The sixth annual ReadingFilmFEST will be held Thursday through next Sunday as a hybrid event taking place outdoors at FirstEnergy Stadium and online at

The outdoor portion of the festival will feature more than 25 films that will be shown on the Jumbotron at the stadium from Friday through Sunday. Spectators are invited to take along blankets and lawn chairs and enjoy films from the stadium outfield. Refreshments will be available for purchase. 

Passholders will also be able to view those films plus others — nearly 50 in all — online throughout the weekend, starting Thursday. Panel discussions and question-and-answer sessions will available both live and online.

Stadium events start with an Opening Night Welcome Party on Friday at 5:30, followed by screenings of Female Filmmaker Shorts at 7 and “Ten Minutes to Midnight” at 9.

Saturday’s schedule begins with “Day One” at 11 a.m., followed by “Wisper” at 1, “Life in Synchro” at 3, Saturday Shorts at 4:30, “Soundtrack to Sixteen” at 6:30 and “Erotic Fire of the Unattainable” at 8:30. 

On Sunday, “Mr. Emancipation” kicks things off at 10:30 a.m., followed by “Elder Voices: Stories for These Times” at noon, “Let Them Eat Dirt: The Hunt for Our Kids’ Missing Microbes” at 1:30 and “Janka” at 3.

The outdoor schedule may change in the event of inclement weather or changes in state live-event guidelines. 

Cammie Harris, festival executive director, said there will be several returning filmmakers from the region and beyond, including Erik Bloomquist, director of “Ten Minutes to Midnight,” a horror film about a late-night radio host who is trapped inside the station by a violent storm after being bitten by a rabid bat.

Bloomquist was Top 200 Director on HBO’s “Project Greenlight” and lead actor on the 2016 TV series “The Cobblestone Corridor.” He’ll be joined by Carolyn Williams, lead actress in “Ten Minutes to Midnight,” who is best known for her role as Stretch in the series “Texas Chainsaw Massacre.”

In addition to the films being shown at the stadium, the online event will include the following:

  • Additional documentary and international short films.
  • An international StudentFEST.
  • A filmmaker Q&A following each film.
  • A filmmaker panel discussion: “Harnessing the Power of Film in Addressing Race and Gender Inequality,” in which filmmakers whose work has educated, enlightened and given a voice to issues of gender and racial differences will discuss ways in which films can bring awareness to viewers on the experiences of others, bridging social, racial and political divides.
  • An awards ceremony that will stream live next Sunday at 5:30 p.m.

Festival films are separated into the categories of StudentFilmFEST, Narrative Features, Documentaries, Women in Film — Shorts, International Shorts, Minorities in Film, Iranian Shorts and Made in Reading, which includes the 2020 feature film “Dust Nuggets.”  

Tickets cost $10 for a single film or short blocks (online or live), $75 for an all-access pass (online or live) or $35 for a Saturday Pass (live event only). For more details, film synopses and to buy tickets and passes, visit


The creative period for Nolde Forest’s annual countywide student art contest begins today and will extend into spring, according to directors of the environmental education center in Cumru Township and Art Plus Gallery in West Reading.

Berks County students from first grade through high school are invited to capture the nature of Nolde Forest in their artwork. The event is open to all Berks County public, private, parochial and charter schools, and to homeschool cooperatives with any number of students residing in Berks County.

Registration and submissions for the seventh annual “Nature of Nolde” Student Art Contest will remain open into April, with the exhibit tentatively planned for May, according to Russell Slocum, co-director of Art Plus Gallery, which is coordinating the event.

“We found that many teachers who wanted to participate couldn’t do it in the usual fall timetable,” Slocum said. “The extended schedule gives teachers and students the option to start now or plan it for next spring.”

“We’re seeing more visitors to the forest than ever,” added Brent Erb, Nolde’s managing director. “While we can’t yet provide details on how the exhibit will be staged next year, we want to let everyone know that the show will definitely go on, at least online and hopefully in the Nolde Mansion as well.”

By registering their school in the event, teachers can pick finalists for the exhibit and judging. The contest will also be open for independent entries by students whether or not their school is registered.

Since 2015, the contest has been co-sponsored by Nolde Forest Environmental Education Center, the Friends of Nolde Forest and Art Plus Gallery.

School registration and event updates can be found at