Thursday, September 21, 2017
Coaldale’s Angela Triplex Theatre will screen a documentary about the Anthracite region’s most infamous town this Sunday.
“Centralia: Pennsylvania’s Lost Town” tells the story of the underground mine fire that forced more than 2,000 people to abandon their homes in the 1980s and ’90s.
The documentary has been shown in our area before, but not at a theater that overlooks an active Anthracite mine.
“Being a coal mining town, people understand what they’re going through. You feel bad for them,” the Angela’s Mike Danchak Jr. said.
More than 1,500 people are “interested” in the event, according to Facebook.
The movie was produced by Philadelphia-area filmmaker Joe Sapienza II, who was inspired after reading a book about the town by Pennsylvania author David DeKok.
“I became fascinated with the whole story,” he said. “Mainly the residents and what they were going through, through the ’80s with eminent domain, and into the ’90s.”
Sapienza originally set out to make a short film and ended up with lots of extra footage. At the outset, he said, he was concerned about how he would make a documentary about a town that no longer exists. But the displaced residents’ stories became his focus.
“There are generations of families that lived there. To be told by the government, ‘you have 30 days, board up your home and go,’ it was very traumatizing for them,” he said.
While the documentary is available for purchase, Sapienza says there’s something special about watching it in a theater as opposed to at home.
“It looks absolutely beautiful on the big screen. It’s awesome to see,” he said.
The screening also benefits a veterans’ group once based in Centralia. A portion of the sales will go to the Centralia Legion Post 608 in Wilburton.
The screening is scheduled for Sunday at 6 p.m. Tickets are $8. If the main theater sells out, Danchak said he will open the Angela’s two smaller screens, and possibly consider a future screening date.
He said he also hopes to do more documentary screenings in the future.