UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Two award-winning films directed and produced by a Penn State faculty member, Pearl Gluck, will screen at festivals in Oregon and New York City in the next week.
“The Turn Out,” a feature film about child endangerment and human trafficking, especially as they relate to the opioid crisis in the United States, will screen at 2 p.m. Oct. 27 at the Comcast NBCUniversal Portland Film Festival in Oregon.
Among its many accolades, “The Turn Out” won as Best Debut Feature at Toronto’s Female Eye Film Festival and earned the Critic’s Choice Award at the Iowa International Film Festival.
Although a fictional work, “The Turn Out” relied on the stories and support of survivors of human trafficking. In addition, Gluck, an assistant professor of film-video in the Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications, works with local activists when she travels to festivals.
“One of the main characters in the film is Crowbar, a long-distance trucker who discovers a teenager is being trafficked as his local truck stop in southern Appalachia,” said Gluck. “He then faces a decision — should he get involved in helping her?”
The second film, a short titled “Summer” that focuses on two Hasidic teenagers who struggle to remain committed to their faith, will screen Oct. 27 and 28 at the 30th annual NewFest LGBTQ Film Festival in New York City.
Gluck directed both films, working with professional actors while regularly engaging Penn State students in the production process.
“It’s a ‘pro-am’ approach,” Gluck said. “Students, working with industry professionals, are involved in getting the films completed, edited and distributed. My hope is that the hands-on experience as well as the networking will help them build their own careers.”
Gluck will attend the screenings and lead question-and-answer sessions after the films. She said she is committed to providing opportunities for students. Her next film, a short titled “Castles in the Sky," was shot with students on set in New York City this summer.