WVIA Original Documentary Films

A comprehensive list of Original Documentaries produced by WVIA throughout the years. Many are available for purchase through the WVIA Online Store. Click here to visit the store. If the documentary you are looking for is not in the WVIA Store, please contact memberservices@wvia.org.

150 Years of the Bloomsburg Fair

A Century of Service, the Army at Tobyhanna

The mission of our Army is to support our country in times of need. Through war, depression, and natural disaster, almost every major American event in the past 100 years has been aided in part by the Army at Tobyhanna. Its presence in Northeastern Pennsylvania has tied this region to the narrative of our country. 2012 – 60 minutes.

A Dying Breath

The film presents a central character to help tell the stories associated with black lung disease. Joe Machulsky, 89, of Shenandoah, Pennsylvania, recounts his experiences as a miner, his affliction with black lung, and his move from miner to miner's advocate in advancing compulsory workmen's compensation legislation in Pennsylvania for black lung victims. 2003 – 60 minutes.

Around the World in Bronze

Barbara Weisberger: En Pointe

WVIA original biographical documentary that chronicles the impassioned life of the founder of the Pennsylvania Ballet and celebrates her significant contribution to the development of ballet in the United States. The title of the documentary, pronounced “En Pwent”, is taken from ballet’s central image—the ballerina performing on the tips of her toes—one of the most difficult and delicate techniques in the art of dance. Like Barbara Weisberger’s life, mastering En Pointe requires years of commitment, and reflects a simultaneous expression of skill, strength and suppleness. 2008 – 60 minutes.

Camp Victory

WVIA original biographical documentary that chronicles the impassioned life of the founder of the Pennsylvania Ballet and celebrates her significant contribution to the development of ballet in the United States. The title of the documentary, pronounced “En Pwent”, is taken from ballet’s central image—the ballerina performing on the tips of her toes—one of the most difficult and delicate techniques in the art of dance. Like Barbara Weisberger’s life, mastering En Pointe requires years of commitment, and reflects a simultaneous expression of skill, strength and suppleness. 2008 – 60 minutes.

Chocolate Dreams: The Story of Gertrude Hawk Chocolates

The deeply personal and All-American story of the founding and evolution of Gertrude Hawk Chocolates, providing viewers with an entertaining and unique behind-the-scenes look at the industry and art of making chocolate products. 2012 – 60 minutes.

Crossroads of the Pocono Mountains

Monroe, Carbon, Pike and Wayne Counties have rich histories and for over a century have remained popular tourist destinations. Crossroads of the Pocono Mountains highlights the region’s cultural and natural attractions and provides a contemporary perspective on its future. 2008 – 60 minutes.

Dr. Mattioli: Always Moving Forward

WVIA documentary film celebrating the life and the accomplishments of Dr. Joseph Mattioli, a first-generation Italian American who lived his life by two rules: always do what you love and always move forward. From his humble beginnings in the rural coal regions of Northeastern Pennsylvania, “Doc” would go from farmhand to railroad worker, from road builder to dancer (almost), from Marine medic to preeminent dentist to savvy businessman, devoted husband, loving father and grandfather. 2009 – 60 minutes.

Duty in Iraq: One Woman's Story

Expedition Chesapeake

Expedition Susquehanna

A one-hour documentary highlighting the incredible journey of eleven high school students as they explore the Susquehanna River and Chesapeake Bay by canoe, kayak, and boat. The 30-day trip, organized and led by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF), began at the headwaters of the Susquehanna River in Cooperstown, NY and ended in the Bay in Annapolis, MD. 2007 – 60 minutes.

The Extraordinary Journey Series - The Eastern Europeans

Who were the Eastern Europeans, as these peasant immigrants were called by Native Americans of Irish, Welsh and English ancestry? Where did they come from? Why did they come here? How did they get here? What did they do when they arrived? These compelling stories are told from the immigrant’s perspective, to create an evocative experiential context for the audience.

The Extraordinary Journey shares the stories and memories of their immigrant heritage. These first- person accounts turn back the hands of time and draw us into a world far different than the one we live in today. From pierogi to polka to pysanky, Eastern European culture reflects humble origins, profound piety and intense ethnic pride. 2008 – 90 minutes.

The Extraordinary Journey Series - The Irish: Two Nations - One Heart

Sweeping documentary that details and preserves the incredible ethnic, social and political cultural heritage unique to the country. This anthropological and ethnographical record of the struggles, triumphs and contributions made by Irish immigrants is a remarkable, rich story representing a proud and well-deserved place in the history of America. 2010 – 90 minutes.

The Extraordinary Journey Series - Paesani: The Story of Italian Culture in Northeast Pennsylvania

Blends remarkable first-person recollections of Italian immigration and historical details that characterize these experiences with personal memories of Italian traditions that produced family values which continue to define Italian-American culture.

The film presents an entertaining range of archival imagery to recreate the extraordinary experience of leaving one’s village or town for one of Italy’s port cities, and then embarking on a rugged transatlantic voyage. For many Italians, this was the first time they had ever been beyond the fields they worked, or had seen the sea. 2012 – 90 minutes.

Follow the North Star to Freedom

Frank Schoonover: The Authentic Artist

A one-hour documentary film that explores innovative Delaware illustrator Frank Schoonover’s visionary social commentary on two powerfully contrasting social frontiers in northeastern Pennsylvania—the region’s gloomy industrial landscape in the 1900’s and the pristine vistas of the Delaware River in the 1930’s. Schoonover’s moody monochromatic sketches of boys working in coal mines and girls laboring in textile mills, and his vibrant oil paintings of panoramic river settings in the Pocono Mountains, are prescient art that portrays issues of human rights and environmentalism and captures the heart of a people and a place, and the soul of an artist. 2009 – 60 minutes.

Gino Merli: The Healing Hero

A docudrama that recounts the World War II exploits of Congressional Medal of Honor recipient and lifelong northeastern Pennsylvania resident Gino Merli, and how his extraordinary heroism at age 20 resonated throughout the remainder of his life. 2007 – 30 minutes.

Hearth and Harvest

The story of Pennsylvania agriculture is expansive, complex and vital. For more than three hundred years, farming in the state has had an indelible influence on the science, process and culture of farming in the United States. In addition, Pennsylvania farmers continue to make significant contributions to American agriculture as it evolves in the 21st century. 2009 – 60 minutes.

Historical Lewisburg: Where the Past Lights the Future

Hope for Polluted Waters

Hope for Polluted Waters tells the personal stories of the individuals and groups working throughout the coal-mining regions of Pennsylvania to clean up the abandoned mine drainage (AMD) that pollutes over 4,000 miles of waterways in the state. 2007 – 60 minutes.

Innovation & Enterprise: The Story of Gentex Corporation

Inspiration Lycoming: Walls That Talk

Historical Williamsport: Covering All Bases

John Stanky: Rags to Riches

Journey to the Endless Mountains

Explore the history, culture and traditions of the Endless Mountain region and meet some of the people who reside there with Narrator/Writer Michael Downend. Along the way we'll visit French Azilum, the Hartford Fair, Camptown race festival, Eagles Mere, Old Mill Village and more.

Judge William J. Nealon: At the Heart of It All

The story of William "Red" Nealon who grew up in the Nativity section of Scranton in the 1920s and 30s. As a young lawyer, he quickly rose to political prominence in the 1950s and 60s. In 1962, President John F. Kennedy appointed him to the United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania. Judge Nealon also has a reputation of giving back to the community. He has served on the boards of organizations concerned with social, educational and welfare needs of the community. 2008 – 60 minutes.


The film blends an extraordinary range of archival materials from the Knoebels Museum with original cinematography shot on-location at the park throughout the 2014 season to visually document the evolution of the family homestead from its roots as a wilderness haven for immigrant coal miners at the start of the 20th century to its current status as a preeminent amusement resort destination. 2014 – 60 minutes.

Knox... A Disaster

WVIA Original Documentary Film produced in 1984, features many first-person accounts of the tragedy that helped mark the end of deep mining in much of the Wyoming Valley. 1984 – 30 minutes.

The Last Raft

Legacy: The Story of The Lackawanna Heratige Valley

A 60-minute visual exploration of the culture, charm and character that make the Lackawanna Valley a national treasure. Produced by WVIA, with the cooperation of the Lackawanna Heritage Valley, this documentary examines the role northeastern Pennsylvania has played in this country’s history...from politics to polka. 2011 – 60 minutes.

Letters to the Editor

Little League: A History

WVIA Original Documentary Film, narrated by legendary baseball broadcaster, Vin Scully that re-introduces America to one of its own iconic institutions. The production chronicles and celebrates Little League’s 75-year contribution to American culture and to the quality of life for millions more around the world today. From a lilac bush to a promise kept, from the banks of the Susquehanna River to the Great Barrier Reef, from racial, gender and political conflicts to courage, character and loyalty, Little League® remains for many a bridge to both the past and the future, over which travels their dreams. 2014 – 60 minutes.

Local TV: The Early Years

Looking to the River

Examines critical contemporary issues pertaining to the Susquehanna River's Middle Basin—economic development, environmental protection, and cultural preservation—through their connection to the profound history and heritage of the river and its 27,000 square-mile watershed. 2005 – 60 minutes.

Max Rosenn: An Uncommon Conscience

WVIA biographical documentary film that chronicles and celebrates the distinguished legal career and public service of United States Court of Appeals Judge Max Rosenn. 2005 – 60 minutes.

Memento Mozart

An hour-long documentary shot entirely on location in Europe as a group of Pennsylvania Mozart lovers follow his trail to and through the cities that were important in his life and to his music. Always in the back of their minds is the fact that Mozart's librettist for the great operas "Don Giovanni" and "The Marriage of Figaro", Lorenzo da Ponte, eventually lived and worked as a greengrocer in Sunbury, PA! 2005 – 60 minutes.

Monsignor McGowan: Bread Upon the Water

WVIA biographical documentary chronicles Monsignor Andrew McGowan’s half-century of ‘casting seeds’ upon our region, and in doing so celebrates his abiding belief that “the people of northeastern Pennsylvania can compete in anything they really work at.“ McGowan’s empowering message epitomizes WVIA’s Great Pennsylvanians biographical documentary series. 2006 – 60 minutes.

New Deal Legacy

In the 1930s, America struggled to find its way out of the Depression. It was the era of Roosevelt’s New Deal, and the Treasury Department’s Section of Fine Arts commissioned artists from all over the country to create works of art to celebrate the spirit of the American people. Murals and sculptures were created depicting the cultural and economic heritage of individual communities across the country. And each was prominently displayed in the building considered to be the federal presence of any town: the post office. Many of these works of art remain on display today, and New Deal Legacy explores the inspiration behind them and the histories they depict, as well as taking a look at the architectural styles of the post offices themselves. 2008 – 60 minutes.

Nutrient Trading

Produced by WVIA Public Media in 2008, targets a broad audience, from the general home owner to municipal officials and the conservation community, to educate them about the types of pollution that impact our waters, and how the various tools including the Nutrient Trading program, streambank buffers, manure transport, and others can help. 2008 – 30 minutes.

The Once and Future City - Scranton, PA

Our Town Series

Peoples of the Susquehanna River

An original documentary film produced by WVIA Public Media and Bucknell University. The one-hour program examines the history, cultures and traditions of the Native Americans of the Susquehanna River watershed. Prehistoric tribes, whose existence over 1,000 years ago can still be discovered up and down the river from New York State to the west branch to the Chesapeake Bay. We also get to know the later tribes of the Eastern Woodlands, the Susquehannocks, the Lenni Lenape and the Six Nations of the Iroquois Confederacy. Their influence on arriving European settlers in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries was significant. But the inevitable clash of cultures, as well as the European's need the possess this land they'd discovered, drove these indigenous peoples off of the lands of their ancestors. Their contributions to the American society we know today are largely forgotten....unless you know where to look. Leaders, artists, teachers and citizens of the Lenni Lenape and Iroquois Confederacy share with us their traditions and their philosophies. Their stories paint pictures of a people whose stewardship of the environment has only grown more crucial in today's industrial world. These peoples are still here, their culture still vibrant. And with some help from environmental groups, educators and students, they continue to preserve and protect mother earth for the next seven generations. 2017 – 60 minutes.

The Pennsylvania Society: A century of Celebration

Railroading's Miniature Marvels

Reinventing American Healthcare

Remembering Agnes

Remembering The Scranton Sirens

Celebrates the exceptional, yet little-known, musical legacy of one of the most significant "territory" dance bands in American musical history — the Scranton Sirens. During its 10-year existence (1918-1928), the Scranton Sirens commanded huge crowds at many of the major dance emporiums throughout the United States. Most importantly, the band introduced future Big Band-era innovators Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey, Russ Morgan and Bill Challis. Narrated by singer and guitarist Leon Redbone, the Emmy-winning documentary features archival performance clips, interviews with music scholars, reminiscences from the last surviving group member, and faithful renditions of original Sirens' recordings. 2011 – 60 minutes.

Rev. Jozef Murgas: Radio's Forgotten Genius

Rusty Flack: Doing the Right Thing

Seeking the Greatest Good

WVIA’s original documentary film Seeking the Greatest Good chronicles the legacy of Gifford Pinchot’s conservation philosophy, and celebrates its surpassing value for understanding and solving the conservation challenges of our own era. The one-hour, high-definition presentation cinematically establishes Pinchot’s vision of conservation to affect social justice as a force that shaped our nation. 2013 – 60 minutes.

Spirit and Speed

In the world of sports, horse racing is second only to soccer in popularity around the globe. Despite this worldwide attraction, “The Sport of Kings” often must contend with a reputation rooted in stereotype & mortared in misunderstanding. These perceptions are balanced in an ambitious visual exploration of the cultural heritage & contemporary issues that define thoroughbred racing in Pennsylvania. 2013 – 60 minutes.

Stories From the Mines

Dramatizes and documents anthracite coal's tragic and indisputable role in profoundly influencing the relationship among organized labor, organized wealth and the United States government. The program captures a highly influential moment of American democracy in action and explains — in unique historical detail — how American labor policies and practices were permanently affected by the volatile relationship between immigrant coal miners of Northeastern Pennsylvania and the industrialists who employed them. 2002 – 60 minutes.

Susquehanna University Concerts

The Tragedy of the 109th

Twister: A Wooden Warrior


A one hour documentary film about a cultural festival steeped in 800 years of tradition and Italian folklore. Known as "La Festa Dei Ceri" this event can only be found in two places in the world, Gubbio, Italy, and Jessup, Pennsylvania. 2007 – 60 minutes.

Upstate PA's Common Canvas

A travelogue exploring the cities & towns of the Upstate PA region. Using their post office artwork as historical markers, we will examine the geographic & cultural heritage that binds the region together, as well as the qualities, which make each community unique. 2010 – 60 minutes.

War Stories

WARMland Remembered


A 2-Part WVIA Documentary Series produced in partnership with The Foundation for Pennsylvania Watersheds. Each program chronicles six to eight stories of efforts by inspiring volunteer watershed groups throughout Pennsylvania who are employing leading-edge science to preserve, protect and restore local fresh water sources. 2013 – 2 programs at 60 minutes each.

William Warren Scranton: In a Clear Light

WVIA original biographical documentary about the amazing story of William Scranton who lived a life of public service that made him a witness to history. In a career that spanned almost four decades he served Pennsylvania as an innovative Congressman and Governor. His guiding star has always been his family and his home outside of Scranton, PA. 2004 – 60 minutes.