TUNKHANNOCK — Those interested in Northeastern Pennsylvania anthracite mining history have an opportunity at 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 23 at the Dietrich Theater to view clips from an upcoming documentary, “Knox Mine Disaster.”
The film examines a coal mining tragedy, which occurred in 1959 in the anthracite region of NEPA, as well as the subsequent investigations into the cause. The feature length documentary is currently in post-production and tax-deductible donations are sought to help get the film completed and into theaters this year.
Filmmaker David Brocca will present clips from the documentary, including some recently restored 16mm film footage that has not been seen in more than 57 years. This presentation will include approximately 20 minutes of footage from the film followed by a question and answer session with the filmmaker.
The film is fiscally sponsored through the International Documentary Association, a non-profit organization whose mission is dedicated to the betterment of movie documentary culture.
Brocca, producer and director of “Knox Mine Disaster,” grew up in West Pittston, just a few miles away from the Knox Mine Disaster site. After attending Pennsylvania State University’s film program, he moved to Los Angeles and began shooting and editing red-carpet premieres for IFILM.com. He later became a producer for MTV Networks and through the past decade has produced over 350 video segments for companies such as Spike, Comedy Central, MTV, IFC, and Mel Gibson’s Icon. He has also produced music videos, commercials, and award-winning short films, including Independence winner of the Special Distinction Award at the 2007 Independent Spirit Awards.
Knox Mine Disaster is Brocca’s first feature-length documentary as an independent director and producer.
Brocca became involved in the project through an encounter with the “Knox Mine Disaster” author Bob Wolensky at a family funeral. Brocca’s uncle, Bill Best, introduced the two and Wolensky suggested to David that as a filmmaker from this area he might want to do a film about its vast coal mining history. Once David read Wolensky’s book on the disaster he became fascinated with the story and asked Bob to share his interview list and filming began on the documentary.
Brocca, along with his producing partner Albert Brocca, met Jack Scanella, a news cameraman who covered the disaster back in 1959. Through Jack Scanella, the Brocca’s were able to locate the original 16mm film reels and had them restored and digitized at the University of Southern California by film preservationist Dino Everett. Some of the footage restored has not been seen in over 55 years and will be a major component in the documentary film.
The presentation at the Dietrich will be followed by a reception with light refreshments. Susquehanna Brewing Company is sponsoring the event by donating its special beers.
For tickets or more information, call the Dietrich Theater at 570-996-1500.