Everyday pandemic struggles of Allentonians featured in ‘Broke(n)’

Written by on June 16, 2022

Everyday pandemic struggles of Allentonians featured in ‘Broke(n)’

By Brittany Sweeney
June 16, 2022

Michael Schelp, producer of the documentary ‘Broke(n),’ which he created in Allentown. (Photo |WLVR)

ALLENTOWN, Pa. – A documentary shot in Allentown is shedding light on the financial plight many Americans face today.  

The film was originally set in New York City, but the director, after fleeing the city during the pandemic, profiled 12 people from around the Lehigh Valley.

Listen to the story.

“Broke(n)” is a documentary about the economic struggles of Americans. 

Director Michael Schelp says three themes came out of the film’s dozen interviews: health care, education, especially student loans and housing. 

“We just chose 12 people at random. We chose them, some of them online, some of them I met in the supermarket, so there was a house painter near us and I said, ‘Oh, you know, you’re a house painter,’ and we started talking and then next thing, you know, he was talking about how he didn’t have health care and some of the challenges he faced and so I said, great, let me interview you and he said, great, so that’s how I met them,” Schelp said. 

Schelp traveled to Chicago, Austin, and Davenport, Iowa, before stumbling upon Allentown and deciding it was the right setting for their piece.  

“Broke(n)” will be screened at the Manhattan Film Festival today and will have a Lehigh Valley premiere in the fall.

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