Mountain Top director Chris Fetchko screens acclaimed film in Wilkes-Barre
WILKES-BARRE — Chris Fetchko didn’t always see himself in the film industry, but following his dreams brought him to write and direct a movie that has received awards at several national and international film festivals.
Now, the West Hazleton native has come home to celebrate the project.
The Mountain Top-based director introduces “All In Time” to the Wyoming Valley at 2 p.m. Oct. 16 at the F.M. Kirby Center. Live performances by Northeastern Pennsylvania roots rockers, The Badlees, and special guest Laura Shay will follow the screening.
The film received 12 awards on the 2015 film festival circuit, including a Best Director nod for Fetchko and co-director Marina Donahue at the Milan International Film Festival.
Shot almost entirely in NEPA, the dramatic comedy follows main character Charlie as he leaves a secure job in New York City to manage his favorite band in his home region of Pennsylvania. Conflict arises when Charlie must learn to balance band tensions and his relationship with his girlfriend.
Fetchko said the film is “autobiographical but fictionalized” with “lots of twists and turns.”
When Fetchko left NEPA to attend college in Syracuse, he had a passion for business and hoped to land in the entertainment industry.
“My dream was, literally, to be Bon Jovi’s accountant,” he said.
Friends who were filmmaking majors pulled him to the outskirts of the film world while he worked on his accounting degree, and a love affair with The Badlees and their hit single, “Fear Of Falling,” whet Fetchko’s appetite to delve into entertainment.
Fetchko quit his comfortable accounting job in 1998 and he and a friend, who was also displeased with his job, made the film “Everything’s Jake,” followed by a short stint in Los Angeles to promote the movie.
After completing his second film project, “Eavesdrop,” Fetcko returned to New York and took a job with Capitol Records, doing accounting for artists like Norah Jones.
It wasn’t long before the rock and roll bug bit him and Fetcko changed directions to manage The Badlees and other artists. This, Fetchko said, was “the seed” of his film.
The Badlees’ music acts as the catalogue for the film’s fictional band, The Damnsels, and two members of The Badlees, Ron Simasek and Pete Paladino, portray band members in the film.
“It’s ultimately a story about a guy going after his dreams and the choices you have to make in doing that,” Fetchko said.
The film premieres in New York and Los Angeles markets Oct. 7. Following the major market premiers, “All In Time” goes on a 20-city tour with stops featuring post-viewing concerts by The Badlees.
Filming locations included Wilkes University, the Wilkes-Barre River Common and PCN Bank, and Fetchko is proud to hold a screening event in the city.
“Because we shot the film locally, we used a lot of local people as extras; I wanted to do something cool in Wilkes-Barre and get everybody in one place at the same time to celebrate this movie,” he said.
The writer/director admits he’s too close to the film to objectively tell whether or not it’s a good movie, but critics have lauded it, and Fetchko is excited to share it.
“I can say that whether you like it or hate it, you won’t be able to predict how the movie ends,” he said. “And these two bands that are playing are solid, and if anybody comes and doesn’t feel they got their money’s worth, I’ll be in the lobby afterwards. Come find me, and we’ll find some way to make it right.”
Reach Matt Mattei at 570-991-6651 or Twitter@ TLArts
IF YOU GO …
What: NEPA premiere of “All In Time”
Where: F.M. Kirby Center, 71 Public Square, Wilkes-Barre
When: 2 p.m., Oct. 16
Additional information: Tickets cost $20 in advance and $25 the day of the show and are available at the Kirby Center box office, online at www.kirbycenter.org and by phone at 570-826-1100.