The Porterfield Group has seemingly become one of Joe Paterno’s most public advocates over the last three years. The local digital media enterprise, led by filmmaker Eric Porterfield, is responsible for both the “Joe We Know“ and “365 Days: A Year in Happy Valley” films. Now, the group is trying its hand at a third Paterno-partisan film called “The People’s Joe” which is described on its website as the “story of Joe Paterno told by those who knew him well and those who knew him only by name, or JoePa. It is the people’s story.”
“After producing ‘The Joe We Know,’ in 2011, we realized even more how unique Joe Paterno’s story really was,” said Michelle Hagan, CEO of The Porterfield Group. “As storytellers, his contributions seemed too compelling to ignore. Our ‘365 Days‘ distribution contact commented that he couldn’t believe there was no documentary film in the works about Paterno’s life. We feel our team is uniquely positioned to tell the story, so we put together a team to do just that.”
Production will begin in Brooklyn, NY in May where Paterno grew up, with a DVD release set for November 9, 2014, on the three year anniversary of his final day as Penn State’s coach.
“Centered around the family kitchen table, a symbol of stability in the otherwise busy and ever-changing world of a college football coach, ‘The People’s Joe’ will feature several narratives, including stories of independent groups who have been working on Paterno tributes since his death,” spokesperson Debby Rippey wrote in a release. “By giving the public a platform and the chance to gather around this iconic table to discuss the man that was, these anecdotes will form a narrative of his life.”
At least part of the film is motivated by the university’s unwillingness to honor Paterno on its own. Ted Sebastianelli, a trustee candidate who is part of a group called “Joe’s Bench” aimed at honoring Joe and Sue Paterno in downtown State College, said as much in a film press release.
“Joe was so much more than a figure representing Penn State,” Sebastianelli said. “We’re not waiting for the university to do anything. This film will document the people’s love for Joe. We don’t really care what the university does at this point.”