NEPA Scene Staff

Mahoning Drive-In documentary ‘At the Drive-In’ gets TV premiere on WVIA Aug. 2-11

Mahoning Drive-In documentary ‘At the Drive-In’ gets TV premiere on WVIA Aug. 2-11
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From a press release:

As it continues to make its rounds on the film festival circuit, the award-winning independent documentary “At the Drive-In,” which tells the story of the Mahoning Drive-In Theater in Lehighton and their struggle to stay open in the modern world, will make its broadcast premiere on WVIA-TV this Thursday, Aug. 2 at 7:30 p.m.

The Mahoning Drive-In, located in Lehighton, Pennsylvania since 1949, is one of the few remaining drive-ins in the country. “At the Drive-In” chronicles a pivotal year in their history as they move forward with screening 35mm film only. When Hollywood switched completely to digital projection for movie releases in 2014, many drive-ins were forced to close because they were unable to purchase a $50,000 digital projector. The Mahoning Drive-In has remained open without one and looks to separate itself in a world of sterile digital projection with a group of people who do it all for the love of film, working entirely for free. Will they survive the digital era?

WVIA will rerun the film on Sunday, Aug. 5 at 2 p.m. and Saturday, Aug. 11 at 9 p.m. The version of “At the Drive-In” that will be shown will be commercial-free but “edited for TV,” with all strong language and a few brief shots edited out. The online and DVD releases, which are expected to be announced soon, will feature the original version.

“At the Drive-In” director Alexander Monelli, a Clarks Summit native and Abington Heights High School graduate currently living in Lancaster, screened the film at the Northeast Pennsylvania Film Festival at the Waverly Community House last year and at the Mahoning Drive-In last May. Receiving positive reviews throughout its film festival run, “At the Drive-In” won the Best Local Feature award at the 26th Philadelphia Film Festival in 2017.

“I’ve always loved WVIA’s commitment to documentaries and the arts over the years and am very excited to have this film broadcasted by a place I respect,” Monelli said.

WVIA Public Media, the PBS and NPR affiliate for Northeastern Pennsylvania, is a catalyst, convener, and educator, using media, partnerships, powerful ideas, and programs to improve lives and advance the best attributes of an enlightened society.

Listen to Monelli talk about “At the Drive-In” on WVIA’s “ArtScene” with Erika Funke below: