Hollywood Theater Offers Chills And Thrills With Janu-Scary Horror Film Festival

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From January 25-February 1, the Hollywood Theater will give horror fans reasons to brave the cold when they present a selection of new and beloved films for its Janu-Scary event. The selections include a previously unreleased cut of Suspiria, a Norwegian horror comedy and a special double feature from Dread Central Presents. See film descriptions and schedule below:

January 25

9 p.m.

Dread Central Presents: Zombiology & Turbo Kid 

the Hollywood Theater joins with the horror blog and entertainment company Dread Central to present a double feature of Zombiology and Turbo Kid.

Zombiology (2017)

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When a monster from a popular animated show appears and starts a zombie outbreak, it’s up to eccentric duo Lung and Chi-Yeung to stand up and fight in this action-packed horror selection from Hong Kong.

Turbo Kid (2015)

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In a post-apocalyptic future, a young solitary scavenger obsessed with comic books must face his fears and become a reluctant hero when he meets a mysterious girl.

January 26-February 1

Mom and Dad (2017)

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Nicolas Cage and Selma Blair star in this pitch-black horror -comedy about a worldwide mass hysteria where, for 24 brutal hours, parents turn violently against their own children.

January 26 & 30

Trench 11 (2017)

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As World War One reaches its bloody climax, a team of Canadian, British and American troops investigate a top-secret underground German base, only to find a highly contagious biological weapon that turns its victims into mindless killers.

January 27

2 p.m.

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The Gate (1987)

A young Stephen Dorff stars in this cult horror classic about a suburban kid who accidentally opens a demonic portal in his backyard. Screens on 35mm.

9 p.m.

Suspiria

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The Hollywood Theater will screen a newly discovered, uncut 35mm Italian print of Suspiria, courtesy of the Chicago Cinema Society. Widely hailed as the most shocking and hallucinatory horror movie in history, director Dario Argento‘s 1977 masterpiece stars Jessica Harper as a young American ballet student who arrives at a prestigious European dance academy and is confronted by a series of bizarre and horrific deaths.

January 28 & 31

The Midnight Man (2016)

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Alex is a typical teenage girl who lives with her sick grandmother, Anna (Lin Shaye). While searching through the attic, Alex finds directions to a game, which played properly, will awaken “The Midnight Man,” an evil being who will make your worst nightmare come true. At first, Alex and her friends think the game is harmless fun. It is—until The Midnight Man comes to play for real. When Dr. Goodberry (horror legend Robert Englund) comes to the house to check on Anna, he can sense The Midnight Man’s presence, and warns the kids that when The Midnight Man comes to play, he plays to win.

January 29 & February 1

Vidar the Vampire (2017)

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Vidar Haarr is a 33-year-old, sexually frustrated bachelor farmer who leads a Christian, monotonous, and strenuous working life on his mother’s farmstead in the Western outskirts of Norway. In a desperate attempt to break free from routine, Vidar prays to a higher power to grant him a life without boundaries. Unfortunately, his prayers are heard, and Vidar wakes up one evening as the Prince of Darkness in sin city, Stavanger.

Tickets for individual films are available for purchase on the Hollywood Theater website or at the door. Guests can also purchase a Janu-Scary festival pass to see five films for $30 (Dread Central Presents: Zombiology & Turbo Kid and Suspiria are not included with the pass).

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Hollywood Theater Gets Drawn Into Annual Animation Show of Shows

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From January 19-25, the Hollywood Theater will present the 19th annual Animation Show of Shows, a program that brings new and innovative short films to audiences at animation studios, schools and, since 2015, theaters around the world. Over the years, 36 of the films showcased went on to receive Academy Award nominations, with 10 films winning the Oscar.

The current touring program includes 16 animated shorts from around the world that have a “special resonance, presenting compelling ideas about our place in society and how we fit into the world.”

“Because animation is such a natural medium for dealing with abstract ideas and existential concerns, the Animation Show of Shows has always included a number of thoughtful and engaging films,” states founder and curator Ron Diamond in a press release. “However, more than in previous years, I believe that this year’s program really offers contemporary animation that expresses deeply felt issues in our own country and around the world.”

Included is Niki Lindroth von Bahr‘s Grand Prix-winning The Burden, a film that explores the tribulations, hopes, and dreams of a group of night-shift employees, and David OReilly’s Everything, a procedural, AI-driven simulation inspired by the late philosopher Alan Watts. The show also features selections from Pixar and Disney veterans, a 50-year-old restored short, and other treats from filmmakers working in hand-drawn, stop motion, and 3D animation.

See a list of films below, along with synopses and images courtesy of Animation Show of Shows:

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Can You Do It

Can You Do It (Quentin Baillieux, France): Joyfully mixing incongruous elements from the highbrow world of horse racing and the “mean” urban landscape, this beautifully designed music video explodes preconceptions of race and class as cultures gracefully collide on the streets and freeways of Los Angeles. The infectious track by L.A. artist Charles X, whose music combines strains of hip-hop, soul, and jazz, is perfectly realized in the stylized blend of abstraction and representation, languidness and kineticism, in this evocative nocturnal fantasy.

Tiny Big (Lia Bertels, Belgium): A series of seemingly unrelated vignettes expressed through simple black-and-white line drawings, punctuated with occasional surprising bursts of color. Underscored by a soundtrack featuring the sounds of nature – wind, waves, crickets – the film eschews narrative, challenging viewers to draw their own conclusions about the significance of ritualized actions in a world that’s both hauntingly familiar and decidedly strange.

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Next Door

Next Door (Pete Docter, U.S.): An over-imaginative young girl drives her middle-aged neighbor crazy with her noisy adventures until a shared enthusiasm brings them together. Directed by two-time Oscar-winner Pete Doctor when he was a student at Cal Arts, Next Door is a wonderful evocation of the power of imagination and the possibility of finding common ground.

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The Alan Dimension

The Alan Dimension (Jac Clinch, UK): Sometimes having special powers beyond those of most mortals doesn’t work out all that well (especially for your long-suffering wife), as this very funny tongue-in-cheek fable amply demonstrates. Blessed – or cursed – with the gift of precognition, the eponymous Alan discovers that being “the next step in cognitive evolution” can wreak havoc with your domestic life – and lead to some hard choices.

Beautiful Like Elsewhere (Elise Simard, Canada): As much about light, color, texture, and sound as it is about “story,” Beautiful Like Elsewhere evokes a mysterious dreamscape of shimmering tableaux that seem to exist just on the edge of consciousness. Populated by human and nonhuman organisms, classical images and pure form, this allusive world, which may be a vision of the afterlife, hints at a deeper level of awareness and meanings beyond words.

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Hangman

Hangman (Paul Julian and Les Goldman, U.S.):  Originally produced in 1964 and restored by the Animation Show of Shows, Hangman is an adaptation of a poem by Maurice Ogden about a town that allows its citizens to be executed one by one. With its universal themes of persecution, injustice and personal responsibility, this powerful film speaks to all eras and nations and may be seen to have particular relevance in our own time.

The Battle of San Romano (Georges Schwizgebel, Switzerland): Georges Schwizgebel’s “deconstruction” of a painting by Paolo Uccello (1397-1475) is a meditative and hypnotic exploration of the visual elements that comprise Uccello’s masterpiece, which itself is renowned for the skill with which the artist brings order to the chaos of armed conflict. Yet, with its deliberative pacing and haunting score, the film is more than simply a masterful exegesis of color, form, and space, evoking deeply felt emotions about the nature of conflict and the horrors of war.

Gokurosama

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Gokurosama (Clémentine Frère, Aurore Gal, Yukiko Meignien, Anna Mertz, Robin Migliorelli, and Romain Salvini, France): Channeling the spirit of Charlie Chaplin – or perhaps Jacques Tati – this very funny tale of a series of unfortunate events in a Japanese mall displays both an impressive attention to detail and great comic timing. Even if you’re not a fan of chiropractic, grown men dressed as fuzzy animals, automated conveyances, garish décor, and/or robotic cleaning devices, Gokurosama will show you how, when you put all of these together, it spells highly entertaining animated mayhem.

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Dear Basketball

Dear Basketball (Glen Keane, U.S.): Directed and animated by Disney veteran Glen Keane and scored by legendary composer John Williams, this moving short film brilliantly brings to life a poem written by Los Angeles Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant on the occasion of his imminent retirement from the sport he loves. Chronicling Kobe’s journey from a young boy shooting baskets with rolled-up socks to his arrival at the pinnacle of basketball celebrity, Dear Basketball pays tribute to the ideal of pursuing one’s dream, as well as having the wisdom to know when it’s time to move on to the next challenge.

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Island

Island (Max Mörtl and Robert Löbel, Germany): A host of fanciful flora, fauna, and geological formations go about their daily lives in this engaging and highly imaginative foray into the wilds of a strange and colorful world. Accompanied by hissing, wheezing, whistling and tweeting, the action takes on increasing urgency, ending in a surprising climax that’s as natural as it is unexpected

Unsatisfying (Parallel Studio, France): Unsatisfying is about those frustrating, annoying, disappointing little things of everyday life, those little “not such a big deal, but still…” moments that make you cringe. It was inspired by those “most satisfying” videos, which can be found all over the internet, that relate a series of enjoyable moments to contemplate. The slightly retro design and warm reassuring colors, which seem to come from the end of a nice summer day, contrast with the unpleasant situations and emphasize the frustration of the endings.

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My Burden

My Burden (Niki Lindroth von Bahr, Sweden): If Ingmar Bergman had made stop-motion animations with singing, dancing animals, they might have looked a little like this. Set in a small commercial park, this melancholy and mordantly funny film (which could have been titled “Existential Angst – The Musical”) explores the tribulations, hopes, and dreams of the denizens of this downscale microcosm of Western society. At once bitingly satirical and genuinely moving, “The Burden” is a beautifully realized paean to despair.

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Les Abeilles Domestiques

Les Abeilles Domestiques (Alexanne Desrosiers, Canada): Usually it’s not a good sign when a film opens with death walking in the door; however, in this wry short, the appearance of the Grim Reaper (who exits again as quickly as he arrived) is just one of several intersecting stories that unfold within the hive-like confines of the film’s tranquil universe. Deftly playing with narrative structure – while challenging the viewer to keep up – Les Abeilles Domestiques is a masterful exercise in “deconstruction” that’s both extremely clever and highly entertaining.

Our Wonderful Nature: The Common Chameleon (Tomer Eshed, Germany): The common chameleon is equipped with double-sided vision, a remarkable camouflage ability, and a tongue that can stretch out twice the length of its body. Despite all of its advantages, it has yet to develop appropriate countermeasures against its biggest weakness. This cautionary tale reminds us yet again that sometimes there can be too much of a good thing, especially if our powers of discernment leave something to be desired.

Casino (Steven Woloshen, Canada): This jazzy, impressionistic depiction of the iconography and energy of a gambling casino (a favorite destination of director Steven Woloshen’s late father, to whom the work is dedicated) is all the more impressive for having been created in Woloshen’s signature style of drawing directly onto the film. With Oscar Peterson’s “Something Coming” as its upbeat soundtrack, the film is a breathlessly kinetic and visually dazzling representative of the possibilities of nontraditional animation techniques.

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Everything

Everything (David OReilly, U.S): Based on the work of philosopher Alan Watts, who was instrumental in popularizing Eastern religion in the West, this brilliantly conceived and executed short explores the interconnectedness of the universe and the multiplicity of perspectives that underlie reality. Like Watts himself, the film is both playful and profound, and its unique iconography – from somersaulting bears to interstellar flora – allows it to convey weighty ideas with lightness and lucidity.

Tickets to the Animation Show of Shows are available for purchase on the Hollywood Theater website or at the door.

Local Groups Highlight Inspiring Doc With ‘STEP’ Screening And Panel

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STEP/Fox Searchlight Pictures

On January 18, the August Wilson Center will host a special screening event for STEP, a new documentary about a group of girls and the transformative role dance plays in their lives. The event is presented by local activist Felicity Williams, Esq.Gwen’s Girls, the Black Girls Equity Alliance, and the See the Best in Me initiative.

Director Amanda Lipitz captures the true-life story of a girls’ high-school step team against the background of the heart of Baltimore. These young women learn to laugh, love and thrive – on and off the stage – even when the world seems to work against them. Empowered by their teachers, teammates, counselors, coaches, and families, they chase their ultimate dreams: to win a step championship and to be accepted into college. This all-female school is reshaping the futures of its students’ lives by making it their goal to have every member of their senior class accepted to and graduate from college, many of whom will be the first in their family to do so. Deeply insightful and emotionally inspiring, STEP embodies the true meaning of sisterhood through a story of courageous young women worth cheering for. [Synopsis courtesy of Fox Searchlight Pictures]

The event includes a post-screening panel of young Black women in Allegheny County discussing their journey through the education system, the path to higher education, and the support they and other Black girls need in our region.

The STEP screening and panel begins at 5:30 p.m. with food, followed by the screening and panel from 6:308:30 p.m. The film is rated PG and will have closed captioning. Register for free at Eventbrite.

African Film Festival Brings Seven Powerful Films To Alphabet City

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Sisters In Law (2005, Cameroon)

Alphabet City will play host to the 9th International African Film Festival. Produced by the Sembène Film & Arts Festival, the event will showcase seven films from five countries that cover a variety of important cultural, social and political issues and perspectives in the African Diaspora. The selections include powerful narrative works about the Black experience, profiles of influential musicians, and award-winning documentaries. See below for screenings and details:

January 16

7 p.m.

But Then, She’s Betty Carter (1980, USA)

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An unforgettable portrait of legendary vocalist Betty Carter, one of the greatest living exponents of jazz. Uncompromised by commercialism throughout her long career, she has forged alternative criteria for success—including founding her own recording company and raising her two sons as a single parent.

January 29

7 p.m.

Black Girl (1966, Sénégal/France)

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A young Senegalese woman who moves to France to work for a wealthy white family finds that life in their small apartment becomes a prison, both figuratively and literally. Black Girl is a harrowing human drama as well as a radical political statement—and one of the essential films of the 1960s.

February 12

7 p.m.

Rahsaan Roland Kirk: The Case Of The Three Sided Dream (2014, USA)

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The story of multi-instrumentalist Rahsaan Roland Kirk, who went from blind infant to child prodigy, to adult visionary, to political activist, and finally to paralyzed showman. A seemingly superhuman musical force who played literally until the day he died. Kirk was more than a blind musician who could play three horns at once, more than one of the most exciting and amazing sax players who ever lived. Beyond the ability to play multiple melodies at the same time, he was a warrior against racial injustice, fought for people with disabilities, and was a tireless campaigner for a wider appreciation of Jazz. Packed with electrifying archival footage of Kirk and his music, intimate interviews, and inspired animated sequences, Adam Kahan’s film is an absorbing look at the man who wouldn’t even let partial paralysis keep him from pursuing what he called “The Religion of Dreams.

February 26

7 p.m.

Freedom Never Dies: The Legacy of Harry T. Moore (2001, USA)

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This powerful documentary explores the life and times of an enigmatic leader, a distinguished school teacher whose passionate crusade for equal rights could not be discouraged by either the white power structure or the more cautious factions of his own movement. Although Moore’s assassination was an international cause célèbre in 1951, it was overshadowed by following events and eventually almost forgotten. Narrated by Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee.

March 5 

7 p.m.

Sisters In Law (2005, Cameroon)

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The award-winning documentary from Kim Longinott and Florence Ayisi follows two feisty and progressive-minded women who dispense wisdom, wisecracks, and justice in fair measure, handing down stiff sentences to those convicted. In the little town of Kumba, Cameroon, there have been no convictions in spousal abuse cases for 17 years. But two women determined to change their community are making progress that could change their country. This fascinating, often hilarious doc follows the work of State Prosecutor Vera Ngassa and Court President Beatrice Ntuba as they help women fight often-difficult cases of abuse, despite pressures from family and their community to remain silent.

March 26 

7 p.m.

The Hero (2004, Angola)

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Grand Prize Winner of the World Dramatic Competition at the 2005 Sundance Film Festival, The Hero is the story of a 20-year veteran of the Angolan civil war who finds assimilation into the chaotic life of the capital city of Luanda a challenge in this affecting drama.

April 23

7 p.m.

Taking Root: The Vision of Wangari Maathai (2008, Kenya)

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Directors Lisa Merton and Alan Dater tell the inspiring story of the Green Belt Movement of Kenya and its unstoppable founder, Wangari Maathai, who, in 2004, became the first environmentalist and first African woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize. Taking Root illustrates the development of Maathai’s holistic worldview and model for sustainable development.

Each screening is free and open to the public and will be followed by a community Q&A with a guest moderator. RSVP at the Alphabet City website.

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Best Limited Releases Coming To Pittsburgh: January 2018 Edition

Faces Places – Row House Cinema

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89-year old Agnes Varda, one of the leading figures of the French New Wave, and acclaimed 33-year-old French photographer and muralist JR teamed up to co-direct this enchanting documentary/road movie. Kindred spirits, Varda and JR share a lifelong passion for images and how they are created, displayed and shared. Together they travel around the villages of France in JR’s photo truck meeting locals, learning their stories and producing epic-size portraits of them. The photos are prominently displayed on houses, barns, storefronts and trains revealing the humanity in their subjects, and themselves. Faces Places documents these heart-warming encounters as well as the unlikely, tender friendship they formed along the way. Faces Places opens on January 5 at the Row House Cinema and will screen as part of the theater’s New Documentary Showcase.

Call Me By Your Name – Manor Theatre

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In the summer of 1983, in the north of Italy, Elio Perlman, (Timothée Chalamet) a 17-year-old American spends his days in his family’s 17th-century villa lazily transcribing music and flirting with his friend Marzia (Esther Garrel). One day Oliver (Armie Hammer), a 24-year-old graduate student working on his doctorate arrives as the annual summer intern tasked with helping Elio’s father (Michael Stuhlbarg), an eminent professor specializing in Greco-Roman culture. Soon, Elio and Oliver discover a summer that will alter their lives forever. Directed by Luca Guadagnino and written by James Ivory, is based on the novel by André AcimanCall Me By Your Name opens on January 19 at the Manor Theatre.

Mary and the Witch’s Flower – Row House Cinema

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From Academy Award-nominated animator Hiromasa Yonebayashi comes a dazzling new adventure about a young girl named Mary, who discovers a flower that grants magical powers, but only for one night. Mary is an ordinary young girl stuck in the country with her Great-Aunt Charlotte and seemingly no adventures or friends in sight. She follows a mysterious cat into the nearby forest, where she discovers an old broomstick and the strange Fly-by-Night flower, a rare plant that blossoms only once every seven years and only in that forest. Together the flower and the broomstick whisk Mary above the clouds, and far away to Endor College – a school of magic run by headmistress Madam Mumblechook and the brilliant Doctor Dee. But there are terrible things happening at the school, and when Mary tells a lie, she must risk her life to try to set things right. Mary and the Witch’s Flower opens on January 19 at the Row House Cinema.

Lover for a Day – Regent Square Theater

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After a devastating breakup, the only place 23-year-old Jeanne has to stay in Paris is the small flat of her father, Giles. But when Jeanne arrives, she finds that her father’s new girlfriend has moved in too: Arianne, a young woman her own age. Each is looking for their own kind of love in a city filled with possibilities. Directed by Philippe GarrelLover for a Day premiered in the Directors’ Fortnight at Cannes, where it was awarded the SACD prize from the French Writers and Directors Guild, and is an Official Selection of the 2017 New York Film Festival. Lover for a Day opens on January 19 at Regent Square Theater.

Southside Works Cinema Welcomes The Man Behind ‘My Friend Dahmer’

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My Friend Dahmer

In 2012, artist John “Derf” Backderf released My Friend Dahmer, a memoir-style graphic novel about his teenage friendship with serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer. The work went on to become a huge success and, not surprisingly, was adapted into a soon-to-be-released feature film. On December 1-2Southside Works Cinema will welcome Backderf for two screenings of My Friend Dahmer.

Jeffrey Dahmer murdered 17 men and boys in the American Midwest, becoming one of history’s most infamous serial killers. This is the story before that story. Jeff is an awkward teenager struggling to make it through high school with a family life in ruins. His bizarre behavior at school attracts unexpected friends, a group of band-nerds who form The Dahmer Fan Club, headed by Derf Backderf (Alex Wolff). But as they near graduation, Jeff’s depravity continues to take hold, and he spirals further out of control. Written for the screen and directed by Marc Meyers, the film stars Ross Lynch of Disney Channel fame and Alex Wolff.

The special My Friend Dahmer screening events will take place on December 1 at 7:30 p.m.  and on December 2 at 2:20 p.m. Q&As with Backderf will follow both shows. Tickets are available online or at the Southside Works Cinema box office.

Best Limited Releases Coming To Pittsburgh: December 2017 Edition

The Disaster Artist – Manor Theatre

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With The Disaster Artist, James Franco transforms the tragicomic true-story of aspiring filmmaker and infamous Hollywood outsider Tommy Wiseau—an artist whose passion was as sincere as his methods were questionable—into a celebration of friendship, artistic expression, and dreams pursued against insurmountable odds. Based on Greg Sestero’s best-selling tell-all about the making of Tommy’s cult-classic disasterpiece The RoomThe Disaster Artist is a hilarious and welcome reminder that there is more than one way to become a legend—and no limit to what you can achieve when you have absolutely no idea what you’re doing. The Disaster Artist opens on December 1 at the Manor Theatre.

Thelma – Harris Theater

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Thelma, a shy young student, has just left her religious family in a small town on the west coast of Norway to study at a university in Oslo. While at the library one day, she experiences a violent, unexpected seizure. Soon after, she finds herself intensely drawn toward Anja, a beautiful young student who reciprocates Thelma’s powerful attraction. As the semester continues, Thelma becomes increasingly overwhelmed by her intense feelings for Anja – feelings she doesn’t dare acknowledge, even to herself – while at the same time experiencing more extreme seizures. As it becomes clearer that the seizures are a symptom of inexplicable, often dangerous, supernatural abilities, Thelma is confronted with tragic secrets of her past, and the terrifying implications of her powers. Thelma screens from December 1-7 at the Harris Theater.

Wait for Your Laugh – Hollywood Theater

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Rose Marie’s rise to fame began at the age of four with her own NBC radio show. As she grew, she went from the stages of Vaudeville to the bright lights of Vegas, to some of the most iconic television shows. But it’s not just credits like The Dick Van Dyke Show and Hollywood Squares that make her life so memorable. Characters like Al Capone, Bugsy Siegel, and Jerry Lewis all played a part in this woman’s story of fame, love, tragedy, and success. Her 90-year career is also the greatest untold story in show business. Wait for Your Laugh screens from December 1-7 at the Hollywood Theater.

Sembène Film & Arts Festival Brings Powerful Documentaries And More To Alphabet City

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Beasts of the Southern Wild

The Sembène Film & Arts Festival launches their 9th season at Alphabet City. From November 2 – 9, the event includes important films and readings. See below for schedule and details:

November 2

7 p.m.

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The Untold Story of Emmet Till

The Untold Story of Emmett Louis Till articulates the madness of racism in the South of the 1950s. Combining archival photos and footage with deeply felt interviews, this documentary tells the harrowing story of what happened when a mischievous 14-year-old black boy from Chicago, visiting his relatives in Mississippi, whistled at a white woman in the street. The lynching that followed was so gruesome that a media circus surrounded the trial–and what stunned the nation was not only the crime but the blithe unconcern the citizens of a small Mississippi town felt toward the brutal murder of a black teenager.

Herb Boyd, co-author of Simeon’s story: An Eyewitness Account of the Kidnapping of Emmet Till, will moderate a post-film discussion. Tickers are free.

November 3

7 p.m.

Journalist and activist Herb Boyd will present a reading and discussion of his latest book, Black Detroit: A People’s History of Self-Determination, a groundbreaking history of the struggles and resilience of African Americans from the city’s birth 200 years ago until the present. Tickets are free.

November 5

11 a.m.

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Kids and Family Event: Beasts of the Southern Wild 

In a forgotten but defiant bayou community cut off from the rest of the world by a sprawling levee, a six-year-old girl, Hushpuppy (Quvenzhané Wallis), exists on the brink of orphanhood. Buoyed by her childish optimism and extraordinary imagination, she believes that the natural order is in balance with the universe until a fierce storm changes her reality. Desperate to repair the structure of her world in order to save her ailing father and sinking home, this tiny hero must learn to survive unstoppable catastrophes of epic proportions. Tickets are free.

Journalist Herb Boyd will lead a post-film discussion.

November 9

7 p.m.

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Chasing Trane

Set against the social, political and cultural landscape of the time, Chasing Trane brings saxophone great John Coltrane to life, as a man and an artist. The film is the definitive look at the boundary-shattering musician and composer whose influence continues to resonate around the world. Coltrane’s incredible story is told by his children and biographers, the musicians who worked with him (Sonny Rollins, McCoy Tyner, Benny Golson, Jimmy Heath, Reggie Workman), musicians inspired by his artistry and vision (Common, The Doors’ John Densmore, Wynton Marsalis, Carlos Santana, Wayne Shorter, Kamasi Washington), and many others. Narration provided by Denzel Washington.

K. Mensah Wali of Kente Arts Alliance, who followed Coltrane throughout his career, will lead a post-film discussion. Tickets are free.

Dinner at Alphabet City’s in-house Casellula Cheese & Wine Cafe is available for before, after or during events. Advance reservations are recommended.

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Hollywood Theater Has A Killer Time With ‘Slaughter Drive’

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Slaughter Drive

On October 26, the Hollywood Theater will present Slaughter Drive, a slasher comedy from the Pittsburgh-based production company BPO Films.

When failed filmmaker Doug Stevenson leaves his video camera in the local park overnight, he accidentally records something horrific. To top it off, it might have something to do with his new neighbors that moved into his quiet suburban neighborhood. With the help of his bumbling teacher buddies, Doug goes on a wild ride to save himself, his friends, his ex-wife, and the entire neighborhood. Directed by Ben Dietels and starring Steve Rudzinski, David Ogrodowski, Jack Davis, and Vincent Bombara.

Slaughter Drive screens at 7:30 p.m. Guests are encouraged to wear their best Halloween costume for a contest to win a BPO DVD prize pack. Tickets cost $5 at the door.

August Wilson Center Hosts First Pittsburgh Shorts Film Festival

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Pittsburgh Shorts Film Festival. Image courtesy of Film Pittsburgh.

From October 25-29, the August Willson Center will screen 90 films from 20 countries for the first-ever Pittsburgh Shorts Film Festival. Presented by Film Pittsburgh, the event will feature special programs, visiting filmmakers, parties, and more.

The festival opens with an opening night showcase of eight films, including Rated. The award-winning short follows Maggie, a wife and mother who must find the courage to own up to her behavior when she wakes up to find every adult has received a YELP-like star rating floating above their head. While most everyone has a shining 4 and 5-star rating, Maggie’s got just 2.5.

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Rated

The event also includes an after-party with drinks, schmoozing, and food provided by Big Burrito. Tickets for Opening Night cost $15-25.

From there, the festival includes a diverse array of films, including a family matinee with eight kid-friendly shorts. Among the local films presented are three selections from the annual Pittsburgh 48 Hour Film Project.  The group includes Girl Seeking Wood, the story of a young Amish woman whose life changes forever when she finds a cell phone.

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Girl Seeking Wood

Those looking for a fright should check out the Thrills and Chill Program featuring 10 indie horror shorts, including Great Choice, an Overlook Film Festival selection about a woman who gets stuck in a Red Lobster commercial. There’s also a Halloween bash with a photo booth, food and drinks, and a live DJ.

Purchase tickets for individual Pittsburgh Shorts Film Festival programs or invest in a $50 weekend pass that covers three days, 70-plus films, and the Halloween bash.