After three years of hard work, a film created by former Uniontown resident Cody Knotts will have its world premiere at the State Theatre.
The film will be shown at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 12.
While it’s not a documentary, “Kecksburg” is based on the local stories of a possible U.F.O. landing in the Westmoreland County area.
What is now referred to as “The Kecksburg UFO incident,” and even “Pennsylvania’s Roswell,” the event took place on a cold December night in 1965.
That night, several citizens stretching from Canada to Kecksburg — across six states — reported seeing a fireball shooting across the sky. And while astronomers said it was a sort of meteor burning up in the atmosphere and descending at a steep angle, those in Kecksburg who saw something land there disagree.
Over the years, there has been wide speculation that the “craft” that had landed was something alien or at the most debris from a Soviet space probe.
“This is not a documentary,” said Knotts. “I like to say it’s a mix of history, mystery and memory.”
The cast of characters include reporter John Murphy (Scot Cooper, “Maze Runner: The Death Cure” and “Homeland”), Agent Kirk Donovan (Eric Hack), Roza Zalinski (Szonja Oroszlan, “The Martian” and “Hellboy II: The Golden Army”), Stan Zelinski (Scott Levy), Anne LeMaster (Remi Moses) and Mel Mullins (Curt Wootton, “The Bigfoot Movie” and “Street Light Stories”).
Locations where parts of the movie were filmed include: Big Bear Lake in West Virginia, the Stone Villa Winery in Acme, Hayden’s Pharmacy in Mount Pleasant, a radio station in Latrobe, Nemacolin Castle in Brownsville and a funeral home in New Eagle.
The trailer on Facebook has had over 120,000 views and over 350,000 views on the Pittsburgh Metro page.
“I am a little surprised that there’s been this amount of interest,” Knotts said. “I know this has always been a big story for everyone here in this area, but still surprised and excited.”
The premiere will be complete with a red carpet affair at 6 p.m. and Knotts said that most of the cast should be there - some flying in from Los Angeles, New York and even from overseas in Hungary.
“This has been in the works for three years, and I hope that people enjoy it,” he said. “I think everybody did an amazing job. It’s a well-made film and everything was done on a highly professional level.”
Ed Christofano, owner of Hayden’s Pharmacy, came on as a producer later in the process and said it’s been a whirlwind of excitement since then.
“To be part of a legendary tale in our community is by far one of the highlights of my community involvement,” he said. “Being an executive producer of a film has never been on my bucket list, but I’m glad it has become a part of my life.”
Christofano added that it’s exciting to hold the premiere locally.
“This is going to allow the people who know it best to be some of the first in the world to see this film,” he said.
Erica Miller, executive director at the State Theatre, said she’s looking forward to all of the excitement the movie premiere will bring to the theater.
“We’re looking forward to having the theatre be full of people attending the showing of ‘Kecksburg,’” she said. “It’s a unique opportunity to bring new people in to experience our theater, and that’s always exciting.”
Knotts said that after the premiere, they will show the film at the American Film Market show in Santa Monica, California, in hopes of selling the rights to the film to different markets, whether they be foreign markets or the domestic, North American market.
If the domestic market buys the rights, the film will not be released to DVD any time soon, but if a foreign market buys the rights, they will work to release the film on Blue Ray and DVD and other streaming outlets as soon as possible.
“If we don’t sell the rights domestically, it should be out by the end of November,” Knotts said.
They are also submitting a business plan to AMC Theaters in hopes of having the opportunity for a limited Pittsburgh theatrical release.
Tickets for the premiere at the State Theatre can be purchased at kecksburgufomovie.com. The theater seats just over 1,400 people and nearly 1,000 tickets have already been sold.
General admission is $15 and preferred seating is $35. The State Theatre Center for the Arts is located at 27 East Main St., Uniontown.
Holders of the preferred tickets will have the opportunity to meet the cast at 7 p.m. the evening before the premiere, Sept. 11, at the Kecksburg Fire Hall. A companion guide to the film and other memorabilia will be available for purchase to get signed by members of the cast.
“We’re looking at packing the house for the premiere, and we’re not far off,” said Christofano.