Spirit Lodge Welcomes Undead For ‘Meltdown’ Release Party

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Last fall, the locally produced zombie feature Meltdown made its Pittsburgh premiere at Southside Works Cinema. On August 2nd, the film’s cast and crew will host a party at Spirit Lodge celebrating the film’s distribution sale and national release.

Influenced by Shaun of the Dead and Mad Max, the zombie comedy follows Zeke (Robert McMurray), Callie (Alicia Marie Marcucci), Les (Seth Gontkovic) and Hunter (Mulliken) on the eve of Hunter’s 29th birthday as they share in a few drinks on a seemingly dull day in their hometown of Somerset. The day takes a turn for the worse as everyone they have ever known are suddenly transformed into aggressively murderous flesh eating freaks. The four comrades are forced to hack and slash their way through the reanimated corpses of their closest friends and loved ones, only to find themselves on the precipice of a post apocalyptic wasteland littered with monsters and the looming threat of their fellow survivors.

Meltdown was picked up by Gravitas Ventures, a leading distribution company that specializes in bringing independent features to VOD and DVD. The film will hit VOD platforms this fall, and become available for purchase nationwide on DVD at the beginning of 2016.

Jake Mulliken, a professional actor and former educator who directed, produced, and stars in the film, branched into filmmaking after moving to Pittsburgh from California. He organized the event as a way to both showcase Meltdown and pay tribute to his adopted city.

“The purpose of this event is to not only highlight the success of my film, but more importantly to highlight the fantastic talent and members of the Pittsburgh independent film community, as well as the strong independent and entrepreneurial spirit inherent in Pittsburgh.” says Mulliken.

The evening will include a screening, as well as food, drink, and merchandise provided by local vendors. Guests can enjoy beverages from Allura Wine Group, fine meats from Butcher on Butler, and Japanese cuisine from Umami PGH, as well as peruse artwork from Cheryl and Billy Holford of Night Gallery and zombie goods from House of the Dead. There will also be a set from DJ Desus and live music from the band Barbara Perfect, who appeared in the film.

The Meltdown release celebration will begin at 7 p.m. with the film screening at 10 p.m. An afterparty will follow. Admission is $5 and includes the film screening, entrance to the afterparty, and a drink voucher.

Best Limited Releases Coming To Pittsburgh – August 2015 Edition

Tangerine – Harris Theater

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It’s Christmas Eve in Tinseltown and Sin-Dee (newcomer Kitana Kiki Rodriguez) is back on the block. Upon hearing that her pimp boyfriend (James Ransone) hasn’t been faithful during the 28 days she was locked up, the working girl and her best friend, Alexandra (newcomer Mya Taylor), embark on a mission to get to the bottom of the scandalous rumor. Their rip-roaring odyssey leads them through various subcultures of Los Angeles, including an Armenian family dealing with their own repercussions of infidelity. Tangerine opens on August 14th at the Harris Theater.

The Boy – Hollywood Theater

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It’s the summer of 1989. Nine-year-old Ted Henley (Jared Breeze) and his father John (David Morse) are the proprietors of The Mtn. Vista Motel, a crumbling resort buried in the mountains of the American West. Since Ted’s mother left, John has drifted into despondency—becoming a living ghost, haunting the motel—leaving Ted to fend for himself. In this isolation, unchecked by the bounds of parenting, Ted’s darker impulses begin to manifest. The arrival of a mysterious drifter, William Colby (Rainn Wilson), captivates young Ted and the two form a unique friendship – setting the stage for Ted’s final, unnerving metamorphosis. The Boy will screen from August 18th through August 20th at the Hollywood Theater.

Turbo Kid – Hollywood Theater

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In a post-apocalyptic parallel future of 1997, an orphaned teenager called The Kid (Munro Chambers) scavenges the Wasteland searching for relics from a better time. During one of his expeditions he meets Apple (Laurence Leboeuf), a mysterious girl with a rather large secret. As their relationship deepens, they accidentally run afoul of Zeus (Michael Ironside), the self-proclaimed leader of the Wasteland. Zeus, a sadistically droll maniac who murdered The Kid’s parents, now controls the Wasteland’s most precious commodity: fresh water. When Zeus’ gang kidnaps Apple, The Kid joins forces with Frederick, the laconic leader of the legendary Arm-Wrestling Clan. Armed with little more than blind faith and an ancient turbo-charged weapon, The Kid must fulfill his ultimate destiny: destroy Zeus, avenge his parents’ death and get the girl of his dreams. Turbo Kid opens on August 28th at the Hollywood Theater.

Row House Cinema Totally Pauses For ‘Clueless’ Anniversary Event

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In 1995, writer/director Amy Heckerling added a modern twist to Jane Austen with Clueless, a teen comedy about a rich high school student with a killer wardrobe and a philanthropic spirit. The megahit influenced everything from clothing styles to slang, and launched the careers of many of its young stars. On August 2nd, Row House Cinema will celebrate the film’s 20th anniversary with a night of fashionable fun.

Based on the classic novel Emma, Clueless follows Cher Horowitz (Alicia Silverstone), one of the most popular girls at an upper class Beverly Hills high school. When Cher plays matchmaker to two teachers, she decides to continue spreading her newfound sense of good will to Tai (Brittany Murphy), the awkward new girl in desperate need of a makeover. But when Tai’s social status suddenly rises, Cher begins to wonder if she made a mistake, and if she has feelings for her more academic ex-stepbrother, Josh (Paul Rudd). The film also stars Stacey Dash, Jeremy Sisto, Donald Faison, and Breckin Meyer, and boasts a impressive soundtrack featuring such acts as The Beastie BoysLuscious Jackson, Radiohead, and The Mighty, Mighty Bosstones

Don’t leave home without your plaid blazers and chunky heels, because the event will also include a Clueless-inspired fashion contest with prizes. The Clueless 20th anniversary celebration will begin at 7:30 p.m. with the fashion contest, followed by the film at 8 p.m. Tickets are $9 and are available for purchase at the Row House Cinema website.

Pittsburgh Black Pride And Reel Q To Present Short Film Festival

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Pittsburgh Black Pride, one of the country’s longest running pride celebrations for LGBTQ people of color, will celebrate 20 years  this month with 11 days of festivities. On July 27th, the organization joins with Reel Q to present a film festival featuring 90 minutes of shorts focused on LGBTQ people of color. See the selected films below:

Wig

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After ten years together, Kent and Jax can read each other like open books. Then Jax’s mother dies and he steals her wig three days before she is to be buried in it. And just when Kent believes the whole incident couldn’t get any hairier, Jax starts to wear it.

Cherry Waves 

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A story of love, loss, and finding oneself set against the world of underground street fighting.

Crush

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Prom night in the South Bronx, Michael is in for the an evening of horror, hilarity and hope as he decides whether or not to man up and kick it to his high school crush, or punk out and let him walk into the sunset.

Black is Blue 

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Black is a transman who works as a security guard in an apartment complex in Oakland. One night, Black notices an ex- girlfriend partying with some other women in one of the buildings. As none of the other security guards want to watch “the lezzie party,” Black volunteers, thinking he may resolve some inner conflicts from the past. However, things take a turn for the worse.

The Bash

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A gay couple leaving a midnight screening in a seedy area of town get gay bashed and then turn the tables on their attackers and fight back.

The Devotion Project: Foremost in my Mind

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The final film in a series of short documentary portraits of LGBTQ couples and families features Gail Marquis and Audrey Smaltz, two women who met later in life.

Alaska Is A Drag 

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Leo dreams of becoming an international superstar, but these dreams are hard fought stuck working in a fish cannery in Alaska.

The event will begin at 6:30 p.m. at the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh – Homewood. Pittsburgh Black Pride will take place from July 20th through July 31st.

Pittsburgh Wraps It Up For 48 Hour Film Project Premiere

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Over 40 teams signed up for the 2015 Pittsburgh 48 Hour Film Project, an annual festival and competition dedicated to promoting teamwork among filmmakers. After a weekend of intense production – which took place from July 10th through July 12th – the participants are ready to present their original short films for a premiere event spanning three days at the Hollywood Theater.

July 19th

3 p.m.

Group A

Color Negative – Joe Wilson
Confluence Productions – Ted Haynes
Dirty Mirror Productions – Brock Viering
Dynamite Carrot – John James Lynn
Elder Androids – Kyle Mohr
Pittsburgh Game Changers Project – Cheo Tyehimba Taylor
Sinister Dream Productions – Nick Kizina
Team 47 – Lauren Kuntz
The DuBoonatics – Michael Gafner
The Kartwheel Klub – Micah Taylor
Unplanned Comedy – Woody Drennan

July 19th

7 p.m.

Group B

4TWELVE Pictures – Zack Eisenfeld
Beard Machine – Christopher Friedrick
Blue Knight Productions – Ian Livingston
Command Pictures – Maura Snyder
Everything But The Name 1 – Edwin Huang
Flying Penguin Productions – Matthew Haider
Locust Street – Lance Parkin
Long Knuckle Studios – David Kost
Raging Render – Chris Bollinger
Rumble Pack – Mindy Cooper
Scrambled for Life – Russel Douglas
Well Known Strangers – Dave Forman

July 20th

7 p.m.

Group C

Beginnings – Jackie Druga
Carnegie Screenwriters – Bob Scott
Children of the Corman – Darin DiNapoli
Falling October Productions – Alexander Cronin
Procrastination Productions – Corey Becker
Ricecakes – Jessica Lee
Sibling Rivalry – Michelle Wright
Team Visionary – Josh Wendt
Tough Brets – Katie Funaki
USS Improvise – Karen Forney

July 21st

7 p.m.

Group D

Blind Tiger Films – Josh Hausman
Destiny’s Adult – Dan McKosky
Everything But the Name 2 – Nathan Fullerton
Gaff Tape and a Prayer – Mike Hanley
Goat Milk Fudge – PJ Gaynard
Mini Milers – Noah Fatsi
R. Walker Productions – Rodman Walker
ShadowFrame – Jason Boyer
So Fresh! Films – Nick Verzilli
Team MGBGFilms – Bryan Ghingold
Visionary Pioneers – Jeremy St-Hilaire
WallRose Pictures – Michael Ernst

Tickets are $8, $6 for students with valid ID, children, and seniors. Tickets for each individual screening group (Group A, Group B, Group C, and Group D) are available at Brown Paper Tickets. A Best of Screenings event will follow on July 31st at the Hollywood Theater.

Hollywood Theater Spotlights Bad Movies For Rock And Roll Drive-In

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On July 17th, the Hollywood Theater will present Rock and Rock Drive-In, a day full of live music, beer, and some of the weirdest, trashiest retro films around. The screening selections are as follows:

Chained for Life (1952)

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This exploitation film stars real-life conjoined twins, Daisy and Violet Hilton, as two women who go on trial after one sister kills her husband.

The Terror of Tiny Town (1938)

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A cowboy stops a feud between two ranchers in this all-little people musical Western. Some of the cast members played Munchkins in The Wizard of Oz.

Mad Youth (1940)

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A woman and her teenage daughter both fall for the same rumba-cafe gigolo. Also goes by the alternate title Girls of the Underworld.

Omoo-Omoo the Shark God (1949)

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A group of people incur the wrath of a shark god after violating a sacred jungle idol. Loosely based on a novel by Herman Melville.

Reefer Madness (1936)

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Everybody’s favorite anti-drug propaganda film follows a group of teens who spiral out of control after smoking dope.

Rock and Roll Drive-In will also feature music performances by local bands, including Nox BoysVertigo-go, Ninth Ward, Stone Cold Killer, The Goodfoots, and Thunder Vest. The 21 and over event will take place from 6 p.m. until midnight. Tickets are $10 and include two drink tickets courtesy of Penn Brewery.

Hollywood Theater Gives ‘Shock Treatment’ To Midnight Movie Fans

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American cinema reached a whole new level of camp when The Rocky Horror Picture Show became a cult hit. Six years after its 1975 release, the film’s visionaries Jim Sharman and Richard O’Brien followed up with Shock Treatment, a sequel that, while not nearly as successful as its predecessor, still delivered plenty of equally bizarro musical numbers and characters. On July 11th, the Hollywood Theater and the The Junior Chamber of Commerce Players (JCCP) will present both films as part of a special Rocky Horror midnight matinee.

Shock Treatment continues the misadventures of Rocky Horror lovers Janet and Brad (played this time by Jessica Harper and Cliff De Young). The now married couple compete on a TV game show, only to discover they’re part of an insane, drug-fueled plot involving a fast food magnate and a mental hospital run by two wacky siblings. The film features many cast members from the original film, including O’Brien, Patricia Quinn and Little Nell Campbell.

The Hollywood Theater will screen a rare 35mm print of Shock Treatment at 10 p.m. followed by The Rocky Horror Picture Show at 11:45 p.m. Individual tickets are $5 to $8 for a single film, $12 for both films, and are available for purchase at Showclix.

2015 Silk Screen Film Festival Schedule And Highlights

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From July 10th to July 19th, the Silk Screen Film Festival will celebrate its tenth consecutive year with 30 feature films and eight shorts representing countries such as China, India, South Korea, and many more.

The festival kicks off on July 9th with an Red Carpet Gala at Carlow University‘s A.J. Palumbo Hall of Science and Technology. The evening includes live music by Silk Sound and a DJ dance party with Pandemic and Pete Spynda, as well as dance performances by Steel DragonShravani and Subhashini CharyuluBee LawJen Gallagher and Kari Merlina, and Christine Andrews and Maria Hamer. The gala begins at 6 p.m. Tickets are $125 and are available for purchase at the Silk Screen website.

The schedule begins with the opening night film Theeb at Regent Square Theater. Set in 1916 Wadi Rum, the story of brotherhood and betrayal follows Theeb, a boy who lives with his Bedouin tribe in a forgotten corner of the Ottoman Empire. Having recently lost his father, it falls to Theeb’s brother, Hussein, to raise him. Hussein tries to teach Theeb the Bedouin way of life, but the young boy is more interested in mischief than mentorship. Their lives are interrupted with the arrival of a British Army Officer and his Guide on a mysterious mission. Unable to refuse help to his guests for fear of dishonouring his late father’s reputation, Hussein agrees to escort the pair to their destination, a water-well on the old pilgrimage route to Mecca. Fearful of losing his brother, Theeb chases after Hussein and embarks on a treacherous journey across the Arabian Desert. The screening begins at 7 p.m. Tickets are $20 and are available for purchase at the Silk Screen website

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The festival continues with films such as the acclaimed Tangerines. Set in 1992, during the growing conflict between Georgia and Abkhazian separatists in the wake of the Soviet Union’s dissolution, the story focuses on two Estonian immigrant farmers who decide to remain in Georgia long enough to harvest their tangerine crop. When the war comes to their doorsteps, Ivo (Estonian actor Lembit Ulfsak) takes in two wounded soldiers from opposite sides. The fighters vow to kill each other when they recover, but their extended period of recovery has a humanizing effect that might transcend ethnic divides. Tangerines will screen on July 11th and July 16th at Regent Square Theater.

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Also showcased is Dukhtar, Pakistan’s official entry to the 87th Academy Awards. The road trip thriller – which serves as the directorial debut of Afia Nathaniel –  follows a mother who goes on the run with her ten-year-old daughter to save the girl from an arranged marriage to a tribal leader. Dukhtar will screen at a special Centerpiece Presentation on July 16th at Regent Square Theater. Tickets are $15 and are available for purchase at Showclix.

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The festival will also spotlight two films from Vietnam, including Nuoc 2030, a dystopian mystery about young woman seeking the truth about the murder of her husband, whom she suspects has been killed by the people of a floating farm. Also featured is Flapping in the Middle of Nowhere, a drama about a young couple in Hanoi who resort to desperate measures to raise money for an abortion. Both films will screen at Pittsburgh Filmmakers.

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The festival will conclude with Miss India America. The lighthearted selection follows Lily, an Orange County high schooler whose strict life plan involves becoming a brain surgeon like her father and marrying her boyfriend, Karim. But her plan is derailed when Karim runs off with Reshma, the reigning Miss India National beauty queen. Not happy about losing at anything, Lily decides that she herself must become the new Miss India National. Miss India America will screen on July 19th at the Melwood Screening Room. Tickets are $20 and are available at Showclix.

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Also included is the Indian drama Chotoder Chobi, the episodic South Korean feature Futureless Things, and the Thai coming-of-age story How to Win at Checkers (Every Time). See a complete film schedule on the Silk Screen website.

Screenings will take place at the Melwood Screening Room and Regent Square Theater. Directions to the venues can be found on the festival website. Tickets are $20 for the opening night reception, and $15 for the closing film. Those interested can purchase a four-pack of tickets for $30. Individual films are $10, $5 with a student ID.

2-Minute Film Festival Brings The Silver Screen To CMOA

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Over the course of her nearly 30-year career, Jacqueline Humphries emerged as a singular force in contemporary art with her signature abstract works in metallic and ultraviolet pigments. On June 11th, the Carnegie Museum of Art (CMOA) unveiled her first solo museum exhibition in nearly a decade, and the first to include both her silver and black-light paintings. On July 9th, the annual 2-Minute Film Festival (2MFF) will pay tribute to the show with The Silver Screen, which features works that draw inspiration from Humphries’ paintings.

For this installment, filmmakers were asked to examine the aesthetics of a classical cinema genre–from noir, epics, and Westerns to screwball comedies, musicals, and science fiction—or take up its narrative tropes, characters, and themes. The 28 entries come from around the country and the globe, including some from as far as Turkey, Argentina, and Iran. Those interested can view the films and vote for their favorite one online at the CMOA website.

The 2015 2-Minute Film Festival will take place at 7:30 p.m. in CMOA’s outdoor Sculpture Court. The event will begin with food and beverages, followed by the screenings at 9:15 p.m. Tickets are $15, $10 for museum members, and are available for purchase at the CMOA website. The Jacqueline Humphries exhibit will continue through October 5th.

Best Limited Releases Coming To Pittsburgh – July 2015 Edition

The Overnight – Hollywood Theater

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Alex (Adam Scott), Emily (Taylor Schilling), and their son, RJ, have recently moved to Los Angeles’ Eastside from Seattle. Feeling lost in a new city, they are desperate to find their first new friends. After a chance meeting with Kurt (Jason Schwartzman) at the neighborhood park, they gladly agree to join family pizza night at the home. But as it gets later and the kids go to bed, the family “playdate” becomes increasingly more revealing and bizarre as the couples begin to open up. The Overnight opens on July 3rd at the Hollywood Theater.

Saint Laurent – Harris Theater

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Gaspard Ulliel plays one of the 20th century’s greatest fashion designers in director Bertrand Bonello‘s biopic. The film depicts Yves Saint Laurent‘s life at the peak of his career, when, from 1967 to 1976, he became an icon of the industry. Saint Laurent opens on July 3rd at the Harris Theater.

Amy – Manor Theatre

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The latest documentary from BAFTA award-winning director Asif Kapadia (Senna) tells the story of six-time Grammy-winner Amy Winehouse. A pure jazz artist in the most authentic sense, she wrote and sung from the heart using her musical gifts to analyze her own problems. The combination of her raw honesty and supreme talent resulted in some of the most unique and adored songs of the modern era. Her huge success, however, brought relentless and invasive media attention which, coupled with Amy’s troubled relationships and precarious lifestyle, saw her life tragically begin to unravel, resulting in her untimely death at age 27. The film features extensive unseen archive footage and previously unheard tracks. Amy opens on July 10th at the Manor Theatre.

Felt – Harris Theater

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Amy is hanging on by a thread. Struggling to cope with past sexual trauma and the daily aggressions of a male-dominated society, she creates grotesquely costumed alter egos that re-appropriate the male form. While giving her the sense of power she craves, acting as these characters pushes her further into a world of her own making. When she begins a new relationship with a seemingly good guy, she opens herself up to him – but that vulnerability comes at a dangerous cost, and her alter egos threaten to lash out in explosive violence. Based on the real experiences and art of co-writer/star Amy Everson, Felt doesn’t just point a finger at rape culture; it takes a full on swing at it, creating a feminist psychological thriller that audiences will be hard-pressed to shake off. Felt opens at the Harris Theater on July 10th and runs through July 16th.

A Pigeon Sat On A Branch Reflecting on Existence – Regent Square Theater

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Like a modern day Don Quixote and Sancho Panza, Sam and Jonathan, two traveling salesmen peddling novelty items, take us on a kaleidoscopic wandering through human destiny. It is a journey that unveils the beauty of single moments, the pettiness of others, the humor and tragedy hidden within us, life’s grandeur as well as the ultimate frailty of humanity. A Pigeon Sat On A Branch Reflecting on Existence opens on July 24th at Regent Square Theater.