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Allentown Film Festival to screen World Premiere

of Married to the Mayor, a short documentary about

Allentown Mayor Matt Tuerk’s wife Karen Tuerk

ALLENTOWN, PENNSYLVANIA, March 6, 2023 — Today the nonprofit Allentown Film Festival announced that Married to the Mayor 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, produced by Michael Schelp and Alan Younkin, presents an intimate portrait of Allentown’s first lady, tracing her journey from Boulder, Colorado, where she met the future mayor at a punk music nightclub when both were teenagers -- and Karen was dating Matt’s best friend -- to City Hall in Pennsylvania’s third-largest city.


Allentown Mayor Matt Tuerk commented: “I love that Married to the Mayor shows everyone in Allentown what I love about Karen.”


"It took me a couple of days of working through minor anxiety and some convincing on the part of my kids to agree to participate in this biopic project,” admits Karen Tuerk, who plans to attend the World Premiere with the mayor. “I don't like being the center of attention (ever!). But I think the filmmakers are great, and I trusted them to do me right! Plus, I'm so excited and enthusiastic about the Allentown Film Festival, and I wanted to help in any way possible."


In recognition of the pivotal role that they played in encouraging their mother to participate in the production of Married to the Mayor, Karen’s daughters have received executive producer credits in the film and will be awarded official Allentown Film Festival medals at the World Premiere.


Married to the Mayor introduces Karen Tuerk in four chapters. In the first chapter, “Wayfinding,” Karen discusses her upbringing in Boulder, Colorado, her love of nature, and her first encounter with Matt Tuerk. “Matt was very cool, a little bit awkward, and definitely edgy,” remembers Karen.


In the second chapter, “March 2020,” Karen talks about Matt’s and her decision to run for mayor during the Covid lockdown. “At that point, everything was so surreal -- it seemed like anything was possible.” She shares the unexpected twists and turns of the mayoral campaign.


Chapters three and four, “November 2021” and “Life now,” describe how life in the public eye has affected the mayor’s family. And the relief she felt when certain aspects of their lives did not change.


“We are so proud to include Married to the Mayor in our inaugural lineup,” declares Allentown Film Festival Director Alan Younkin. “Karen Tuerk captivated our judging panels and sneak preview audiences. She is a real asset to our city.”


“We plan to screen over 40 short films from local filmmakers,” adds Younkin. “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 Married to the Mayor and other Festival screenings are now available at


90-second Married to the Mayor promo and media images at


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. @AllentownFilm

Facebook: Allentown Film Festival


Married to the Mayor (15" promo spot) Karen Tuerk discusses her upbringing and the unexpected joys, and drawbacks, of being married to Allentown's mayor.