Valley Filmmaker to Premiere ‘Angel Mine’ at Main Street Theater

COLUMBIANA, Ohio – A film shot largely in the Mahoning Valley will get its red-carpet premiere Saturday, May 20, at Main Street Theater.

“Angel Mine,” the latest work by Columbiana-area filmmaker Josh Menning, tells the story of two strangers whose spouses recently died. After meeting on a long train ride to New York, their grief fades as they begin to see a new future.

Ted Emporellis, a Boardman native, and Angela Cole, a Cleveland native, play the two lead roles. Both currently live in Los Angeles and have appeared in Menning’s earlier films.

“Angel Mine” is based on the 2021 novel by Jim Taaffe of Struthers and is largely a true story. It also features music by The Vindys, who will give a short performance at the premiere screening.

Filming took place last year mainly in Columbiana, but also in Youngstown, Ashtabula, Pittsburgh and New York.

The Main Street Theater screening will start at 7 p.m. and will be followed by a question-and-answer session with the cast and crew. Tickets are $25 and can be purchased in advance HERE.

“Angel Mine” is Menning’s seventh film and was a bit of a departure for him.

“This experience was different from my past films because of the different locations and working with the author of the book to make sure his true story mainly stayed intact,” he said. “Filming in New York City was a great experience, and we actually traveled to and from New York via train to get the whole experience of the story.”

The train ride allowed the filmmaker to “get an idea of how these two [characters] had the time and ability to connect so deeply [in a relatively short time],” Menning said. “We experienced it first-hand.”

The director is still working on distributing the film to a wider audience.

“We are still determining the main streaming service,” he said. “We will be optioning it to Pure Flix and a couple of other main distribution avenues. It will also be available on Amazon, iTunes, Google Play, Vudu and a few others.” 

Columbiana-area filmmaker Josh Menning.

Some of Menning’s earlier films have already found a home at, which specializes in faith-based and family-friendly works.

In addition to Cole and Emporellis, the cast includes Meggie Jenny, Joe Morales, Tori Gideon, Erich Offenburg, Deanna Sherman, Marc Gabriele, Mitzi and Bob Beach, Keith Parker, Emily Rusu, La’Rayja Hill, J.W. Kitson, Zach King and Jennifer Belfast.

Christina Sussman of Salem adapted the novel into a screenplay.

Menning is a longtime friend of Taaffe and his late wife, Kristy Wolfe Taaffe, who was a mother of two and a well-known and beloved vice president of Struthers Elementary School PTA. She died suddenly in 2016, setting off an outpouring of sympathy in that community.

Taaffe’s novel upon which the film is based is autobiographical. Watching it being made into a film was an unusual experience for him.

“It’s bizarre, seeing your life played out in front of you,” he said. “I wrote it three years ago, as a way to heal myself. Writing occupied my time, which helped greatly.”

After Menning approached Taaffe about turning it into a movie, the project began to take shape. “I couldn’t be happier with how it turned out,” Taaffe said.

Taaffe is a longtime friend of Emporellis’, the actor who plays him in the film. Emporellis was actually in the wedding party when Taaffe and his late wife got married.

“Angel Mine” is Taaffe’s first novel, but not his last.

He has since written a science fiction novel, “Gemini,” that is also being turned into a movie. Taaffe is directing it, with Menning serving as director of photography.

“We just wrapped filming in April on ‘Gemini,’” Menning said. He is now in the editing process for the film and anticipates a fall release.

Meanwhile, Taaffe has already started on his third novel, “Brier Hill.” It’s set in 1972 in Youngstown’s Brier Hill neighborhood.

Pictured at top: Shown during filming of “Angel Mine” are, from left, Zach King, Don Arthurs, Adrianne Hodge (with back to camera), Josh Menning, John Smith, Sergio Lopez and Angela Cole.

Copyright 2024 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.