Kids For Cash movie hits local theaters

Talents of many local businesses and professionals used during production of film
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20 Under 40: JenniferDessoye

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Dr. Jennifer Dessoye is assistant professor of occupational therapy at Misericordia University and owner of Bright Beginnings Early Learning Academy (BBELA). Discontent with the early education curriculum and understanding of human development and neurolo (read more)

20 Under 40: Amy Hlavaty Belcher

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Amy Hlavaty Belcher, 39, owner and artistic director of Abrabesque Academy of Dancing, believes that for those who have been given much, much is expected. “I just try hard to do my best,” she said. I have been blessed with many opportunities and many gift (read more)

20 Under 40: Christopher Hetro

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Chris Hetro, 33, works hard and plays hard. “A strong work ethic is important, but finding balance outside of work is important because life is too short and you need to enjoy it,” he explained. As an electrical engineer and project manager at Borton-Laws (read more)

20 Under 40: C. David Pedri

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For attorney C. David Pedri, 37, it’s all about a combination of qualities that contribute to success. “My philosophy is simple: be open and honest, treat people the way you would want to be treated, with respect, and work hard to attain your dreams. The (read more)

20 Under 40: Ed Frable

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Ed Frable, 28, believes “if I work hard and stick to my word, good things will happen. My crew will not be deterred. We will re-evaluate our game plan and not give up until the job is complete,” explained Frable, the owner/operator of Ed Frable Constructi (read more)

20 Under 40: William H. Bender II

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William H. Bender II, CFP, CIMA, CRPC, loves what he does. “I’m lucky. I come to work every day excited to help the people and institutions we work with,” explained Bender, 34, first vice president at Bender Wealth Management Group, Merrill Lynch. The fam (read more)

20 Under 40: Angelo Venditti

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Angelo Venditti, 38, heard a call to the helping professions early on. Geisinger Northeast’s chief nursing officer answer was to volunteer for his local fire company. After high school, he became a paramedic, then enrolled in nursing school. Three years a (read more)

20 Under 40: Donald Mammano

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At 20, Donald Mammano began his own company, while attending the University of Scranton. Mammano, now 33, and president of DFM Properties, recalls, as a youngster, holding a flashlight while his father fixed the kitchen sink. “From that point on I was fas (read more)

20 Under 40: William J. Fennie III

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William J. Fennie III, 27, is always knocking on the proverbial door, because he knows one day, one will open. As an investment specialist with Integrated Capital Management (iCM) he cannot take “no” for an answer. “I make cold calls every day to invite f (read more)

20 Under 40: Marcus Magyar

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As an advisor at CAPTRUST Financial Advisors, Marcus N. Magyar, CFP, 30, provides comprehensive wealth management and investment portfolio services to business owners, executives, families and high-net worth individuals. His multi-disciplinary team of pro (read more)

20 Under 40: Heather Davis

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Heather M. Davis, 33, director of marketing and communication, is responsible for creating, overseeing and implementing a strategic marketing and comprehensive communications plan for The Commonwealth Medical College (TCMC). She is also responsible for pr (read more)

20 Under 40: Alexandria Duffney

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Alexandria Duffney, 30, is competitive by nature and loves a good challenge. These qualities have led her to her position as associate director of graduate admission at Wilkes University. Here she works with prospective students interested in enrolling in (read more)

20 Under 40: John Culkin

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John Culkin’s tenets inform: “Less haste equal more speed; the same boiling water that softens the potato hardens the egg, it is all about what you are made of, not the circumstances surrounding you; and don’t ask someone to walk a mile in your shoes, bef (read more)

20 Under 40: Conor O'Brien

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“What could be worse than getting to the end of your life and realizing you hadn’t lived it,” mused Conor O’Brien.” As co-founder and executive director of the Scranton Fringe Festival, O’Brien, 25, is responsible for leading the development of the overal (read more)

20 Under 40: Jessica Siegfried

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Jessica Siegfried, 38, is senior designer with BlackOut Design Inc., where she is responsible for all creative design at the full-service agency, from traditional branding and print to collateral and front end web design. “I’ve always had an interest in t (read more)

20 Under 40: David Johns

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David Johns’ career path has been shaped by his diverse experiences. As director of structural engineering at Greenman-Pedersen Inc., Moosic, Johns, 39, ensures that his engineering and consultant teams provide clients with their best effort. “We complete (read more)

20 Under 40: Robyn Jones

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Robyn Jones, 38, president of ReferLocal LLC, has learned just as many lessons from her business successes as she’s had from her failures — and she believes it’s important to share that knowledge with her employees. After graduating from American Universi (read more)

20 Under 40: Nisha Arora

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Nisha Arora, 36, tries to be the best version of herself every day. As general counsel for ERA One Source Realty Inc., she realized she cannot control other’s behavior so “I try to focus on myself and how I can be better,” she explained. Arora’s responsib (read more)

20 Under 40: Justin Sandy

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Starting at a young age in Hazleton, Justin C. Sandy, 33, found a passion for running. He became a member then a coach for Misericordia University’s cross country and track and field programs. “It was at Misericordia that I also garnered the profound sati (read more)

20 Under 40: Dr. Ariane Conaboy

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As a doctor of internal medicine at Physicians Health Alliance, Dr. Ariane M. Conaboy, 34, realizes the importance of human life and how fragile it can be at times. Conaboy graduated from Scranton Prep and the University of Scranton with a double major in (read more)

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Value of inherited Caddy is dubious

Q: I am now the owner of a 1978 Cadillac Seville Grand Opera Coupe. This was my grandmother’s car and one of a few hundred made of this model. It is not running, but I believe that is due to it sitting. It is all original and has very few miles. What is t (read more)

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Kids for Cash movie poster. The film opens locally Feb. 7.

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Distraught parent, Sandy Fonzo assails disgraced judge, Mark Ciavarella after his conviction.

The long-awaited opening of the film, Kids For Cash, which uncovers what happened behind the headlines of the notorious judicial scandal that rocked Luzerne County, opened in theatres in early February.

The film is an absorbing account of the events leading up to the scandal, as well as a detailed chronicle of the revelations unearthed by the criminal investigation and extensive media coverage. The documentary includes in-depth stories of several of the children involved and unprecedented interviews with disgraced judges Ciavarella and Conahan, among many others.

Robert May of SenArt Films, producer of several acclaimed and honored films, including “The Station Agent” and the Oscar-winning “The Fog of War,” who happens to live in northeastern Pennsylvania, read about the scandal in the local and national papers and decided to pursue it as his next film project.

“I was stunned to learn that these judges were accused of such heinous crimes involving children, especially since I likely voted for both of them,” May said. “The story began to spread beyond Luzerne County, national and international media started to cover it as well, with some outlets calling it the ‘most egregious’ judicial scandal in history.”

“What became clear was that this was no typical small-town scandal, and what made it different from other judicial scandals is that this one involved children,” May added.

When May decided to move forward with the film, he realized it was necessary to set up research and production offices locally where the scandal occurred. His affiliation with Wilkes University’s Creative Writing Program provided an opportunity to set up production offices right on the campus of Wilkes and to work with both graduate and undergraduate interns and assistants.

“It was also a great opportunity for us to take advantage of other resources at Wilkes, including the utilization of production elements, such as interiors of the historic and architecturally significant buildings on campus which could be used as location sets,” May said.

Over the course of the four-year production, May and his team brought in editors and production teams from both New York and Los Angeles, but also utilized a number of local professionals and resources.

In order to take audiences back in time, the production crew created a methodology to represent lost childhood, which included the creation of a village seemingly built by a child within a small attic. Because of the limitations of shooting in a small confined attic space, May needed to find a local facility where a replica could be built. He contacted David Koral, who not only provided an 11,000-square-foot loft, but also provided a carpentry staff to help build the set.

“It was a pleasure to be able to help with this film,” Koral said. “I know Robert is highly professional and that he was going to cover this subject matter in the right way.”

In addition to establishing the world of lost childhood, the story is also told within the juvenile files of the children followed in the film. “In an effort to take the audience deep inside the stories, we needed to literally go ‘into’ the various folders and documents through a unique, extreme, high-resolution scanning process,” May said.

Koral introduced May to Bob Lizza, whose art image-scanning studio, Lizza Studios, was located within the Koral complex. “Bob is world-renowned and his clients have included the famed graphic designer Milton Glaser and the Vatican,” May said.

An artist who provides very high-resolution large-format reproductions and scanning, Lizza worked closely with May to achieve his vision. Lizza invested in cutting-edge technology and is much sought after for the detailed work he provides. In 2003, he purchased the first Cruise fine arts scanner in the United States, which brought in clients from as far as Australia and China.

“I wanted to achieve Robert’s vision of really delving deep inside those files, of being able to see those paper fibers and more,” Lizza said. “What Robert needed and the technology I provided was the perfect fit. He has a real vision for what he is doing.”

Other locals who provided services for production, included cameraman Walter Lansberry, filmmaker Ricky Rose, scene painter Doug Moore, photographer Tom Musto, Mozip Graphics, Marquis Art & Frame and Canteen 900 among others.

“While this project, though the darkness of the scandal, initially challenged my belief in the area, the vast number of local people and talent that came together in working with our production teams was beyond impressive,” May said. “That plus the efforts currently underway to improve the lives of kids and families in the wake of the scandal, make me proud again to be part of the community.”

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