The Extraordinary Journey: The Eastern Europeans of Northeastern Pennsylvania

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Between 1880 and 1930, hundreds of thousands of eastern European immigrants settled in Northeastern Pennsylvania. The Extraordinary Journey presents the stories of where they came from, why they left the “Old Country”, how they got to America, the life they created in the anthracite coal country after they arrived, and their extraordinary ethnic legacy forged from that which they cherished most – family, faith, and freedom. The memory of their time has come to define the lives of many Americans today.

The three-episode documentary contains dozens of insightful interviews with Polish, Slovak, Ukrainian, Lithuanian, and Hungarian immigrants, their children, and scholars of this period in American history. These funny, tragic, and deeply intimate memories are visualized by hundreds of archival images selected from the Ellis Island Immigration Museum, the Library of Congress and the National Archives.

From pierogi to polka to pysanky, eastern European culture reflects humble origins, profound piety, and intense ethnic pride. The Extraordinary Journey celebrates and preserves northeastern Pennsylvania’s eastern European heritage through a poignant blend of first-person story telling, never-before-seen images and insightful humanist commentary, and honors the courageous character our ancestors possessed to create a finer life for us today.

WRITTEN AND DIRECTED BY GREG MATKOSKY
EXECUTIVE PRODUCER THOMAS M CURRA
PRODUCED BY GREG MATKOSKY AND THOMAS M CURRA
EDITED BY KRIS HENDRICKSON
DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY GREG MATKOSKY

NARRATED BY PAUL PLISHKA

TOTAL RUNNING TIME 146 MINUTES