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.

Melwood Screening Room Takes Culinary Journey With Documentary Double Feature

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The Vacation

On October 24 and 25, foodies will enjoy a cinematic treat when the Melwood Screening Room presents a short film double feature by Ongoing Box Film Divison.

The 47-minute-long travel documentary The Vacation follows Chef Tom Hambor and Dr. Brad Walter, owners of the Highland Park bakery Food Glorious Food, as they lead a small band of interested travelers through a culinary tour of Italy. Narrated by Maristella Cacciapaglia.

Also screening is director David Bernabo‘s 15 Short Films About Legume. The 36-minute-long film looks back at the 10-year history of the Oakland restaurant Legume through interviews with past and present staff, farmers, and customers.

Both presentations begin at 7 p.m.  Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Tickets cost $10 and are available for the October 24 and October 25 screenings.

Hollywood Theater Resurrects Killer For ‘Victor Crowley’ Pittsburgh Premiere

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Victor Crowley

On October 9, local horror fans will get a special treat when the Hollywood Theater presents the Pittsburgh premiere of Victor Crowley, the secretly produced reboot to the popular Hatchet slasher franchise.

Starring Hatchet mainstays Kane Hodder (Friday the 13th 7 – X) and Parry Shen (Better Luck Tomorrow), the new film from writer/director Adam Green takes you on a horrifying journey into the haunted, blood-drenched bayou. In 2007, 49 people were brutally torn to pieces in Louisiana’s Honey Island Swamp. Over the past decade, lone survivor Andrew Yong’s claims that local legend Victor Crowley was responsible for the horrific massacre have been met with great controversy, but when a twist of fate puts him back at the scene of the tragedy, Crowley is mistakenly resurrected and Yong must face the bloodthirsty ghost from his past.  [Synopsis courtesy of Drafthouse Films]

Victor Crowley screens at 8 p.m. Doors open at 7 p.m. The event includes a special appearance by Adam Green. Tickets cost $15, $12 for Hollywood members.

Steel City Massacre: Pittsburgh Does Halloween 2017

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Creepshow

It’s that time of year again, and Pittsburgh has tons of movie events to get you in the Halloween spirit. Scare yourself all month long with festive horror screenings, parties, and festivals.

The Indie Horror Drive-In Film Festival – Riverside Drive-In Theatre

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Family Possessions

On October 6-7, the Riverside Drive-In Theatre will present a creepy crop of short and feature-length independent works for the second annual Indie Horror Drive-In Film Festival. See schedule below:

October 6:

7:35 p.m. – The Blood Shed

8 p.m. – Close Calls 

10:30 p.m. – Pool Party Massacre

12 a.m. – 3 Dead Trick or Treaters

October 7:

7:35 – 8 p.m. – The Stylist and Knob Goblins

8 p.m. – Circus of the Dead

10 p.m. – Family Possessions

11:45 p.m. – Shorts Block with John The Carpenter, Born Again, and Gwilliam 

12:20 a.m. – Space Babes from Outer Space

Admission to the Indie Horror Drive-In Film Festival costs $8 per night.

Haunted Oaks Film Festival – Oaks Theater

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Blue Mountain Motel: The Innkeeper

On October 7, the Oaks Theater will showcase 13 locally made short films during the Haunted Oaks Film Festival. Selections include Blue Mountain Motel: The Innkeeper by Nathan King and Seth Smiley and the 2016 48 Hour Horror Film Project film When Madness Creeps In. The event also includes a cocktail hour where guests enjoy $5 and mingle with cast, crew and fellow horror lovers, a directors Q&A, and a chance to cast your ballot for the Audience Award. Films begin at 7:30 p.m. Tickets cost $10.

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Manor At Midnight – Manor Theatre

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The freaks come out at night when the Manor Theatre presents their latest Midnight at the Manor movie lineup. The schedule includes David Cronenberg’s The Fly (October 7), the horror comedy What We Do In The Shadows (October 14), a restored print of Night Of The Living Dead (October 20 and 21), and The Shining (October 28). All shows will start at midnight, with the exception of Night Of The Living Dead. Please note that there will be two Night Of The Living Dead shows each evening at 10:45 p.m. and 11:45 p.m.

Row House Cinema: Midnight Edition – Row House Cinema

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Row House Cinema will present three horror hits for their Midnight Edition series. Selections include the 2014 indie Goodnight Mommy (October 7), the J-horror classic Ringu (October 21), and the Guillermo del Toro film The Devil’s Backbone (October 28). Tickets to all shows cost $10.

AMC Waterfront 22: Classic Movie Nights – AMC Loews Waterfront 22

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AMC Loews Waterfront 22 will inject some horror into its Classic Movie Nights series with a few spooky selections. On October 6, it’s the 1975 cult musical Rocky Horror Picture Show, followed by the witchy romantic comedy Practical Magic on October 11, Friday the 13th on Friday, October 13 (of course), The Lost Boys on October 18, Tim Burton’s Beetlejuice on October 25, and The Crow on October 30. Tickets cost $5. VIP seating is also available.

Friday the 13th Movie and Beer Tasting – Oaks Theater

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On October 12, enjoy a bloody good time when the Oaks Theater pairs beer with a screening of the slasher classic Friday the 13th. The 1980 film pits a group of teen camp counselors against a killer with a ruthless vendetta. Event begins at 7:30 p.m. Tickets cost $8.

The Old Dark House – Hollywood Theater

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From October 13-15, the Hollywood Theater resurrects a lost horror gem when it shows the new 4K restoration of The Old Dark House (1932). Bride of Frankenstein director James Whale added a comic spin to his adaptation of the 1927 J. B. Priestley novel Benighted, which follows a group of lost travelers who take refuge in a gloomy, secluded mansion. The atmospheric thriller features a post-Frankenstein Boris Karloff, Melvin Douglas, Charles Laughton, Raymond Massey and Gloria Stuart of Titanic fame. Tickets cost $5-8.

A Celebration of George Romero – Various venues

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Pittsburgh will come together to honor a late horror master when Row House Cinema and company present A Celebration of George Romero. From October 13-19, the week-long tribute will feature screenings and programming presented by several local businesses. Events include Romero movies at Row House Cinema, the “resurrection” of the Pittsburgh zombie store House of the Dead, a mini Zombie School with The ScareHouse, a #RomeroWasHere Scavenger Hunt at Romero film locations throughout Western Pennsylvania, and a horror-themed trivia night at the Row House Cinema sister store, Bierport. The Douglas Education Center will also present makeup and special effects demonstrations by George A. Romero’s Filmmaking Program and Tom Savini’s Special Makeup and Effects Program. Event dates and times are available at the Row House Cinema website.

Living Dead Weekend – Living Dead Museum

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The Living Dead Museum will once again host a weekend of zombie-themed fun for the whole family in Evans City, PA. From October 20-22, enjoy numerous activities in EDCO Park, including discussion panels and meetups with Living Dead cast and crew members, a pet walk and costume contest, parties, vendors, and more. The event will also honor the late George Romero with a double-feature screening of his films Day of the Dead and Knightriders at the Strand TheaterTicket prices vary.

Row House of Horrors – Row House Cinema

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From October 20-31, Row House Cinema scares up more great movies for Row House of Horrors. Selections include the wacky sequel Evil Dead 2, the 1982 American horror classic Poltergeist, the 1993 comedy Hocus Pocus, and director Dario Argento’s 1977 work Suspiria.

Hollywood Theater Halloween Party with The Lost Boys – Hollywood Theater

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On October 21, vamp it up for the annual Hollywood Theater Halloween Party. The event features a vampire theme in honor of the evening’s screening of The Lost Boys, the 1987 film about two brothers who discover their town is a haven for blood-sucking teens. Don your best vampire look and compete in the costume contest, which includes a category for the best 1980’s-inspired vampire. Transform yourself into a Reagan-era monster at the 1980’s hair bar and vampire makeup station. There will also be vendor tables, a raffle, tasty treats, and other scary fun. Doors open at 7 p.m. The screening takes place at 8 p.m. Tickets cost $15, $12 for Hollywood members, $20 day of event. The event is BYOB.

48 Hour Film Horror Project Festival – Oaks Theater

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The Pittsburgh 48 Hour Film Horror Project challenged 19 teams to write, shoot, edit, and score their own horror shorts over the course of a single weekend. On October 28, the resulting films will premiere at the Oaks Theater and compete for a variety of awards. The event begins at 7:30 p.m. Tickets cost $10 and are available at the door.

Silents, Please! Nosferatu with the Andrew Alden Ensemble – Hollywood Theater

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On October 29, the chamber music group Andrew Alden Ensemble will provide live musical accompaniment to the 1922 silent film Nosferatu. Presented as part of Hollywood Theater‘s Silents, Please! series. German director F. W. Murnau‘s adaptation of Bram Stoker’s Dracula follows the blood-thirsty Count Orlok as he relocates from his castle in the Carpathian mountains to a small German town, where he feeds on the unsuspecting populace. Tickets cost $8-10.

Glitter Box Takes On Drug Epidemic With ‘Fix: The Story of an Addicted City’

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Fix: The Story of an Addicted City

As the United States faces a growing opioid crisis and rising drug addiction rates, questions of how best to deal with these issues arise, with many advocating treatment over incarceration and a new War on Drugs. On September 28, Prevention Point Pittsburgh and the Glitter Box Theater will present Fix: The Story of an Addicted City, a documentary about one city’s drug epidemic and the fight to open North America’s first safe-injection site.

Dean Wilson used to be an IBM salesman. Now he is possibly the most outspoken drug addict in Canada. As president of the Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users (VANDU), he is a loud and articulate advocate for street addicts from Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, one of Canada’s poorest neighborhoods, and the site of the highest HIV rate in North America. He finds allies in VANDU organizer Ann Livingston and Philip Owen, the conservative Mayor of Vancouver who alarmed members of his own party by championing a daring new drug philosophy called Harm Reduction, which provides safe injection sites and heroin maintenance programs for long-term addicts. Caught in the middle is Vancouver Police Sargeant Doug Lang, who oversees the corner of Main and Hastings, the heart of North America’s largest open drug scene.

As the Mayor battles members of his own political party, Wilson dares to face his own addiction. The stories of Fix span over two years as characters’ lives interconnect to reveal a battle for the hearts, minds, and streets of a city each one calls home. (Synopsis details courtesy of Canada Wild Productions)

Fix: The Story of an Addicted City screens at the Glitter Box Theater at 7 p.m. Free drinks and snacks will be provided. The event is free and open to the public.

Melwood Screening Room Looks At Anti-Choice Movement With ‘Birthright: A War Story’

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Birthright: A War Story

On September 26, the Melwood Screening Room, in association with Planned Parenthood of Western Pennsylvania (PPWP), will tackle the so-called “anti-choice” movement and the danger it poses to women’s health and reproductive rights with a screening of Birthright: A War Story.

The feature-length documentary examines how women are being jailed, physically violated and even put at risk of dying as a radical movement tightens its grip across America. The film tells the story of women who have become collateral damage in the aggressive campaign to take control of reproductive health care and to allow states, courts and religious doctrine to govern whether, when and how women will bear children. The documentary explores the accelerating gains of the crusade to control pregnant women and the fallout that is creating a public health crisis, turning pregnant women into criminals and challenging the constitutional protections of every woman in America. This is the real-life Handmaid’s Tale.

PPWP will present Birthright: A War Story at 7 p.m. in the Melwood Screening Room. Doors open at 6 p.m. for refreshments and tabling activities. A panel discussion will follow the film. Tickets cost $10 each, $8 for students/youth.

Mr. Roboto Project Looks At The Touring Life With Doc ‘Drive. Play. Sleep.’

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Drive. Play. Sleep.

On September 12, the Mr. Roboto Project will look at what it takes to be a touring indie band with the Pittsburgh premiere of Drive. Play. Sleep.

Pocket Vinyl, a self-described “piano slam rock” duo out of Connecticut, goes on the road to tell the story of every band you’ve never heard of. Filmed at various bars, coffee shops, house shows, and other venues, their documentary provides a first-person view into the lives of full-time touring bands and the daily struggles they encounter, capturing the public moments, private breakdowns, and wild stories when the music stops and the stage is empty.

Drive. Play. Sleep. screens at 8 p.m. A Q&A with Pocket Vinyl will follow.

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Riverside Drive-In Super Monster-Rama Unleashes Sea Beasts And Space Terrors

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The Tingler

From September 8-9, the Drive-In Super Monster-Rama returns to the Riverside Drive-In with a weekend full of spooky, silly, and super weird films. The latest batch offers a mix of beloved cult classics and bizarre gems. See details below:

September 8

The Tingler (1959)

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Vincent Price stars in William Castle‘s wonderfully ridiculous film about a mad scientist who unleashes a creature that feeds on fear.

Munster, Go Home! (1966)

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Based on the hit 1960s TV show, the movie follows the Munster family as they travel to England to claim an estate.

The Horror of Party Beach (1964)

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A seaside town comes under attack by bloodthirsty monsters from the deep in this horror musical. Mystery Science Theater 3000 fans will recognize this one.

Atomic Age Vampire (1960)

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When a woman becomes disfigured in a car accident, a scientist tries to restore her beauty with a treatment that has dire consequences. Despite the misleading title, this Italian horror curiosity does not feature an actual vampire.

September 9

Attack of the 50 Foot Woman (1958)

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In this camp favorite, a woman takes revenge on her cheating husband after an alien encounter transforms her into a giantess.

Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954)

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Scientists stumble upon an aquatic missing link while exploring the Amazon in this sci-fi monster classic.

It! The Terror From Beyond Space (1958)

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An alien life form terrorizes the crew aboard a spacecraft sent to investigate a downed ship. Because of their many similarities, the film is seen as the inspiration behind Ridley Scott’s Alien.

She Demons (1958)

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Three people become stranded on a mysterious island, where they must contend with deformed humanoid women and a Nazi mad scientist.

Half Human (1958)

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The American edit of a Japanese monster movie goes on the hunt for the Abominable Snowman.

Gates open during normal hours at 7 p.m. with films starting at dusk. Each evening will also include an array of vintage monster and exploitation movie trailers, cartoons, and short subjects in between features. Admission is $10 per person each night, free for children 12 and under with parent or adult guardian.

Overnight camping is available on both nights for an additional $10 per person. Gates open early on Friday afternoon for early arrivals and campers. Concessions will be available for lunch as early as possible. Breakfast and access to restroom and shower facilities are provided.

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