Schott Productions, the Reading-based team behind the 2020 independent film "Dust Nuggets," has announced it is in pre-production for its next feature film, "Le Bon Chef," which is on schedule to begin filming in the fall.

"Le Bon Chef" tells the story of a 50-something female chef at a top French restaurant going bankrupt as people’s tastes slowly change to vegan, low-carb and fusion — everything French food is not.

The film features a diverse cast of characters who bring their kooky life perspectives into the melting pot of "Le Bon Chef."

As with Schott Productions’ previous projects, "Le Bon Chef" will be filmed in Berks County. The film is currently in the development stage — bringing on production partners, securing locations for filming and attracting talent for major roles.

Eric Roberts and Robert Picardo were both featured in "Dust Nuggets." Producer Sue Lange and director Tracy Schott will likewise bring known talent to this project.

“While the pandemic has made things more difficult and more expensive, we’ve also discovered that we now have more access to people in the industry who in the past were caught up in studio productions," Schott said. "This means there are some very talented actors out there who aren’t working. We’re excited that 'Le Bon Chef' has attracted the attention of people in the industry who want to see the film get made.”

To secure seed money, Schott Productions held a crowd-funding campaign that raised $20,000. The money will be used to secure cast and legal personnel as well as start a social media presence.

“Get ready Reading! If all goes according to schedule, we will be filming this fall!” Lange said.

For more information, visit, email or call 800-995-5963.


Yocum Institute for Arts Education, 3000 Penn Ave., Spring Township, is hosting the 2021 Annual Senior High School Juried Art Exhibit, open now through Feb. 15.

Each year, the Yocum Institute welcomes aspiring young artists from Berks County to submit their work for this juried exhibit, which provides students with an opportunity to present their original works of art in a professional gallery setting as well as compete for cash prizes and tuition to institute classes.

The competition was open to all full-time high school students who reside in or attend school in Berks County. The original work presented will feature oil, watercolor, mixed media, acrylic paint, sculpture and 3D art.

This year's winners were as follows:

First place: Karleigh Patton, Exeter senior, "A Portrait of Myself" (embroidery)

Second place: Devan Detwiler, Gov. Mifflin senior, "Lace Code"

Third place: Joanna Knepper, Exeter junior, "Giraffe Box"

Coggins Award: Angelle Rescigno, Tulpehocken junior, "Possessed Child"

Honorable mentions: Morgan Herb, Exeter sophomore, "Peaceful Glow"; Sophia Geddio, Gov. Mifflin senior, "Harmony"; and Nina Gottschall, Gov. Mifflin senior, "Somewhat Same Lives"

Berks Art Alliance Award: Luis Delgado, Wyomissing junior, "Thane in City Lights"

Gurman Award: Brittany Thuong, Exeter sophomore, "Onion Study"

The exhibit was judged by Amanda Lee Condict, an illustrator and designer who has worked in graphic arts and publishing her whole life. She is an adjunct instructor in the fashion department at Albright College; teaches drawing and painting at Yocum Institute; operates Vincent Van BYO, a painting party studio; and paints murals, mostly as community projects with area schools. 

Gallery hours and 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Fridays and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays. Safety precautions are in place due to Covid-19, and masks are required. Admission is free. For more information, call 610-376-1576 or visit


Crosslink Publishing has announced the release of "Death and a Crocodile," the debut mystery novel by Morgantown resident Lisa E. Betz.

This unusual whodunit, set in first-century Rome, features a spunky heroine who shares her unconventional spirit.

Betz drew inspiration from 35 years of leading Bible studies to create an entertaining mystery set in the world of the early church, and then she filled that world with eccentric characters, courageous females and a sausage-snatching cat.

By combining historical detail, faith and humor in a fast-paced mystery, she hopes to provide readers with a story that both entertains and encourages.

Ancient Rome is a challenging setting for a female sleuth, but daring to be unconventional is a topic Betz frequently writes about in her blog, "Sleuths, Snark & Inspiration." She is passionate about inspiring others (real and fictional) to become their best selves and live with authenticity, confidence and purpose.

Betz worked as an engineer, substitute teacher and play director before becoming a mystery writer. She brings her analytical mind, quirky humor and positive outlook to all she does.

When not writing, she can be found volunteering at The Village Library of Morgantown or experimenting with ancient Roman cooking.

"Death and a Crocodile" will be released Tuesday and is available for pre-order from Amazon and other book retailers in print and e-book versions. 

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