Best Limited Releases Coming To Pittsburgh: August 2018 Edition

Generation Wealth – Regent Square Theater

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Director Lauren Greenfield’s (The Queen of Versailles) postcard from the edge of the American Empire captures a portrait of a materialistic, image-obsessed culture. Simultaneously photographic journey, memoir, and historical essay, the film bears witness to the global boom-bust economy, the corrupted American Dream and the human costs of late-stage capitalism, narcissism and greed. Generation Wealth opens on August 3 at the Regent Square Theater.

Skate Kitchen – Manor Theater

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In the first narrative feature from The Wolfpack director Crystal Moselle, Camille, an introverted teenage skateboarder (newcomer Rachelle Vinberg) from Long Island, meets and befriends an all-girl, New York City-based skateboarding crew called Skate Kitchen. She falls in with the in-crowd, has a falling-out with her mother, and falls for a mysterious skateboarder guy (Jaden Smith), but a relationship with him proves to be trickier to navigate than a kickflip. Skate Kitchen opens on August 10 at the Manor Theater.

Elizabeth Harvest – Harris Theater

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Elizabeth (Abbey Lee), a beautiful young newlywed, arrives at the palatial estate of her brilliant scientist husband Henry (Ciaran Hinds). Ensconced in modernist luxury with an obedient—if slightly unsettling—house staff (Carla Gugino and Matthew Beard), she has seemingly everything she could want. But one mystery tantalizes her: what is behind the locked door to Henry’s laboratory that he has forbidden her to enter? When an inquisitive Elizabeth dares to find out, everything she thought she knew about her husband—and about herself—will change. The film casts a spell of creeping Gothic menace as it unravels a disturbing tale of identity, obsession, and twisted love. Elizabeth Harvest opens on August 24 at the Harris Theater.

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GrossFest Showcases Diverse Array Of Indie Horror

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Slaughter Drive

On July 28GrossFest, a convention dedicated to indie horror filmmakers and fans, will debut at George Washington Hotel in Washington, PA with a day full of movies (including some local ones), vendors and more. See featured films below:

She Was So Pretty (2016)

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Valerie Vestron is looking for a vacation from her life. Her friends get her out of the house and to a secluded cabin. They plan to throw back some beer and unwind for the weekend, but they get more than they bargained for.

10/31 (2017)

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A Halloween treat bag of all the things that go bump in the night. From masked killers to scarecrows, witches, and tricksters, there’s a scare for everyone in this anthology of horror and the macabre. The film is the directorial debut for Rocky Gray, the former drummer of the band Evanescence, and includes a vignette from Justin M. Seaman of the Pittsburgh-produced horror indie, The Barn.

B-Documentary Part Two (2018)

GrossFest will present the premiere of the follow-up to B-Documentary, a film about independent filmmakers starting their careers, film vs. digital, how to make it in the business without giving in to Hollywood standards, and more.

Slaughter Drive (2017)

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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 RudzinskiDavid OgrodowskiJack Davis, and Vincent Bombara.

Fist of Jesus (2012)

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Jesus fights zombies with fish and performs other great deeds in this bizarre Spanish-language short film by David Muñoz and Adrián Cardona.

CarousHELL (2016)

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Duke hates his job. He has to let kids climb on his back and ride him for hours every single day. But one brat finally pushed him too far. Duke has broken free of his ride and is on a bloody rampage of revenge. He’s going to murder that kid and anyone that gets in his way.

Winners Tape All (2016)

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The story of Michael and Richard Henderson, two stepbrothers from West Virginia who saw an opportunity in the burgeoning VHS market in the 1980s and made their own backyard horror movies, The Curse of Stabberman and Cannibal Swim Club. These films would’ve been long forgotten, but a recent resurgence in horror fans collecting rare VHS tapes has put the Henderson Brothers back in the spotlight. Thanks to their biggest fan, they’re sitting down for their first on-camera interview and looking back on their movies – but they might not be as good as they remembered.

The Litch (2018)

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Rotting flesh crawled out the ditch. He’s not a demon or a witch. Run for your life, here comes the Litch!

Doors for GrossFest open at 11 a.m. The program includes a GrossFest awards ceremony at 4 p.m. 

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Row House Gets Neighborly With Pittsburgh Children’s International Film Festival

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Won’t You Be My Neighbor?/Focus Features

From July 27August 2, Row House Cinema will present the 2018 Pittsburgh International Children’s Film Festival, a celebration featuring a curated selection of international movies and short films, storytimes, treats, craft activities, and more.

The event includes works from the Czech Republic, Russia, Japan, and 11 other countries, as well as classic and new kid-friendly films.

“This year’s selections include artful and beautiful animation and thoughtful storylines that are engaging for adults and children,” said festival director Brian Mendelssohn in an official press release. “We’re so excited to bring them to Pittsburgh.”

The festival opens with Won’t You Be My Neighbor?, the acclaimed documentary about children’s television pioneer and Pittsburgh hero, Fred Rogers. For over 30 years, Rogers, an unassuming minister, puppeteer, writer, and producer, was beamed daily into homes across America. In his beloved television program, Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, he and his cast of puppets and friends spoke directly to young children about some of life’s weightiest issues, in a simple, direct fashion. In Won’t You Be My Neighbor?, Academy Award-winning filmmaker Morgan Neville (Twenty Feet from Stardom) looks back on the legacy of Rogers, focusing on his radically kind ideas. The screening includes a special guest speaker and Mr. Rogers themed t-shirts from Steel City on sale in the lobby.

The lineup showcases compilations of the best short films from the 2018 New York International Children’s Film Festival, the narration-free insect documentary Microcosmos, and The Oddsockeaters, a Czech film about strange sock-stealing creatures. Also included are the classic 1971 fantasy film Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory and the 2018 Disney/Pixar blockbuster Incredibles 2.

The festival will also host the premiere of Joana and the Bad Guys, a 25-minute stop-motion film written, filmed, and produced by kindergarten students at the Kentucky Avenue School in Shadyside.

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Row House Cinema will play movies at a lower volume to protect young ears and provide kid-friendly snacks at storytime screenings and sock puppet making.  In the spirit of the festival, children are welcome to move around the theater, chat, and just be kids.

Movie tickets can be purchased individually, or a pass is available to see unlimited films for the entire week.

 

Regent Square Theater Heads Into Deep Space With Sci-Fi Thriller ‘5th Passenger’

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On July 7, Pittsburgh sci-fi fans can expect a treat when the Regent Square Theater presents an exclusive, one-time screening of the original science fiction thriller 5th Passenger.

Set in 2151, after the Yellowstone Caldera volcano erupts throwing the Earth into chaos, 5th Passenger tells the story of a secretly pregnant female officer and her four-man crew adrift in deep space in an escape pod after their transport ship explodes before reaching the new home planet. They fight amongst themselves as they run low on air, but must work together to find a vicious alien hiding aboard their craft before it kills them all. The film features cast members from Star Trek, Stargate, and Pan’s Labyrinth, an Emmy award-winning crew, and an award-winning screenplay.

5th Passenger screens at 7 p.m. at the Regent Square Theater. Tickets cost $8.

Best Limited Releases Coming To Pittsburgh: July 2018 Edition

Sorry to Bother You – Manor Theatre

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In an alternate present-day version of Oakland, black telemarketer Cassius Green (Lakeith Stanfield) discovers a magical key to professional success – which propels him into a macabre universe. Written/directed by Boots Riley, the film also stars Tessa Thompson, Armie Hammer, Danny Glover, and Terry Crews. Sorry to Bother You opens on July 6 at the Manor Theatre.

Woman Walks Ahead – Harris Theater

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Based on true events, Woman Walks Ahead tells the story of Catherine Weldon (Jessica Chastain), a widowed artist from New York who, in the 1880s, traveled alone to North Dakota to paint a portrait of Chief Sitting Bull (Michael Greyeyes). Her arrival at Standing Rock is met with open hostility by a US Army officer (Sam Rockwell), who has stationed troops around the Lakota reservation to undermine Native American claims to the land. As Catherine and Sitting Bull grow closer, and as their friendship—and his life—are threatened by government forces, Catherine must stand up and fight for what is most important to her. Woman Walks Ahead opens on July 7 at the Harris Theater.

Damsel – Harris Theater

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Samuel Alabaster (Robert Pattinson), an affluent pioneer, ventures across the American Frontier to marry the love of his life, Penelope (Mia Wasikowska). As Samuel traverses the Wild West with a drunkard named Parson Henry (David Zellner) and a miniature horse called Butterscotch, their once-simple journey grows treacherous, blurring the lines between hero, villain and damsel. A loving reinvention of the western genre from the Zellner brothers (Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter). Damsel opens on July 13 at the Harris Theater.

Former Hollywood Theater Group Debuts New Film Series And Venue

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After the Hollywood Theater in Dormont changed hands during a contentious buyout by the Theatre Historical Society of America, local film fans questioned what would happen to the dynamic programming offered by the theater’s former management, the Friends of the Hollywood Theater. Now known as Jump Cut Theater, the group will present Alternative Content, a brand new monthly screening series, at the site of their future theater at 241 East Main Street in Carnegie. Jump Cut Theater plans to temporarily transform the space – formerly the home of The Flying Squirrel – into an informal screening room to showcase 16mm film projections.

Debuting on June 9, the first Alternative Content includes selections from the personal 16mm film collections of creators Joseph Morrison, a Jump Cut Theater programmer, and Steven Haines of Flea Market Films.

The multimedia show will also feature a screening of the classic 1948 film noir He Walked By Night. When a Los Angeles police officer is savagely gunned down, a city-wide manhunt ensues for his cunning and ruthless killer. But finding the murderer, chillingly played by Richard Basehart, proves difficult for Detective Marty Brennan (Scott Brady) and his colleagues as Basehart’s Roy Morgan is always one step ahead of the law. Will modern police methods and sheer determination be enough to find the elusive cop-killer before he strikes again? Cinematographer John Alton’s brilliant use of light and shadows shine in this groundbreaking police procedural directed by Alfred L. Werker, along with an uncredited Anthony Mann. Co-written by John C. Higgins (Raw Deal) and Crane Wilbur (The Phenix City Story), it also features Jack Webb who went on to create and star in the aforementioned Dragnet. [Synopsis courtesy of Classic Flix]

Audiences will also get the chance to explore additional oddball formats of media, as stereo photography, vintage stereoviews, and film strips will all be on display before the scheduled screening.

Doors open at 7 p.m. at the 241 East Main Street location. Tickets cost $5-7.

Best Limited Releases Coming To Pittsburgh: June 2018 Edition

Early Man – Row House Cinema

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Set at the dawn of time, when prehistoric creatures roamed the Earth, the latest stop-motion animated feature from Nick Park tells the story of courageous caveman hero Dug (Eddie Redmayne) and his best friend, Hognob, as they unite their tribe against a mighty enemy — Lord Nooth (Tom Hiddleston) and his Bronze Age City — to save their home. Early Man opens on June 8 at Row House Cinema. The film is part of Row House’s New Animated Films week.

Hereditary – Manor Theatre

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When Ellen, the matriarch of the Graham family, passes away, her daughter’s family begins to unravel cryptic and increasingly terrifying secrets about their ancestry. The more they discover, the more they find themselves trying to outrun the sinister fate they seem to have inherited. The horrific feature debut from writer-director Ari Aster stars Toni Collette, Alex Wolff, and Milly Shapiro, with Ann Dowd and Gabriel ByrneHereditary opens on June 8 at the Manor Theatre.

Oh Lucy! – Harris Theater

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Setsuko (Shinobu Terajima), a single, emotionally unfulfilled woman, is seemingly stuck with a drab, meaningless life in Tokyo. At least until she’s convinced by her niece, Mika (Shioli Kutsuna), to enroll in an unorthodox English class that requires her to wear a blonde wig and take on an American alter ego named Lucy. The new identity awakens something dormant in Setsuko, and she quickly develops romantic feelings for her American instructor, John (Josh Hartnett). When John suddenly disappears from class, Setsuko travels halfway around the world in search of him, and in the outskirts of Southern California, family ties and past lives are tested as she struggles to preserve the dream and promise of Lucy. Oh Lucy! opens on June 15 at the Harris Theater.

Film Pittsburgh Presents 2018 Robinson International Short Film Competition Gala

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On May 22, Film Pittsburgh presents the seventh annual Robinson International Short Film Competition Gala at the SouthSide Works Cinema. Open to independent filmmakers worldwide, the event showcases short works that contain an essence of Jewishness as represented by theme, history or culture. Film Pittsburgh received 108 entries from 13 countries including Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Greece, Israel, Italy, Poland, Russia, Ukraine, the UK, and the US.

See the featured films and their descriptions below:

116 Cameras (dir. Davina Pardo)

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A Holocaust survivor preserves her story interactively so that she will be able to tell it forever. (US, 16 minutes)

The Driver is Red (dir. Randall Christopher)

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Set in Argentina 1960, this true crime documentary follows the story of secret agent Zvi Aharoni as he hunted down one of the highest-ranking Nazi war criminals on the run. (US, 15 minutes)

Large Soldier (dir. Noa Gusakov)

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It’s 1973, wartime in Israel, and all that 15-year-old Sherry wants is a boyfriend. A letter exchange with an unknown soldier makes her believe that he’s going to be her first love. But what will happen when the imaginary soldier becomes real? (Israel, 23 minutes)

Life Will Smile (dir. Drey Kleanthous)

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Narrated by Haim Konstantini, this documentary relays not only his story of the dramatic events during WWII, but also the story of every one of the 275 Jews that evaded the Nazis on the island of Zakynthos. (Greece, UK, 35 minutes)

Wendy’s Shabbat (dir. Rachel Myers)

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This short documentary follows a group of Jewish senior citizens who celebrate their weekly Shabbat at the local Wendy’s fast food restaurant, with Hebrew blessings over burgers and fries. This is a story of rediscovering the joys of community again in older age, and in the longing for ritual, however unorthodox it may appear. (US, 10 minutes)

The gala begins at 7:30 p.m. and will feature the Pittsburgh premieres of all five films, an awards ceremony where three filmmakers will receive a total of $18,000 in cash prizes, and a catered reception. Tickets cost $12, $6 for students 26 and under with ID.

Row House Cinema Spotlights Music Pioneers With ‘Here To Be Heard: The Story Of The Slits’

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In celebration of Ladyfest Pittsburgh, an annual three-day festival featuring all-female and female-fronted bands and acts, Row House Cinema will present a benefit screening of Here to be Heard: The Story of The Slits, a documentary about the world’s first all-girl punk band.

Formed in London in 1976, The Slits are considered the pioneering godmothers of the musical movement known as  “Punky Reggae.” The film tells the story of the band and the lives of the women involved, from the band’s inception to its end in 2010 coinciding with the death of lead vocalist Ari Up. The documentary – originally a project started by Ari and Slits tour manager and friend Jennifer Shagawat – includes previously unseen footage of the band and interviews from Slits members Viv Albertine, Ari, Palmolive, Tessa Pollitt, Bruce Smith, and Hollie Cook, fellow musicians like Sex Pistols drummer Paul Cook and Raincoats bass played Gina Birch, and much more.

Here to be Heard: The Story of The Slits screens at 6:30 p.m. on May 15 at Row House Cinema. The event includes an introduction from the film’s director, William Badgely, and a performance by Brazilian Wax. Tickets cost $13, $11 for Row House Film Club members. $3 from every ticket sold goes directly to Ladyfest Pittsburgh 2018, which will take place from June 15-17 at various venues.

Anime Film ‘Lu Over The Wall’ Dives Into AMC Loews Waterfront 22

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Lu Over the Wall/GKIDS

This month, GKIDS will bring an exclusive anime treat to Pittsburgh when they present their new film Lu Over the Wall at AMC Loews Waterfront 22.

From visionary anime auteur Masaaki Yuasa (Devilman Crybaby) comes a joyously hallucinogenic but family-friendly take on the classic fairy tale about a little mermaid who comes ashore to join a middle-school rock band and propel them to fame. Kai is talented but adrift, spending his days sulking in a small fishing village after his family moves from Tokyo. His only joy is uploading songs he writes to the internet. When his classmates invite him to play keyboard in their band, their practice sessions bring an unexpected guest: Lu, a young mermaid whose fins turn to feet when she hears the beats, and whose singing causes humans to compulsively dance – whether they want to or not.

As Kai spends more time with Lu, he finds he is able to tell her what he is really thinking, and a bond begins to form. But since ancient times, the people in the village have believed that mermaids bring disaster and soon there is trouble between Lu and the townspeople, putting the town in grave danger. Winner of the Grand Prize at the prestigious Annecy Animation Festival and an official selection of Sundance 2018. [Synopsis courtesy of GKIDS]

Lu Over the Wall opens on May 11 at AMC Loews Waterfront 22.