Film fest marks final stages of development
Actor-director Daniel Roebuck, a Bethlehem native, to emcee at Easton retail-residential project
work wraps up on Easton’s Simon Silk Mill, a new film festival that will be emceed by actor and Bethlehem native Daniel Roebuck is just getting started.
The “SILK Festival on the Bushkill,” featuring nine short films, food, drinks and live entertique tainment, will debut Sept. 21 at the mill.
Proceeds from the event will benefit the neighboring Karl Stirner Arts Trail, said Mark Mulligan, of VM Development, the developer behind the sprawling complex of 15 buildings at 13th Street and Bushkill Drive that has been transformed into high-end apartments and bouAs businesses.
The Silk Mill used to be the location of “Movies at the Mill,” but organizers of that festival held an event at the Sigal Museum in August.
Mulligan said he wanted to break out and host the SILK festival to specifically highlight businesses at the Silk Mill and to benefit the 2.5-mile arts trail, which the complex plans to connect to next year with a
Food and drinks will be provided by the Silk Mill businesses Tucker Cafe, Separatist Beer Project, Boser Geist Brewing Co., County Seat Spirits and the Easton Wine Project. Other Easton restaurants like Aman’s Artisan Indian Cuisine and Daddy’s Place will also provide refreshments, Mulligan said.
He expects about 600 people to attend the event.
Bill Hartin, one of the original organizers of Movies at the Mill and founder of “Fade In/Fade Out,” (FiFo) a filmmaker’s consortium in the Lehigh Valley, screened and selected the films for the SILK Festival.
The short films range from under two minutes to 20 minutes long. Three of them were curated by FiFo member Kayla O’Donnell who organizes The Women’s Film Festival in Philadelphia. Those films are: “Chrissy and Koen,” “Mindfulness,” and “The Runner.”
There will be an award for “best in festival,” but Hartin said the details are still being worked out.
The event will be emceed by Roebuck, whose credits include “The Fugitive,” “Lost,” “Matlock,” and “The Man in the High Castle.” He recently filmed the movie “Getting Grace” in the Lehigh Valley and is in preproduction on a follow-up film, “The Hail Mary.”
Hartin said the Silk Mill is the most unique location he’s ever seen for a film festival. Patrons watch movies outside on a screen painted onto one of the buildings.
The new festival coincides with the final stages of the Simon Silk Mill project, which is expected to be wrapped up by October, Mulligan said.
In a way, the festival is also a celebration of the long-awaited redevelopment, which started with a marketing study in 2010.
“I’m excited to do a new collaboration and bring the arts trail into the fold,” Mulligan said. “I really want to showcase what we do at the mill.”
When it is finished, the mill will include 160 apartment units and more than 30 businesses.
The newest businesses include: The Sound Parcel, a music shop; JJ Ventures Silk, a barbershop; Green Pond Group, a landscape architect; Renew Wellness, a counseling service; We are Dance Design Studio, which provides dance lessons; Terre Verte, Inc., a New York City-based art supplier, and Crave Nutrition.
There’s also space for two restaurants, one 1,500 square feet and the other 2,600 square feet. Mulligan is hoping to attract a deli/bodega to the larger space but has yet to settle on an occupant.
A 7,000-square-foot event space in Building G, will host the mill’s first wedding this October.
As for the apartments, Mulligan said there are only 10 units left to be completed in Building F on the Bushkill Creek side of the property. They will be loft-style apartments with two floors. Some will also include two full bathrooms. Rents will be an average of around $1,600 per month, he said.
Mulligan estimates he invested $60 million to $70 million into mill, which at its height employed more than 1,200 workers.
Mark Mulligan, of VM Development, stands in front of Building F and talks about how a redevelopment project is continuing Tuesday at the Simon Silk Mill in Easton.