PHILIPSBURG – Philipsburg’s historic Rowland Theatre will be the venue for a special showing of a brand-new fiction feature film, “The Turn Out,” by Pearl Gluck, professor of film at Penn State University, who teaches screenwriting and directing there.
Scheduled for 7 p.m. Saturday, April 28, the 90-minute feature is concerned with the ever-increasing problems of human trafficking and child endangerment, as they relate to the current opioid crisis.
“One of the main characters in the film,” says Gluck, “is Crowbar, a long-distance trucker who discovers that a teenager is being trafficked at his local truck stop in Southern Appalachia. He then faces a decision—should he get involved in helping her?”
Filmed in the area of Athens County and Columbus, Ohio, “The Turn Out” is based on research that Gluck conducted while teaching at Ohio University’s School of Film in Athens. Gluck interviewed survivors of trafficking, as well as truckers and legislators and incorporated their voices into the narrative.
An appalling number of calls to the National Human Trafficking Hotline come from minors who are especially vulnerable to exploitation. Truckers Against Trafficking is another group resolved to fight this problem.
“The Turn Out” recently had its premiere at the Athens International Film Festival, and comes to the Rowland directly from that much-respected event.
It was cast for the most part with survivors of the trauma of human trafficking, and with a long-time truck driver, James Gagne Jr., who turned out to be perfect for the role of Crowbar.
“For the Philipsburg showing, we hope to have a number of the cast members in attendance,” says Gluck. “They will be joining the audience at a reception after the film, and will participate in a question-and-answer session at that time.
“Also attending will be the composer of the original film score, Chris Rattie, who with composer and vocalist Nattylou Race authored the film’s award-winning song, ‘Heaven Spelled Backwards.’”
Rattie and Race will be performing the song live before the screening. The song’s title is a reference to the film’s chief protagonist, Neveah (Heaven spelled backwards), a teenage victim of sex trafficking, played by Regina Westerviller.”
“We’re so grateful to Ms. Gluck and her production team for offering to show this important film at the Rowland,” says theatre manager Kevin Conklin.
“Hopefully this will be the beginning of a very special collaboration between the Rowland and the film department at Penn State, which is known far and wide for its excellent work.”
“All proceeds from this screening will go to the Rowland Theatre,” says Gluck. “Since I came to Penn State three years ago and had a chance to explore Philipsburg, I have been totally impressed with the town’s devotion to maintaining its fantastic theater, which was built in 1917 and dates back to the era of vaudeville and live shows and the great silent films.
“Against all odds and with a huge amount of community support, this grand movie palace is still available for experiencing films as they’re meant to be experienced.”
Tickets for “The Turn Out,” at $10 each, are available online at rowlandtheatre.com or by cash or check at the door.