PHILIPSBURG — The Rowland Theatre in downtown Philipsburg has been the host of many special events in its long and storied history. Another prestigious event was added to the list on Thursday with the world premiere of the movie, “Generational Sins.”
The event was black tie, red carpet affair — the first theatrical premiere of its kind to take place at the Rowland since “The Cross and the Switchblade” debuted at the theatre in the early 1970s.
The producer and director of the film is Clearfield County native and West Branch high school alum Spencer T. Folmar. The movie is the third feature film Folmar has produced, but first since his graduation from the New York Film Academy and move to Hollywood, California.
After months of planning, Folmar said he was incredibly pleased with how the premiere went on Thursday.
“It was such a rush,” Folmar said. “It was so perfect.”
The movie’s lead stars, Daniel MacPherson, Dax Spanogle, Barrett Donner, and many members of the movie’s cast and crew were in attendance for the premiere.
Folmar chose the Rowland Theatre for the premiere of the movie because it is the place he fell in love with cinema. He also wanted local residents to be among the first to see the movie since 80 percent of it was filmed in Clearfield County. Folmar said seeing friends and family come together and the theatre packed was the best part of the night.
“When I got on stage and saw all the friendly faces, I was overwhelmed,” Folmar remarked. “(Local residents) go over and above in showing support. It is such a gift.”
“Generational Sins” is a 90-minute feature film about two estranged brothers who return to home to reconcile with their father. Folmar is a pioneer of sorts in a genre he calls “hard faith” movies. While the overarching theme of the film is one of reconciliation and love, Folmar and executive producer Thurman Mason do not hide the reality of darkness that exists in the world today. Folmar described the movie using the words “gritty” and “redemptive” but hopes the audience leaves with a sense of hope. He believes the guests at the premiere felt just that by the emotional and visceral responses he received.
“It goes places we as humans are uncomfortable with,” Folmar noted. “But it is worth it. It hits a chord with people.”
Many local residents and those involved with the theatre expressed their awe at the spectacle of the event and echoed pride in seeing the community come together to support one of their own.
Rowland Theatre Manager Kevin Conklin said he was happy to see the theatre come to life on Thursday.
“It’s a great event,” Conklin noted. “It is something Philipsburg should be proud of.”
Rowland Theatre board member and one of the events organizers, Rebecca Inlow, said it was such a joy to work with Folmar throughout the process and was thankful he chose to hold this milestone event at his home theatre.
“We have got such a treasure in Philipsburg (in the Rowland),” Inlow said. “It’s always a delight when you have newcomers. I hope everyone sees what a treasure this is and comes back to visit us.”
State Representative Scott Conklin (D-77th District) was in attendance for the premiere and expressed his pride in Folmar and the area residents.
“When you have the opportunity to show to the world the talent of a local young man and what he’s done, it makes you happy and proud to be part of this community,” Conklin remarked. “Anyone can work hard, whether it’s sports or in the theater, they can really succeed and make a difference.”
Folmar will be traveling around Pennsylvania this weekend for showings of the film in Lock Haven, Zelienople and Pittsburgh. There will also be showings of the movie around the country in Los Angeles, New York, Orlando and more.
“Generational Sins” will be the feature film at the Rowland Theatre, showcasing nightly at 7 p.m. through Thursday. The movie can also be purchased on iTunes, Amazon and Google.