“The Song of Bethlehem” Headlines ‘Bethlehem Block’ at the 15th Annual SouthSide Film Festival


Bethlehem, Pa – ‘The Song of Bethlehem,’ a 30-minute documentary by LA-based filmmaker and recording artist Ken Goldstein, is hitting the big screen at this year’s SouthSide Film Festival as part of a special block of films with a Bethlehem focus.

Last summer Goldstein, the frontman for the touring band The LA Hustle, performed with the band at the opening night of Musikfest and was inspired to revisit a song he wrote thirty years ago as a student at Syracuse University after seeing the gutted Bethlehem Steel mill in Lackawanna, N.Y.   The result is “The Song of Bethlehem,” a song of triumph over tragedy and the power of ‘community’ in overcoming obstacles.

Filmed in December 2017, the 30-minute film follows the creation of the song, recorded in Bethlehem Steel’s former Turn & Grind Shop, with backing vocals from The St. Thomas Gospel Choir of the African Episcopal Church of St. Thomas in Philadelphia and performances from veteran Lehigh Valley musicians Dave Fry, Craig Thatcher, and Nyke Van Wyk.  Included in the documentary are interviews with former Bethlehem Mayors John Callahan and Don Cunningham; ArtsQuest President & CEO Kassie Hilgert; Bethlehem Redevelopment Authority Executive Director Tony Hanna; Curtis “Hank” Barnette, the last chairman of The Bethlehem Steel; former steelworkers and more.

During his career, Goldstein has worked as a photojournalist for The New York New Times, writer for The Chicago Tribune and as a television news commentator and field reporter for FOX News and NBC. He also wrote, directed and produced television for A&E Network, The History Channel, BET, TF-1, BBC, PBS, Fox Broadcasting Company and NBC.

The Song of Bethlehem is screening with another local film, “SouthSide Community”.  Celebrating the people who live and work in Bethlehem, “SouthSide Community” includes characters and elements created by the public, all animated against a SouthSide themed landscape. Created during the SouthSide Arts & Music Festival earlier this year, it was animated by Maciek Albrecht, who has directed numerous animated shorts for Sesame  Workshop, HBO Family, Scholastic, Cartoon Network. He designed and directed other shorts for HBO Specials including: Good Night Moon and Other Sleepy Stories, Twas the Night, Through the Child’s Eyes, and Baby Lullabies.  His work includes book adaptations of Where the Wild Things Are, Knuffle Bunny, Duck For President, The Teacher From the Black Lagoon, How Dinosaurs Go To Sleep, and many others. His animated films have won numerous awards worldwide such as the Annecy Award for the best feature “Close To You”, the Peabody Award and four Emmys in an Animated Short Category.

The “Bethlehem Block” will be screening at 1:20pm on Saturday, June 16th at Touchstone Theatre, 321 E 4th St in Bethlehem.  Tickets are $5 per person and available at the venue, Deja Brew Coffeehouse & Deli, and Domaci. Seating is first come first serve.

About the SouthSide Film Festival –  The SouthSide Film Festival is an annual five-day event featuring international films, guest filmmakers, juried selections, locally produced films, seminars, and networking opportunities for filmmakers and fans of independent film. The SouthSide Film Festival is a program of The SouthSide Film Institute, a not-for-profit volunteer-run organization promoting the art of the independent filmmaker. www.ssff.org.

Information provided to TVL by:
Mark Demko, ArtsQuest

On behalf of Glenn Koehler, SouthSide Film Festival