It’s almost time for Old Forge’s big moment in the spotlight.
A couple of weeks ago, about 20 borough residents sat for WVIA’s cameras as the public television station continued its work on the Old Forge version of its popular “Our Town” documentary series.
The station is now editing interviews conducted for the program, which is scheduled to premiere March 8 at 8 p.m.
The film shoot, which took place St. Lawrence O’Toole Church, lasted all day, from 8 a.m. until well after 6 p.m., said Sal Luzio Sr., co-chairman of the Old Forge Historical Society, which is assisting “Our Town” producer Lisa Mazzarella.
The “Our Town” documentaries are told via firsthand recollections from residents. Those involved in the Old Forge project were asked to sit for 10- to 15-minute filming sessions.
Like all the other films in the “Our Town” series, the Old Forge version will spotlight the town’s coal mining past, prominent ethnic cultures, churches, businesses, schools, athletics, famous denizens and, of course, Old Forge-style pizza.
“It went really well,” Luzio said of the film shoot. “They covered everything. We were able to get enough people to come forward to talk about the history of the town, as well as sports, education, professional athletes from Old Forge, and other famous people who graduated from Old Forge. We tried to cover all the churches. We tried to cover as much of the history as possible.”
In addition to the film shoot, additional video footage was shot on other occasions by historical society members. Luzio said the WVIA crew probably has more than 20 hours of film footage to work with. He said it’ll be interesting to see how they edit all that down to a tight 60- to 90-minute film.
“There’s probably enough to do another hour. … We gave them the pieces for the jigsaw puzzle, now they have to put together the puzzle,” he said. “What I saw were all quality interviews. Lisa and the camera crew were very gracious. She would let some people go over the time limit if they needed to.”
A lot of interview subjects brought along photographs and other mementos that will serve as visual elements in the film. Luzio said a number of the historical society’s artifacts will be featured.
While the project has proceeded quite well, Luzio said there were a few more townspeople he would have liked to have seen participate in the project.
Still, he thinks the borough will have much to feel proud of when “Our Town: Old Forge” airs. A number of residents will be in the WVIA studios the night of the documentary’s premiere, and there’s no doubt it will be a celebratory atmosphere, Luzio said.
“Lisa Mazzarella thinks it’s going to be a very fine production,” he said. “I thought it was a really good experience. And I have to give a lot of credit to the members of the historical society. They all pitched in on this.
“This will be something to preserve for future generations of Old Forge residents.”
For more information on “Our Town: Old Forge,” visit the Old Forge Historical Society’s Facebook page, or wvia.org/television/documentaries/our-town-series.