Thursday, August 22, 2013

Movies at the Mill Film Fest Growing--But It Won't Be at the Mill This Year

By Christina Georgiou

Film maker Gershon Hinkson, who organizes the annual
Movies at the Mill film festival, left, talks about changes
at this year's event at a press conference
Wednesday afternoon, while, right, Mayor Sal
Panto looks on. The event will take place this year at
Hugh Moore Park due to ongoing construction at
the former Simon Silk Mill site.
Easton's independent film festival, Movies at the Mill, won't be held at the silk mill the event is named for this year, it was announced Wednesday afternoon. Instead, it will happen at Hugh Moore Park on Saturday, Sept. 21 from 6 to 10 p.m.

Construction at the former Simon Silk Mill makes the site unsafe for the public to wander around, said Mayor Sal Panto.

But, once work on the site's infrastructure and main boulevard is complete, the annual film festival, now in its fifth year, will return to the mill site, he promised.

"It's a temporary move until the mill is completed," Panto said, adding the festival will return to the silk mill site either in 2014 or 2015, depending on how fast federal grant money that is set to pay for the bulk of construction comes through. "The new location in my mind is a great location for Movies at the Mill V."

Gershon Hinkson, who organizes the annual popular festival, said the event is growing, and announced that Morgan Spurlock, best known for the documentary "Supersize Me", who he recently worked with on a 3D film about the band One Direction, will be attending this year's festival and leading a filmaking workshop in Easton preceding it.

"He'll be here talking about how he got 'Supersize Me' made," Hinkson said.

The free workshop is set to be held from 1 to 3 p.m. at city hall in the council chambers on Saturday, Sept. 21, the same day as Movies at the Mill V.

"He'll also expand on making the leap from indie filmaking to studio filmaking," Hinkson added.

The workshop is a start towards the larger plans Hinkson has for the festival in coming years.

"It's my belief that in the Lehigh Valley, film is a new language," he said. "As a result, we've been outmatched by places that have been in the film world for some time. Europe, California, places like that."

Hinkson hopes to expand the festival to a weeklong event within the decade and use other local attractions to entice more visitors to the city, he said.

"We're going to put our heads together and come up with something that will make this a destination festival," Hinkson said.

But even at its current size--it drew about 1,500 to last year's event, despite a rainy night--the festival is impressive.

Hinkson plans to show about seven films this year over the course of about an hour and a half during the middle of the event. The venue at Hugh Moore Park, to take place in "the meadows", will not only offer a good place for projecting the films, but also places for people to mingle and socialize without disturbing viewers, he noted.

"Yeah, it's aobut the films, but it's also about the audience," he said.

Which films will be shown haven't yet been finalized, but many of the submissions have been "really, really awesome," Hinkson said, adding that more have come from the local region than in past years.

"They've gone up a notch," he said. "But all the decisions haven't been made since the submissions are still open."

While finding volunteers for the event has never been a problem, this year organizers have added an incentive for people to help out, Hinkson said. The film festival, hoping to both capitalize on the experience volunteers can bring to their event and also give back to the community is offering $500 to each local non-profit agency that provides volunteers supervised by a group leader.

"We felt we could improve on our group situation," he said, adding that group leaders and also volunteers will have the benefit of a quick orientation to help make their experience run smoothly.

Tickets for Movies at the Mill V are $10 in advance and $15 at the door. Food and refreshments will be available as well, and credit and debit cards will be accepted as well as cash, sponsor Merchants Bank says.

Advance tickets will be sold at several Merchants Bank locations, including those in Easton, Forks, Nazareth, Martin's Creek, and the new Bethlehem branch office. Other businesses in the city will sell tickets too, with the full list soon to be posted on the Movies at the Mill website.

The full lineup of films that will be shown will be posted there shortly after the final date for submission passes too, Hinkson said.

"Your socks are going to be knocked off," Hinkson said.

For more information and updates about Movies at the Mill V, visit To volunteer for the event or get your community organization involved, email

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