PHILIPSBURG — The red carpet will be rolled out on Front Street in Philipsburg tonight in front of the historic Rowland Theatre, as the world premiere of “Shooting Heroin” will be held for the first time at 7 p.m.
Local native Spencer T. Folmar wrote, directed and produced the movie — the fourth feature film he has both directed and written, and the seventh movie he’s produced.
Folmar — who now lives in Hollywood and is a member of the Producers Guild and Directors Guild of America — told The Progress he’s worked on the movie for the past two years.
“It was inspired by visiting home and witnessing the increasing affect and devastation of this epidemic on my hometown,” Folmar said. “I felt a responsibility to tell this story from home and all the rage, frustrations and lamentations that friends and family from back home were feeling and share it with the world.”
Folmar said he was very fortunate to have a wonderful cast and crew involved in the making of the film. Actors include Alan Powell (Quantico), Sherilyn Fenn (Twin Peaks), Garry Pastore (The Deuce), Oscar-nominated actress Cathy Moriarty, Lawrence-Hilton Jacobs (Welcome Back Kotter), Jordan Fitzsimmons (The Kid: More to Come), Dax Spanogle (Generational Sins), Daniella Mason (Pop Singer in Nashville) and many more.
“It’s really an amazing and talented cast and crew,” Folmar said. “The main objective of this movie is to bring light to this dark situation and to increase the awareness of the opioid epidemic nationwide. When I lived outside of the state for over a decade I didn’t realize how bad this situation had become and I think the whole country should be talking about this issue more. It is my intention that my film will bring hope to those in the midst of their addiction and honor the victims and devastated families from this epidemic.”
Previous movies that Folmar has made have been filmed in the area, but have also shot other scenes elsewhere. For Shooting Heroin, it is shot entirely in Clearfield and Centre counties. Folmar said local sites you’ll see in the film include the following: West Branch Area High School (where Folmar attended), Penn Highlands Clearfield, downtown Philipsburg, Legends Bar, St. Charles Cafe, The Toasted Monkey, JC’s Bar & Grill, Grattan’s Pharmacy, Peale Tunnel, Grassflat area, Old Town Road Dairy, Winburne Presbyterian Church, Lanse area, the Kylertown District Magistrate, St. John’s Evangelical Church in Lanse and a few other spots around the area on country roads.
“These are the spots I grew up attending and exploring growing up in this area,” Folmar said of the list.
Folmar said he enjoyed the whole process of making the movie that, of course, had its trials and tribulations.
“It is ridiculously difficult making a movie and it seems like Murphy’s Law is always present — especially on a film set,” Folmar said.
Folmar said one of the big challenges — which he said you can see in the film’s trailer — was burning down a house that they built from scratch.
“We had to light it on fire while the weather was raining, snowing and sleeting,” Folmar said. “Then Peale Tunnel was a tremendous logistical difficulty figuring out how to get 10-ton trucks, RVs and production trailers and about 100 in our total cast and crew. What a day that was!”
Regardless, Folmar said it was great to film where he grew up and he appreciates “all the tremendous community support and extras who participated,” as it also means a lot to him to have his movie premier once again at the Rowland Theatre.
“I really do love the Rowland Theatre,” Folmar said. “It is one of my very favorite cinema palaces in the whole world. I have premiered everyone of my movies here and it really means a lot to me personally. It is so well preserved and attended to, so it is a real joy and an honor to have this important movie premiere at the Rowland.”
If you’d like to see the movie, Folmar said they will be “platforming” for its distribution strategy at area theaters.
“(Platforming) is like a band touring,” Folmar said. “One night at a time and if you miss that night it is at your local cinema, then you find where it is screening next.”
After the Rowland tonight, another red carpet event will take place at the Guthrie Theatre in Grove City on Oct. 25 — as Folmar is a Grove City College graduate.
The film then comes back to the area at the Ritz Theater in Clearfield on Oct. 27 at 2 p.m., the State Theatre in State College on Nov. 1 and the Mishler Theater in Altoona on Nov. 8, with Folmar saying “more (dates and places) are being added daily.
“We plan on screening at over 30 screens before the new year and then we will do a wide release in theaters, followed by TV and Video on Demand and then finally home video,” Folmar said. “(It’s a) long release schedule.”
Folmar said his next film is already in development and will be set in Germany. However, he said he will always be grateful to those in the area that have helped him along the way.
“I sincerely and honestly want to thank all the folks of central Pennsylvania that have supported me throughout these years,” Folmar said. “I am 30 years old as of this week and I am incredibly thankful and indebted to this community. I currently do not have any of my future films planned for this area, but it has been a very rewarding experience filming in this area and I couldn’t be more excited for our big premiere at the Rowland.”