top of page





Keegan-Michael Key to Receive Inaugural

Chandler Living Legacy Award

Madeline Anderson to Receive the Lifetime Achievement Award.

Madeline Anderson

The Lifetime Achievement Award will be presented to pioneering filmmaker (A Tribute to Malcolm X, Integration Report 1) and PBS in-house producer of Sesame Street and The Electric Company (“The Easy Reader” starring Morgan Freeman), Pennsylvania native, Madeline Anderson.

October 22, 2021 – LOS ANGELES, CA – The Centre Film Festival has announced their official 2021 festival lineup taking place November 1-7, 2021, at historic theatres in Central PA. Attendees will be able to participate both in-person and at virtual screenings and events, including a star-studded awards ceremony.

The third annual in-person film festival will kick-off with its red-carpet ribbon-cutting ceremony live at the State Theatre on Monday, November 1, followed by two days of in-person screenings and panels before moving to the Mishler Theatre in Altoona, PA for one night. The festival will continue at the Rowland Theatre with a weekend of films and visiting filmmakers taking place Friday, November 5 through Sunday, November 7, 2021.

Vince Gilligan, Patrick Fabian, Rhea Seehorn, Bob Odenkirk, Peter Gould, Michael Mando, Toni Dalston and Javier Graieda of "Better Call Saul".

Penn State alum, Patrick Fabian(“Better Call Saul” and Apple TV+ “Morning Show”) returns in person to his mother’s hometown, Philipsburg, for the premiere of Driver X at the Rowland Theatre, where his mom was an usher when she was a teen. It will be their first time back in the theatre since she was a kid.

In Driver X, Fabian plays a stay-at-home dad who goes on a voyage driving for a rideshare app through LA’s late-night Tinder-fueled party scene.

Joshua Leonard

Additionally, there will be in-person post-screening Q&A by State College native, Joshua Leonard, (who can forget his performance in "The Blair Witch Project') following the screening of his directorial feature debut, Fully Realized Humans. The film was SXSW favorite at this year’s festival and co-stars Jess Weixler. The film tells the story of a pregnant couple on the precipice of parenthood. This will take place at the Rowland Theater on November 5, 2021.

Drunk Bus, another festival indie darling, is premiering in Central PA virtually and was produced by PSU alum, Ian Tarbert. The film, starring Charlie Tahan, follows a directionless campus bus driver and a punk-rock security guard as they form an unlikely kinship navigating the unpredictable late shift shit-show known as the "drunk bus."

Penn State alum and State College local, cinematographer Michael Craven, appears as a special guest with DJ Harder to offer festival-goers a first-person account of their cinematography in Netflix’s hit series The Chair.

Additionally, Death and Bowling, a trans drama by Kyle Lash, which recently won an Outfest LA Narrative Feature Audience Award will screen on Wednesday, November 3, at the State Theatre. Made by a predominantly trans cast and crew, DEATH AND BOWLING is the directional debut of trans filmmaker Lyle Kash and was executive produced by Rhys Ernst (Adam and Transparent).

Along with some US and PA premieres, the festival will showcase a total of more than 80 films across a wide range of genres, some include Sundance, Telluride, and SXSW Festival award winners.

Emmy-award winner, Belly of the Beast, screens online with a live stream Q&A during the week. Sony release, Julia, will be screening at the festival simultaneous to its theatrical premiere nationwide.

Pennsylvania premieres include US and international films such as Geena Davis ‘Bentonville FF winners Kili Big and Americanized, We Burn Like This (fresh from Deauville FF and Heartland FF), Lady Buds (fresh from Hot Docs), and My So-Called Selfish Life (fresh from Woodstock FF). The Forbidden Strings, a film set in Iran about Afghani rock-and-rollers also premieres, along with Sisters Rising about six Native American women fighting to restore personal and tribal sovereignty.

Films at the festival range from comedy, sports, horror, drama, kid flicks, and documentary, and address pride on-screen, indigenous people’s heritage, re-entry after incarceration, police reform, reproductive rights, and immigration.

More than a dozen renowned filmmakers and industry veterans will be in attendance from the US and around the world.

The prestigious festival awards are chosen by a panel of renowned film industry professionals, including Flavio Alves, Skye Borgman, Nancy Cohen, Niav Conty, Tim Gordon, Mandy Looney, Mike Madigan, Kevin Mambo, Tim Naylor, Peter Nickowitz, Traven Rice, Lili Jo Rosen, Eric Seals, Ya’Ke Smith, Louis Spiegler, Wilna Julmiste Taylor, April Wright, and Matt Zettell. In the spirit of the festival, emerging high school and college filmmakers join the jury to give their feedback on films in competition.

The festival was co-founded in 2019 by Penn State’s Bellisario College of Communications Professors: award-winning filmmaker, Global Fulbright Scholar, Pearl Gluck, and multimedia journalist, Curt Chandler. The 2021 festival has been a collaboration of Pearl Gluck and Penn State alumni and industry professionals, including Cassie Ross Green (Miramax alum), Ellyn Exley Dvorkin (New Line Cinema alum, Mr. and Mrs. Smith), and Kelly Corrine Berthold (CAA alum).

“I came to Central Pennsylvania to teach filmmaking,” said festival director, Pearl Gluck, “And I ended up discovering a cinematic gem, a movie palace, the Rowland, uninterruptedly showing films for a century.” Gluck’s work has screened at Sundance, Outfest, PBS, and theatrically which inspired her to bring that experience to the region.

“To me,” she continued, “movie theatres are neutral spaces to engage in conversation and spin the yarn, and the theatre is the perfect place to kick off a festival and celebrate local storytelling. What we unearthed here was not only a history of local movie lovers, but one of many movie makers rooted in Central PA, namely Donald P. Bellisario, Patrick Fabian, and Joshua Leonard, just to name a few. Not to mention people like Keegan-Michael Key who studied here at Penn State. And we’re only in our third year… I am excited to shed a light on other artists as we continue to grow.”

I had the wonderful privilege of speaking with Pearl Gluck about her inspired work and the unique festival she has established for the PA community and filmmakers and storytellers everywhere.

What do you want people to know about this year's Centre Film Festival?

Pearl Gluck

That's a hard question. I am so proud of all the wonderful films that were sent to the festival and the choices that our Judging Panel has selected. For instance 'Since I Been Down' , a documentary by Gilda Sheppard. Angela Davis said of this film" "I hope that all of you see the amazing film SINCE I BEEN DOWN. If you are not convinced of the liberatory potential of education, I guarantee you will be transformed after seeing this film!” - Angela Davis

This documentary is what's great about filmmaking. It's about a man, Kimonti Carter, a former president and current member of an over 40-year Washington State prisoner-initiated program, the Black Prisoner's Caucus. At 34 Kimonti founder TEACH, a remarkably innovative prisoner education program. Kimonti and a group of his peers maneuver through a non-negotiable pathway to joining gangs as early as 11-years-old. The film unravels intimate stories of people who have lived these conditions and unravels intimate stories. The film shows how these children, now adults have broken free from their fate by creating a model of justice that is transforming their lives, our humanity, and a better quality of life for all children. People want to connect, and film helps us talk about things.

Our festival is a 'Hybrid', meaning we will be having live and virtual events. There will be a live Q and A via Skype with Kimonti Carter!

What is the mission of The Centre Film Festival?

Pearl Gluck

The idea was to use 'neutral faces in historical spaces'. We have some marvelous theaters here like the Rowland, they are beautiful and are an important part of the history of the film experience. We were intent on having a multi-generational platform with films from high school students, college students, as well as accomplished filmmakers.

What does the programming of the festival include?

Pearl Gluck

Our festival is International. It is a Global Festival with participants and films from all cultures from all over the world.

The inaugural Chandler Living Legacy Award will be presented to Emmy® and Peabody Award-winning actor, writer, producer, and Penn State alumni Keegan-Michael Key.

Keegan Michael Key

Elegance Bratton, film director and 2020 virtual Centre Film Festival award-winner for Pier Kids, said, “So dope! Thank you for lifting filmmaking up.”

Tickets to screenings and events are available to the public for purchase at


The Centre Film Festival is a grass-roots organization founded to bring multigenerational stories to the screen and to create a platform for storytelling and dialogue. With the historic Rowland Theatre as a century-old touchstone, the festival brings filmmakers and films to the community that spark conversation. At the same time, to inspire new work, the Centre Festival aims to create workshop and masterclass opportunities at public events that will enable students (from junior high to undergrads) to engage with artists in the field and help them develop their own artistic visions. Central Pennsylvania is rich with screen-worthy stories and the festival is focused on highlighting filmmakers who tell them.

Co-founded by award-winning filmmaker and Penn State professor of screenwriting and directing, Pearl Gluck, and Penn State’s Bellisario College of Communications professor, Curt Chandler, the festival is in its 3rd year and is dedicated to bringing the finest in features and documentaries to Happy Valley and its surrounding communities, with a percentage of all festival proceeds benefitting cancer patient support:



The Happy Valley Adventure Bureau (HVAB) is the official destination marketing organization for Centre County, Pennsylvania. The HVAB’s mission is to foster tourism economic development by promoting Happy Valley as an ideal four-season leisure, sports, and business destination.

In addition to local businesses and organizations, additional sponsors for this year’s festival include Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications, the Hyatt in State College, the Bill Jaffe Leadership Initiative, and Penn State Student Affairs.

Festival tickets and screening information are available online at:

20 views0 comments


bottom of page