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Allentown Film Festival to screen World Premiere

of Forged in Steel, a documentary about

Bethlehem Steelworkers

ALLENTOWN, PENNSYLVANIA, March 31, 2023 — Today the nonprofit Allentown Film Festival announced that Forged in Steel will have its world premiere at the 2023 Allentown Film Festival in the Quirky Shorts & Lehigh Valley Filmmaker Finalists screenings block. The news of the project and its addition to the lineup is being revealed for the first time ahead of its premiere screening on Friday, April 14, 2023 at 8:00 p.m. ET at the Civic Theatre’s 19th Street Theatre. The film, directed by Bethlehem, PA-based filmmaker Matthew Heffner, offers audiences an intimate look at the lives of steelworkers, presenting the human face behind what was one of America’s most important, and dangerous, industrial facilities.

"As a filmmaker, it was an honor to tell the stories of these men who worked so tirelessly for decades, knowing that everyday, they ‘never knew if they were going home’,” says Director Matthew Heffner. “Forged in Steel is a tribute to their resilience and dedication, and a testament to the enduring spirit of American industrial workers. The sacrifices made by these workers inspires us to value the contributions of all workers, past and present."

“We were more than just employees; we were a family,” adds Joe Meyer, who worked as a scrap supervisor at Bethlehem Steel from 1969 - 1995. “The film is a reminder of how important workers are for our country, our economy, and our society."

“We are proud to include Forged in Steel in our inaugural lineup,” says Alan Younkin, the festival director of the Allentown Film Festival. “The film captures not only the personal experiences of the steelworkers but also the larger context of the changing American economy and its shifting values. The closure of Bethlehem Steel was a loss for the workers, the community, and the nation as a whole. The legacy that the Bethlehem Steel workers built continues to resonate.”

Forged in Steel joins the previously-announced 2023 Festival slate. Over 150 films from 16 countries have been programmed. Over half the films are from local filmmakers. “Lehigh Valley has such a wealth of talent. We can’t wait to share their wonderful works.”

Tickets for the in-person only premiere of Forged in Steel and other Festival screenings are now available at

Visit to watch the 90-second Forged in Steel promo and download publicity images

The Festival is a program of the nonprofit Allentown Film Festival. To date, 2023 Festival sponsors are: City Center, 88.1 WDIY, Adams Outdoor, WFMZ-TV, PBS39, 91.3 WLVR, and

Allentown Film Festival venue details

To date, the Festival has received almost 550 film submissions from 50 countries. The entry deadline has been extended to March 15 -- about 130 short and feature-length films will be exhibited in 15 screening blocks. A third of the selected films are from filmmakers in the Lehigh Valley or nearby. Films will be screened in five Allentown venues:

April 1: Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center, 522 W. Maple St.

April 13: Downtown Allentown Market

April 14-16: Civic Theatre, 527 N. 19th St. + 514 N. 19th St.

April 15: Allentown Art Museum, 31 N. Fifth St.

April 16: Miller Symphony Hall, 23 N. Sixth St. @AllentownFilm

Facebook: Allentown Film Festival