list of the films that will play.

READING, PA – The Berks Arts Council is proud to announce the lineup of films selected to screen in the 4th Annual Greater Reading Film Festival (GRFF), and to introduce this year’s winning films. In addition to the four competition categories, the festival will present several special screenings and events. The 2009 Greater Reading Film Festival runs Thursday, Nov. 5, to Sunday, Nov. 8, 2009 in Reading at the RC Movies 11 & IMAX in Entertainment Square.

“This year we have a great schedule of compelling independent films of all types” said Connie Leinbach, Executive Director. “Film is one of the most influential of all the arts, and we hope the community comes out to view these offerings from all over the world. To see the variety of films in our festival, a film buff has to go to a nearby big city. Now, with the GRFF, we can see all kinds of films heretofore unavailable to us. It’s one more reason for citizens to stay here in Reading and enjoy the arts.”

For the 2009 GRFF competition, 19 feature-length and nine short films were selected, representing six countries. Cash awards are given annually to the top three feature films, and to the top short films in three award categories: Adult/Post-College Short, College Short, and High School Short. This year’s first place feature film winner of $1000 is Euforia, a humorous drama from Mexico, directed and produced by Alfonso Corona. Euforia will play Saturday, Nov. 7, at 6:30 p.m., and is sponsored by the Javier Ortega Insurance Agency. It will include a panel discussion following the screening.

The other feature films in the top three receiving cash awards are, in second place and winning $600, Home (USA), a drama about a women surviving breast cancer in the late 1960’s, starring Marcia Gay Harden and directed, produced and written by Lancaster filmmaker Mary Haverstick. Home will screen Friday, Nov. 6, at 6:30 p.m., and will be followed by a panel discussion including Ms. Haverstick. In third place, winning $400 is The Nature of Existence (USA), a documentary about our place in the universe, directed by Roger Nygard. The Nature of Existence will screen Friday, Nov. 5, at 7 p.m. and will be followed by a panel discussion.

Winning short films each receive a $250 cash award, and all of this year’s short films will screen Saturday, Nov. 7, at 2:45 p.m. The 2009 short film winners are: Adult/Post-College – Socarrat (Spain), directed and produced by David Moreno; College – Prayers for Peace (USA), directed and written by Dustin Grella, School of Visual Arts, New York, NY; and High School – Squabble (USA), directed by Evan Berger, Alexander Hamilton Senior High School, Los Angeles, CA.

“We were very pleased with the number of submissions we received for the festival this year,” said Festival Director Matthew Serio. “It was very difficult to decide what to program due to the high quality of the independent films we accepted. In the end we came up with a well-rounded selection that has something for everyone in the community.”

Several special events are planned during this year’s festival, including an Opening Reception, held Thursday, Nov. 5, at 5:30 p.m. in the RC Theatres, which includes hors d’oeuvres and refreshments, hosted by the Greater Reading Film Commission. Tickets to this event are $15, and also include guest choice of one of two opening screenings, The Nature of Existence or The Prince of Broadway. This year’s Closing Reception is being held in partnership with the Reading Public Museum and their exhibit, “The Magic of Hollywood: The Gene London Costume Collection” on Sunday, Nov. 8. A screening of one of Hitchcock’s classics, Rear Window, (3 p.m., in the Reading Hospital School of Health Sciences Main Auditorium) will be followed by the festival’s official Closing Reception in the Museum’s Atrium (5:30 – 8 p.m.) The exhibition (including one of the dresses worn by Grace Kelly in the film,) and a meet and greet with Gene London will be included in the $20 ticket. Hors d’oeuvres and refreshments will be served.

Single ticket pricing for individual films and discussions is $7. A festival All-Access pass, which includes the Opening and Closing Receptions and admission to all films and discussions, is $50. Tickets for all screenings and events will be available beginning Oct. 5, at The complete screening schedule and event information can be found at, or by calling 610-898-1930.

The Berks Arts Council presents the VF Outlet Berks Jazz Fest, the Bandshell Concert Series, Greater Reading Film Festival, the Pagoda Awards, the Pennsylvania Partners in the Arts Re-Granting Program, and provides art exhibition and marketing opportunities for member artists. Visit them at


 16 to Life

(USA) Comedy

It is Kate’s 16th birthday and she has never been kissed. This “day-in-the-life” by Emmy-nominated writer/director Becky Smith (Queer Eye for the Straight Guy) puts a wry, witty, and unpredictable ensemble cast in a small-town locale along the Mississippi River. (2008, Director: Becky Smith, 118min)

Blessed Is the Match: The Life and Death of Hannah Senesh
(USA) Documentary

Three-time Academy Award nominee Joan Allen narrates this documentary about Hannah Senesh, a World War II-era Hungarian poet who with 31 other Jewish-Palestinians parachuted in into Nazi occupied Hungary to rescue Jews. It was the only outside rescue mission for Jews during the Holocaust. Hannah was captured, tortured and ultimately executed. A discussion will follow the screening. (2008, Director: Roberta Grossman, 85min) 

Blood Trail

(United Kingdom) Documentary

Follows 15 years in the life of a photo journalist in some of the most dangerous places on earth: Sarajevo in 1993; Grozny in 1997, and Iraq in 2007, embedded with the US military. This film addresses the two questions that are always asked of those who report wars: Why do you do it? How does it affect you? (2008, Director: Richard Parry, 78min)


11/5/2009 at 9:30pm | Tickets | Trailer
Breaking Upwards
(USA) Drama/Comedy

A young New York couple, Daryl and Zoe, want something more and so embark on a break-up stratagem by creating a maze of rules and boundaries, hoping to avoid the pain of a separation by slowly weaning themselves off of each other. The film, an uncensored look at young love, blurs the line between documentary and narrative by casting real life couple (and filmmakers) Daryl Wein and Zoe Lister-Jones as themselves. (2008, Director: Daryl Wein, 90min) 

11/5/2009 at 9:30pm | Tickets | Trailer
  The Brothers Warner
(USA) Documentary

An intimate portrait of the four film pioneers who founded and ran Warner Bros. for over 50 years— little-known major player, Harry Warner; honest Abe; visionary Sam; and volatile Jack — the original Hollywood independent filmmakers, who ultimately used films to “educate, entertain, and enlighten” while being commercially successful and creating social change, all during the Golden Years of Hollywood. (2008, Director: Cass Warner, 90min)11/8/2009 at 1:00pm | Tickets | Trailer

(USA) Drama

Filmed in Lancaster County with a setting in the 1960s, Inga (Oscar-winner Marcia Gay Harden) is a poet and mother to a young daughter (Eulala Scheel, Ms. Harden’s real life daughter). As the struggles of her life mount (breast cancer, a distant husband), Inga’s poetry and exuberant, wise daughter help her transform fear into courage. A discussion with the director will follow the screening. (2008, Director: Mary Haverstick, 84min)

11/6/2009 at 6:30pm | Tickets | Trailer
Idiots & Angels
(USA) Animation

A dark comedy about a man’s battle for his soul. Angel, a selfish and morally bankrupt man, wakes up one morning with wings on his back. Despite numerous attempts to hide his new appendages, Angel is exposed to his community. After much ridicule, he desperately tries to rid himself of the good wings, but eventually finds himself fighting those who view the wings as their ticket to fame and fortune. Is Angel’s misguided soul capable of being rescued? (2008, Director: Bill Plympton, 80min)

11/7/2009 at 6:30pm | Tickets | Trailer
Made in China
(USA) Comedy

Johnson is a 20-something, would-be entrepreneur who travels to Shanghai, China, to produce the next blocbuster novelty item—a “humorous personal hygiene product.” From cosmopolitan night clubs, to rural China, to ancient gardens, to the teeming market streets, Johnson must overcome a string of bad luck if he is to succeed. (2008, Director: Judi Krant, 87min)

11/6/2009 at 9:00pm | Tickets | Trailer
Make-out With Violence
(USA) Horror/Comedy

A genre-bending tale of unrequited teen-age love. When a drive through the countryside beyond their suburban community leads to the discovery of the heretofore missing girl’s mysteriously animated corpse, two high-school boys secretly transport the undead Wendy to an empty house in hopes of somehow bringing her back to life. (2008, Directors: The Deagol Brothers, 105min)

  Observes what happens when the biggest mall developer in the Northeast comes to the smallest county in New York to build its biggest mall yet on a toxic dump, one mile from the filmmakers’ homes. That move sparks a citizen uprising which lasts almost 20 years. A discussion will follow the screening. (2008, Directors: Roger Grange, Sarah Mondale and Vera Aronow, 80min)11/7/2009 at 4:00pm | Tickets | Trailer
(USA) Documentary

Each year over eight million families around the world suffer the loss of a child. In “Motherland,” a 17-day trip to South Africa transforms the lives of six grieving women from disparate parts of the US. A discussion will follow the screening. (2009, Director: Jennifer Steinman, 79min)11/8/2009 at 12:30pm | Tickets | Trailer


The Nature of Existence
 (USA) Documentary

Filmmaker Roger Nygard roams the globe to the source of the world’s philosophies, religions, and belief systems interviewing spiritual leaders, scholars, scientists, artists, pizza chefs, weirdos and others who have influenced, inspired, or freaked out humanity to offer a challenging, entertaining, and enlightening exploration of “why are we here.” A discussion will follow the screening. (2009, Director: Roger Nygard, 94 min)

11/5/2009 at 7pm | Tickets | Trailer



El Nido Vacio (Empty Nest)
(Argentina) Drama/Comedy

A look at a cultured, prosperous Argentine couple whose three children have grown and gone. For Leonardo and Martha, there are no more excuses for not addressing all those little grievances and annoyances that have piled up over the years. (2007, Director: Daniel Burman, 91min)

11/6/2009 at 9:15pm | Tickets | Trailer
Nuestros Desaparecidos (Our Disappeared)
(Argentina) Documentary

“Our Disappeared”/“Nuestros Desaparecidos” is director Juan Mandelbaum’s personal search for the souls of friends and loved ones who were caught in the vise of the military and “disappeared” in his native Argentina during the 1976-1983 military dictatorship. A discussion will follow the screening. (2008, Director: Juan Mandelbaum, 99min)

11/7/2009 at 12:00pm | Tickets | Trailer
On Paper Wings
(USA) Documentary

During WWII, the Japanese military developed a new weapon intended to strike directly at the American continent – the balloon bomb. One of these bombs made it to American soil where it detonated, killing six, making them the only people killed on the continental U.S. during WWII. Forty years later, Japanese women who worked in the bomb factories travel to America to apologize. A discussion will follow the screening. (2008, Director: Nana Sol, 67min)

11/7/2009 at 2:00pm | Tickets | Trailer
The Prince of Broadway
 (USA) Drama

Lucky and Levon work the underbelly of New York’s wholesale fashion district. Lucky’s world is turned upside down when a toddler is suddenly thrust into his life. While Lucky copes with his new domestic dilemma, Levon struggles to save a marriage that is falling apart. Shot in a fast-paced guerilla style–like reality TV– the film reveals the lives of immigrants in urban America. (2008, Director: Sean Baker, 100min)

11/5/2009 at 7pm | Tickets | Trailer
 Rear Window
(USA) Drama

Truly one of Hitchcock’s finest films. A photojournalist (Jimmy Stewart) is confined to a wheelchair with a broken leg, and believes that a murder has been committed by his neighbor in the courtyard adjoining the rear of his apartment. (1954, Director: Alfred Hitchcock, 112min)

11/8/2009 at 3:00pm | Tickets | Trailer

Sita Sings the Blues

USA Animation

“The greatest break-up story ever told,” Sita is a goddess separated from her beloved Lord and husband Rama. Nina is an animator whose husband moves to India, then dumps her by email. Three hilarious shadow puppets narrate both ancient tragedy and modern comedy in this animated interpretation of the Indian epic Ramayana and including the 1920s jazz vocals of Annette Hanshaw. (2008, Director: Nina Paley, 82min)

11/7/2009 at 9:00pm | Tickets | Trailer
The Twenty
(USA) Drama

Carty Fox, a recovering alcoholic, finds a twenty-dollar bill with a mysterious message on it. His quest to discover its meaning takes him across the country into a Lynchian landscape of shame, rage, and pain that forces him to reflect on his own life and, perhaps, unlock the person he has imprisoned for all these years in his drunken state of mind. (2008, Director: Chopper Bernet, 92min)

11/7/2009 at 12:00pm | Tickets | Trailer
The Twenty
2009 Short Film Program

A collection of this year’s award-winning short films, including The Boundary, En El Apartmento, Socarrat, Growing Up Vegas, Prayers for Peace, Sebastian’s Voodoo, Crossing Borders, Squabble, and Veritas

6 Responses to “The Greater Reading Film Festival happens in PA this weekend, Nov. 5th to Nov. 8th”

  1. koutchboom November 6, 2009 at 11:41 am #

    Hey what movie is that picture from? Thats Bijou Philips right?

  2. koutchboom November 6, 2009 at 3:47 pm #

    Awwww you moderating monkey. No fun.

  3. filmkaravan November 6, 2009 at 4:42 pm #

    Bring Sita home with a DVD of

    Buy on Amazon:
    Rent on Netflix:

    Sita is a goddess separated from her beloved Lord and husband Rama. Nina is an animator whose husband moves to India, then dumps her by email. Three hilarious shadow puppets narrate both ancient tragedy and modern comedy in this beautifully animated interpretation of the Indian epic Ramayana. Set to the 1920’s jazz vocals of Annette Hanshaw, Sita Sings the Blues earns its tagline as “the Greatest Break-Up Story Ever Told.”

    Need another reason why? Check out Roger Eberts Review!


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