The Centre Film Festival is a week-long celebration of film and conversation connecting local voices with global ones through media arts, workshops and masterclasses. The Centre Film Festival brings multigenerational stories to the screen. With the historic Rowland Theatre and State Theatre as century-old touchstones, we bring filmmakers and films to the community that spark conversation and inspire new works. The festival offers masterclasses that enable local teens to engage with artists and develop their own artistic visions. We believe Central Pennsylvania is rich with screen-worthy stories and the talent to make them.
February 27, 1957 – January 31, 2022
There isn’t a day that goes by here at the festival that we don’t think of Curt. We take this moment to honor our co-founder, programmer, and mentor extraordinaire, Curt Chandler, may his memory be a blessing. The festival would not have come to life without him.
Curt was born to William Dean and Joyce Wareing Chandler on Feb. 27, 1957, in Bad Cannstaat, West Germany, where his father was stationed.
When asked about his life, Curt would always proudly respond with “This is my 10th state and second country.” Growing up, Curt’s family moved frequently. In college he spent his summers with his family in McGehee, Arkansas. Growing up, Curt was an Eagle Scout and cherished memories of attending a Jamboree in Japan and being on the staff at Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico. He also raced bicycles, played in the school band, and took up photography, which became the focus of his professional life.
Curt was a 1978 graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University, where he was a member and president of Chi Psi Fraternity, a photographer for the Daily Northwestern and the yearbook, and served as publisher of Byline magazine. In his junior year at Northwestern he met Stacie Paulsen — one of his favorite stories. The couple married in 1980 and began their 42-year adventure.
Curt started his career as an award-winning photojournalist at the Pueblo (Colo.) Star-Journal and Chieftain as a police reporter and photographer. From there he went to the Ogden (Utah) Standard-Examiner as a staff photographer. In 1986 he moved to Cleveland, Ohio to work as a staff photographer and picture editor for the Plain-Dealer and in 1994 he became the Director of Photography at the Pittsburgh (PA) Post-Gazette and was later named the paper’s first Editor for Online Innovation. During this time he taught photography at Duquesne.
In 2007 Curt pivoted from almost 30 years at daily newspapers to a 15-year career in education when he became an associate teaching professor in the Bellisario College of Communications at the Pennsylvania State University in State College, where he launched the college’s multimedia program.
Curt’s skill, enthusiasm, vast technical knowledge, and love of storytelling combined to make him a valued and beloved teacher, mentor, colleague and friend. He was active in the National Press Photographers’ Association, the Online News Association, Multimedia Immersion, and Lens Collective, among others.
At home, Curt was a loving father to Toby, Molly, Vince and Madeline. He was a dedicated hockey dad and cheerleader at sporting events, plays, concerts, art shows, skate parks, and poetry readings. Curt loved music and movies.
He was especially proud of the two Pittsburgh homes the family renovated.
In recent years he especially embraced the opportunity to travel with his wife and family. Trips to destinations from Rome, Prague, Ireland, Scotland, Iceland, Norway, Key West and Yellowstone Park are all captured in his photographs. A dedicated eater, Curt especially enjoyed taking cooking classes during their travels.
Curt is survived by his wife, Stacie Lynn Paulsen Chandler; his children, Toby Benjamin Chandler Ekmann (Kate) of Pittsburgh; Molly Kathleen Chandler Campe (Brian) of Bloomfield, NJ; Vincent William Chandler of Denver; and Madeline Wareing Chandler of Brooklyn; three grandchildren: Zooey Michelle Chandler and Logan Thomas and Chandler William Campe; a sister, Cindy Chandler Smith (Don) of McGehee, AR; and a brother, Christopher Taylor Chandler (Tammy) of Loveland, CO.