Pittsburgh International Children’s Film Festival Returns To Row House Cinema

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The Land Before Time

Last year, Row House Cinema launched the Pittsburgh International Children’s Film Festival, a full week of animated and live-action films from around the globe, accompanied by a diverse schedule of family-friendly events. From July 28-August 3, the festival returns with plenty of fun for kids and adults.

Throughout the week, the theater will screen the 1995 adventure film Jumanji, Hayao Miyazaki’s imaginative tale My Neighbor Totoro, Don Bluth’s dinosaur journey The Land Before Time, and Jim Henson’s The Muppets Take Manhattan. The schedule will also feature two age-specific Best of the Fest short film showcases, one for ages 3-7 and one for older children and teens ages 8 and over.

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Best of the Fest’s Konigiri-Kun Shopping (Japan, 2016)

The event kicks off on July 28 with a screening of The Muppets Take Manhattan and Drag Queen Storytime with local performer Cherri Baum. On July 30 from 12-4 p.m., the theater will host a Family Day with local vendors like Nine Stories Bookstore, Songbird Artistry, and 2468 Kids providing free activities and crafts and selling kid-friendly items from books to gender-neutral clothes.

Other festival happenings include Cereal Cinema with My Neighbor Totoro, which includes an all-you- can-eat cereal bar, and a Morning Storytime show specially designed for ages 3-7, including complimentary snacks from Peanut Butter Jelly Time.

Visit the Row House Cinema website for showtimes and tickets.

Waterworks Cinemas Honors The Late George Romero With Zombie Party

Toronto Zombie Walk - George A. Romero's "Survival of the Dead" Screening

George Romero at the Toronto Zombie Walk (Photo by Jason Gemnich/WireImage)

On July 16, American horror cinema lost one of its greatest voices when George Romero died from lung cancer at the age of 77. With a career spanning over four decades and numerous film and television projects, Romero left an indelible mark on pop culture and inspired generations of filmmakers. He also holds a special place in the hearts of Pittsburgh film fans, as his iconic Living Dead series made Southwestern Pennsylvania the birthplace of the modern zombie. On July 22Waterworks Cinemas honors his life and work with a special event.

The theater will host a Zombie Party featuring a screening of Night of the Living Dead and undead-themed activities. Those dressed in their best zombie outfits can receive professional makeovers by artists of Tom Savini Special Make-Up Effects Program. Later in the evening, zombified guests can show off their horrific transformations and compete for top prizes during a pageant judged by macabre makeup experts and other horror gurus.

The Waterworks Cinemas Zombie Party begins at 10 p.m. The pageant takes place at 10:30 p.m. The Night of the Living Dead screening takes place at 11:15 p.m. Tickets are limited and available now for purchase in the theater lobby or online. Please note that Waterworks only offers luxury recliner seating.

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Row House Resurrects Forgotten French Noir Film ‘Panique’

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Panique

Film icon Jean Renoir once proclaimed, “If I were an architect and I had to build a monument to the cinema, I would place a statue of [JulienDuvivier above the entrance.” A prolific filmmaker, Duvivier made 70 films between 1919 and 1967 in his native France and in the United States. Now Row House Cinema will bring a re-release of his 1946 work Panique to Pittsburgh.

Duvivier’s noir adaptation of Georges Simenon‘s Mr. Hire’s Engagement (later adapted by Patrice Leconte as Monsieur Hire) stars Michel Simon as a reviled voyeur framed for a murder by the girl he adores. Now widely considered the finest Simenon adaptation but criticized at the time for its bleakness, the long-unseen Panique has finally been given the vivid restoration it deserves. (Synopsis courtesy of Rialto Pictures)

Panique screens from July 21-27 as part of Row House Cinema’s Film Noir week.

Best Limited Releases Coming To Pittsburgh: July 2017 Edition

The Bad Batch – Hollywood Theater

Bad Batch poster

The latest from filmmaker Ana Lily Amirpour (A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night) follows Arlen (Suki Waterhouse) after she’s left in a Texas wasteland fenced off from civilization. While trying to navigate the unforgiving landscape, Arlen is captured by a savage band of cannibals led by the mysterious Miami Man (Jason Momoa). With her life on the line, she makes her way to The Dream (Keanu Reeves). As she adjusts to life in ‘the bad batch‘ Arlen discovers that being good or bad mostly depends on who’s standing next to you. The Bad Batch opens on July 7 at the Hollywood Theater.

The Big Sick – Manor Theatre

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Based on the real-life courtship between Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon, The Big Sick tells the story of Pakistan-born aspiring comedian Kumail (Nanjiani), who connects with grad student Emily (Zoe Kazan) after one of his standup sets. However, what they thought would be just a one-night stand blossoms into the real thing, which complicates the life that is expected of Kumail by his traditional Muslim parents. When Emily is beset with a mystery illness, it forces Kumail to navigate the medical crisis with her parents, Beth and Terry (Holly Hunter and Ray Romano), while dealing with the emotional tug-of-war between his family and his heart. The Big Sick opens July 7 at the Manor Theatre.

Manifesto – Harris Theater

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The film from artist Julian Rosefeldt features actress Cate Blanchett playing 13 different roles – a housewife, a factory worker, a TV anchor – in vignettes about the words that have inspired art movements. Manifesto opens on July 7 at the Harris Theater.

Maudie – Manor Theatre

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The reclusive Everett Lewis (Ethan Hawke) hires a fragile yet determined woman named Maudie (Sally Hawkins) to be his housekeeper. Maudie, bright-eyed but hunched with crippled hands, yearns to be independent, to live away from her protective family and she also yearns, passionately, to create art. Unexpectedly, Everett finds himself falling in love. Based on a true story, the film charts Everett’s efforts to protect himself from being hurt, Maudie’s deep and abiding love for this difficult man and her surprising rise to fame as a folk painter. Maudie opens on July 14 at the Manor Theatre.

Like Crazy – Hollywood Theater

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Beatrice is a motor-mouthed fantasist, a self-styled billionaire countess who likes to believe she’s on intimate terms with world leaders. Donatella is a tattooed introvert, a fragile young woman locked in her own mystery. They are both patients at the Villa Biondi, a progressive but secure psychiatric clinic. Director Paolo Virzì’s new film tells the story of the unpredictable and moving friendship that develops between the two women as they flee the mental institution in search of love and happiness in the open-air nuthouse –  the world of sane people. Like Crazy opens on July 21 at the Hollywood Theater.

Pittsburgh Independent Film Festival Highlights And Details

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A Fancy Piece of Homicide

The Pittsburgh Independent Film Festival (PIFF) returns to the Father Ryan Arts Center in McKees Rocks to showcase a variety of short and feature-length films. From June 23-25, the event will screen 59 selections from the U.S. and all over the world, including many made right here in Pittsburgh.

The festival kicks off with an opening ceremony, followed by a reception for attendees to mix and mingle. The evening will also include screenings of the animated short Corky and A Fancy Piece of Homicide, a neo-noir psychological thriller from local filmmaker Joseph Varhola. Starring Pittsburgh-based stage and screen actor Bingo O’Malley (Out of the Furnace, Creepshow), the “psychological murder mystery” follows a retired private eye who once served an extended prison sentence for killing a man he was hired to investigate. He now approaches the completion of his memoir to set the record straight. One night, envelopes containing photographs with connections to the past anonymously begin to show up at his front door, along with a mysterious man (Mark Tierno) who is receiving photographs of his own.

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Corky

From 10 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. on June 24, the festival presents 17 submissions, among them My Name is Joan, a documentary short about a woman who was illegally adopted in the 1950s, and a selection from Italy titled The Rope. Also included is

On Saturday and Sunday, the festival will also present Made In PA, two blocks of films either made in Pennsylvania or by Pennsylvania filmmakers. The chosen selections include director Jes Paul‘s narrative short Promenade and Teaching Peace, a documentary about one man’s mission to spread the virtues of pacifism.

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Promenade

PIFF will also show films hailing from Canada, France, the UK, Israel, and Hungary.

See the complete film schedule at PIFF’s website. Tickets cost $10 for a one-day pass, $15 for a two-day pass, and $20 for a festival pass.

Row House Cinema Turns Three With Belvederes Birthday Bash

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Row House Cinema and Bierport

In 2014, Row House Theater opened in Lawrenceville, making it the first movie theater to operate in the neighborhood since 1965. On June 21, Row House and its sister store, Bierport, will celebrate three years of good films and good beer with a special birthday bash at Belvederes Ultra-Dive.

“It’s a chance to celebrate with our patrons, our vendors, and the Lawrenceville neighborhood. Our success couldn’t be realized without them,” said Row House owner Brian Mendelssohn in a press release.

A video mashup of Row House movies and favorite staff memories will serve as the backdrop for the evening as DJs Selecta and Nate Da Barber keep people moving on the dance floor. Sample some food truck bites from Blue Sparrow, sweet treats by Yummyholic, and crafts by Songbird Artistry. There will also be drink specials and complimentary Row House popcorn, party hats, and kazoos.

Doors open at 9 p.m. Tickets cost $6. Guests with the SRVD app will have access to exclusive drink specials for the evening. As part of the birthday celebration, Row House will also host a week of their favorite films from June 16-22.

Warhol Museum Rolls Out Red Carpet For Stars Of the Silver Screen Exhibit

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Andy Warhol with star Ann Miller/The Warhol Museum

Andy Warhol drew inspiration from his love of Hollywood, fame, and glamor, most notably in his iconic triptychs and films. Now The Warhol Museum puts its namesake’s career-defining fascination on display with a new exhibit.

Opening June 16Andy Warhol: Stars of the Silver Screen shows how Warhol’s interest in celebrity went from attending the cinema with his older brothers in 1930s Pittsburgh to rubbing elbows with some of the biggest stars as the toast of the art world. The collection includes hundreds of archival objects Warhol collected throughout his life, including film posters, fan magazines, photos and other memorabilia, as well the artist’s celebrity scrapbooks. It also includes artworks representing various media.

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Andy Warhola’s childhood movie star scrapbook, ca. 1938-42/The Warhol Museum/The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc.

The second floor of the museum features celebrity drawings and Pop portraits, including Grace Kelly, Elvis Presley, Jane Fonda, and many others. The sixth floor showcases photographs of Warhol Superstars and Factory regulars, posters, and film and video works such as Screen Tests, Andy Warhol’s T.V., and segments from the Warhol films The Chelsea Girls, San Diego Surf, Lonesome Cowboys, and more. Also included are examples of Warhol’s early collage works, such as his movie star composites.

Andy Warhol: Stars of the Silver Screen runs from June 16-September 24. The exhibit will be on view during museum hours and will be included with regular admission prices.

The Pump House Welcomes Tony Buba For ‘Struggles In Steel’ Screening

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‘Struggles In Steel: A Story of African-American Steel Workers’/Braddock Films

In 1996, the locally produced documentary Struggles in Steel: A Story of African-American Steelworkers premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, bringing to light the forgotten contributors to an industry that defined Pittsburgh. On June 8The Battle of Homestead Foundation will present a special screening of the film at the historic Pump House.

When a local television station did a program about the closing of the major steel mills in the Pittsburgh region, Ray Henderson, a former mill worker who had worked in the mills for 18 years, couldn’t help but notice that not one Black worker was shown. This despite the fact that African-American workers had formed a critical part of the labor force in western Pennsylvania for 125 years.

With his old friend and independent filmmaker Tony Buba, Henderson set out to collaborate on a history of African-Americans and their contributions not just to the steel industry, but to the labor movement itself. Through eloquent living witnesses and revelatory archival footage, the film presents a striking counterpoint to the stereotypical Black male image.

Featuring interviews with over 70 African-American workers, Struggles In Steel documents the shameful history of discrimination against Black workers and one heroic campaign where they won equality on the job. (Synopsis courtesy of Braddock Films)

The Struggles in Steel screening takes place from 7-9 p.m. and includes a discussion with Buba. The event is free and open to the public.

Best Limited Releases Coming To Pittsburgh: June 2017 Edition

Churchill – Hollywood Theater & Manor Theatre

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In June 1944, Allied Forces stand on the brink: a million soldiers are secretly assembled on the south coast of Britain, poised to invade Nazi-occupied Europe. One man stands in their way: Winston Churchill (Brian Cox). Fearful of repeating, on his disastrous command, the mass slaughter of 1915, when over 500,000 soldiers were killed on the beaches of Gallipoli. Exhausted by years of war and plagued by depression, Churchill is a shadow of the hero who has resisted Hitler’s Blitzkrieg. Should the D-Day landings fail, he is terrified he’ll be remembered as the architect of carnage. Only the unflinching support of Churchill’s brilliant, unflappable wife Clementine (Miranda Richardson) can halt the Prime Minister’s physical and mental collapse. Churchill opens on June 2 at the Hollywood Theater and on June 5 at the Manor Theatre.

My Cousin Rachel – Manor Theatre

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Rachel Weisz stars in the dark romantic story of a young Englishman who plots revenge against his mysterious, beautiful cousin, believing that she murdered his guardian. But his feelings become complicated as he finds himself falling under the beguiling spell of her charms. My Cousin Rachel opens on June 9 at the Manor Theatre.

I, Daniel Blake – Regent Square Theater

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The new film by British filmmaker Ken Loach won the Palme d’Or at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival. In it, 59-year-old Daniel Blake has worked as a joiner most of his life in Newcastle. Now, for the first time ever, he needs help from the State. He crosses paths with single mother Katie and her two young children, Daisy and Dylan. Katie’s only chance to escape a one-roomed homeless hostel in London has been to accept a flat in a city she doesn’t know, some 300 miles away. Daniel and Katie find themselves in no-man’s land, caught on the barbed wire of welfare bureaucracy as played out against the rhetoric of ‘striver and skiver’ in modern-day Britain. I, Daniel Blake opens on June 16 at the Regent Square Theater.

The Transfiguration – Hollywood Theater

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Writer/director Michael O’Shea’s chilling, atmospheric debut feature follows troubled teen Milo who hides behind his fascination with vampire lore. When he meets the equally alienated Sophie, the two form a bond that begins to challenge Milo’s dark obsession, blurring his fantasy into reality. The Transfiguration opens on June 16 at the Hollywood Theater.

Row House Cinema Presents Pittsburgh Premiere Of ‘David Lynch: The Art Life’

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David Lynch: The Art Life 

Since he broke onto the scene in 1977 with his ultra-bizarre experimental film Eraserhead, David Lynch has remained one of cinema’s most eccentric personalities both on and off screen (check out what he did for his long-time muse, Laura Dern). Now fans will get to see what shaped this curious visionary when Row House Cinema presents the Pittsburgh premiere of David Lynch: The Art Life.

The documentary from Jon Nguyen, Rick Barnes, and Olivia Neergaard looks at Lynch’s art, music, and films, shining a light into the dark corners of his unique world and giving audiences a better understanding of the man and the artist. Shot over a four-year span, the film offers private views from Lynch’s compound and painting studio in the hills high above Hollywood, as he tells personal stories that informed his early works.

David Lynch: The Art Life screens from May 26-June 1 as part of The Artistry of David Lynch week.