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‘Brave the Dark,’ movie based on Garden Spot teacher, to be screened at Philadelphia Film Festival Thursday

  • By Mike Andrelczyk/LNP | LancasterOnline
This movie still from Make / Film's


This movie still from Make / Film's "Brave the Dark," to be screened at the Philadelphia Film Festival Thursday, Oct. 26, shows actors Jared Harris, left, and Nicholas Hamilton. The film is based on the true story of Garden Spot teacher Stan Deen and a young man, Nate Deen, for whom he became a father figure.

This story is published in partnership with our sister newsroom LNP | LancasterOnline.

Pennsylvania moviegoers will have the chance to view “Brave the Dark,” a film shot in Lancaster County in 2021, during the 32nd Philadelphia Film Festival on Thursday, Oct. 26.

The 122-minute feature film based on the lives of Nate Deen and the late Stan Deen, a popular former Garden Spot High School English teacher and theater instructor, screens in the Mainstage theater of the Philadelphia Film Center at 6 p.m. Thursday.

Tickets to the screening, which cost $15-$17, can be purchased here.

The Film Center is at 1412 Chestnut St., Philadelphia. The Mainstage is said to boast the largest screen in center city Philadelphia.

“We’re ecstatic that ‘Brave the Dark’ is showing at the Philadelphia Film Festival,” says Derek Dienner, producer and owner of Make / Films, the Lancaster-based company that co-produced the movie with the New Zealand- and Lancaster-based production company Inspiring Films. “We’re eager to share our film with Lancaster, the place that made this project possible, as soon as we secure distribution.”

The screening will be followed by a Q&A with director Damian Harris (“Gardens of the Night”), Dienner and Nate Deen, an executive producer and one of the writers of the film.

The film is based on Nate Deen’s traumatic childhood and how Stan Deen, who died in 2016, became a father figure to him.

“I am excited to have the film premiere on the East Coast, so close to home,” says Nate Deen. “We are at our fourth film festival in as many weeks and the excitement and energy behind this film is exploding. I’m excited for those who knew Stan to experience ‘Brave the Dark’ for the first time.”

“Brave the Dark” stars Jared Harris (“Mad Men,” “Chernobyl”) as Stan Deen and Nicholas Hamilton (“It,” “The Dark Tower”) as Nate Deen.

“Brave the Dark” premiered during the 32nd Heartland International Film Festival in Indianapolis on Oct. 6 where it won the Overall Audience Choice Award. The film went on the screen at the Newport Beach Film Festival in Newport Beach, California, on Oct. 13 and 15 and showed at the San Diego International Film festival over the weekend. It will be featured in the Cork International Film Festival in Cork, Ireland, on Nov. 11.

No Lancaster County screening has been scheduled for the film; tentative plans are for a local premiere next year.

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