Best Limited Releases Coming To Pittsburgh – April 2015 Edition

Ballet 422 – Harris Theater

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Cinematographer and documentarian Jody Lee Lipes crafts an intimate, fly-on-the-wall documentary offering a rare peek into the highly-guarded world of professional ballet. The film shadows Justin Peck, the 25-year old choreographer of the New York City Ballet, as he undertakes the Herculean task of creating the company’s 422nd original piece while simultaneously fulfilling his role as a Corps de Ballet member. Lipes chronicles Peck’s creative process from its embryonic stages to its highly anticipated premiere, quietly observing as he balances a roster of musicians, designers, and dancers from this famed institution. Ballet 422 opens at the Harris Theater on April 3rd.

Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter – Hollywood Theater

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In this darkly comedic odyssey, Academy Award nominee Rinko Kikuchi (Babel, Pacific Rim) stars as Kumiko, a frustrated Office Lady whose imagination transcends the confines of her mundane life. Kumiko becomes obsessed with a mysterious, battered VHS tape of a popular film she’s mistaken for a documentary, fixating on a scene where a suitcase of stolen cash is buried in the desolate, frozen landscape of North Dakota. Believing this treasure to be real, she leaves behind Tokyo and her beloved rabbit Bunzo to recover it – and finds herself on a dangerous adventure unlike anything she’s seen in the movies. Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter opens at the Hollywood Theater on April 3rd.

White God – Manor Theatre

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Winner of the Prize Un Certain Regard Award at the 2014 Cannes Festival, Kornel Mundruczo’s newest film is a story of the indignities visited upon animals by their supposed “human superiors,” but it’s also an brutal, beautiful metaphor for the political and cultural tensions sweeping contemporary Europe. When young Lili is forced to give up her beloved dog Hagen, because it’s mixed-breed heritage is deemed ‘unfit’ by The State, she and the dog begin a dangerous journey back towards each other. At the same time, all the unwanted, unloved and so-called ‘unfit’ dogs rise up under a new leader, Hagen, the one-time housepet who has learned all too well from his ‘Masters’ in his journey through the streets and animal control centers how to bite the hands that beats him. White God opens at the Manor Theatre on April 10th.

Spring – Hollywood Theater

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When his ailing mother dies, Evan (Lou Taylor Pucci) realizes his life isn’t going anywhere. Grabbing his last paycheque, he decides to go on the European graduation trip that he never got a chance to take. Picking a destination at random, he arrives in Italy, where he backpacks and parties with other tourists. But everything changes for Evan when he arrives in an idyllic southern town and meets the enchanting Louise (German actress Nadia Hilker). A tender romance begins to bloom between the two — but Louise harbours a dark, primordial secret that could destroy the happiness they’re just beginning to build. Spring opens at the Hollywood Theater on April 17th.

Italian Film Festival USA Kicks Off At University Of Pittsburgh

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The Italian Film Festival USA is organized by the Italian Film Festival of St. Louis, a nonprofit organization dedicated to educating audiences about Italy by promoting films that might not otherwise see release in the United States. From March 26th through April 18th, the event – which will take place at 11 cities nationwide – will kick off at the University of Pittsburgh and feature seven works that display the range and vitality of contemporary Italian filmmaking. See festival schedule and details below:

March 26th
7 p.m.

The Mafia Kills Only in Summer (La mafia uccide solo d’estate)

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The story of Arturo’s attempt to win the heart of his beloved Flora plays out during Sicily’s most tragic events from the 1970s to the 1990s. At this screening, Fabio Troisi, director of the Italian Cultural Institute of New York, will officially open the festival. The Mafia Kills Only in Summer (La mafia uccide solo d’estate) will screen at the Andrew Carnegie Free Library and Music Hall.

March 27th

7 p.m.

Remember Me? (Ti ricordi di me?)

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Roberto, a kleptomaniac and author of scary fairy tales, and Bea, an elementary school teacher who suffers from narcolepsy and unpredictable memory losses, meet in front of their therapist’s office. A determined and comedic courtship begins between the two. Remember Me? (Ti ricordi di me?) will screen in the Frick Fine Arts Auditorium.

March 28th

8:30 p.m.

Gold Will Set You Free (Oro Macht Frei)

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The documentary tells the story of the Roman Jewish experience during the Nazi occupation of Rome from September 1943 to June 1944. It weaves the testimony of nine Roman Jews together with historical research. Gold Will Set You Free (Oro Macht Frei) will screen at the Frick Fine Arts Auditorium.

April 10th

7 p.m.

The Referee (L’Arbitro)

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A young emigrant, Matzutzi, returns to his hometown to resurrect the worst soccer team in the Sardinian bush league, the Atletico Pabarile, which has been beaten every year by a team from nearby Montecrastu. The story of the two teams alternates with that of Cruciani, a professional referee whose ambitions are to rise to the international level. Director Paolo Zucca will attend the screening, and Giuseppina Mecchia, Pitt associate professor of French and Italian and director of graduate studies in French, will introduce the film and conduct a Q&A session. The Referee (L’Arbitro) will screen at Frick Fine Arts Auditorium.

April 11th

7 p.m.

Like The Wind (Come il vento)

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The story of Armida Miserere, one of the first women prison wardens, who is called upon during her career to oversee the most dangerous prisons in Italy. She is haunted by the murder of her fiancé and condemned to search for justice and love in the penitentiary system. Like The Wind (Come il vento) will screen at the Frick Fine Arts Auditorium.

April 17th

7 p.m.

Quiet Bliss (In grazia di Dio)

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The story of four women in a small town in Salento, at the tip of the heel of Italy, during the economic crisis. The failure of the family business and resulting repossession of their home seem to destroy everything, including family bonds. The only way to survive is for the women to move to the country and farm the land. Quiet Bliss (In grazia di Dio) will screen in the Frick Fine Arts Auditorium.

April 18th

7 p.m.

Song of Napoli (Song‘e Napule)

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Paco is a refined but unemployed pianist. His mother gets him a job with the police, but his complete ineptitude relegates him to a judiciary warehouse. Then one day, the police commissioner arrives and needs a pianist to infiltrate a band that will perform at the wedding of the daughter of the mafia boss of Somma Vesuviana. Paco must risk his life in the line of duty. Song of Napoli (Song‘e Napule) will screen in the Frick Fine Arts Auditorium.

Festival attendees can partake in an audience competition by rating films on a scale of one to five stars. Ballots collected from all screenings on the national tour will determine which selection will win the Best Film Award. All films will include English subtitles when necessary. All screenings are free and open to the public.

Regent Square Theater Makes A Date With Local Doc ‘Aspie Seeks Love’

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Local filmmaker and musician Julie Sokolow created the documentary short series Healthy Artists as a way to raise awareness about the lack of healthcare options for working artists. She teamed up with Danny Yourd, the producer behind the Sundance award-winning film Blood Brother, and the local media group Animal to make her first feature-length movie, Aspie Seeks Love, a charming tale about one man’s search for a mate. On March 26th, the film, which recently premiered at Cinequest, will make its Pittsburgh debut at the Regent Square Theater.

The documentary follows a fearless outsider who has been searching for love longer than many of us have been alive. David Matthews has spent the past 20 years posting personal ad fliers to telephone poles seeking love – fliers that double as art pieces featuring witty, humorous prose, pop culture references, and suave photos of the artist. He wasn’t diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome until age 41, at which point his entire life changed, including his strategy for winning the love of women and achieving his artistic dreams.

Aspie Seeks Love will screen at 7 p.m. A Q&A with Sokolow, Yourd and Matthews will follow. Tickets are $10 and are available for purchase at Eventbrite

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Hollywood Theater Screens Classic Comedy For Guest Programmer Series

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The Hollywood Theater’s Guest Programmer Series launched last year with movie events curated by Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto, Mt. Lebanon native Gillian Jacobs, and chef/restaurateur Kevin Sousa. On March 22nd, the historic theater will embark on the next installment of the series with Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood actor David Newell. Newell, who played Mr. McFeely on the beloved PBS show, will present two films, the 1934 W.C. Fields comedy It’s a Gift and the 1932 Laurel and Hardy short The Music Box.

It’s A Gift stars Fields as an unhappy grocer who buys a California orange grove, only to realize that his new investment isn’t the promising business opportunity he expected. The Music Box showcases Laurel and Hardy in a classic scenario as two bumbling movers struggling to push a grand piano up a steep flight of stairs.

In addition, Newell and Hollywood Theater Executive Director Chad Hunter will mark the occasion with the official launch of the new Pittsburgh chapter of the international Laurel and Hardy fan organization Sons of the Desert. The new chapter, called Swiss Miss Tent #319 (after the 1938 Laurel and Hardy film Swiss Miss), will meet quarterly at the Hollywood Theater to watch Laurel and Hardy films and to help preserve the legacy of the legendary comic duo.

The program will also include an introduction and autographs with Newell, a pre-show performance on the Hollywood’s theater organ by Pittsburgh Area Theater Organ Society President Dale Abraham, and a sweater drive benefiting a local shelter. Each person who brings a gently-used sweater will receive a free small popcorn at the concession stand.

Doors for David Newell Presents: It’s a Gift and The Music Box open at 2 p.m. followed by the film program at 3 p.m. The organ performance will take place at 2:30 p.m. Tickets are $8, $6 for seniors 65 and over, children 12 and under, and students with valid ID, and are available for purchase at Showclix.

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2015 CMU Faces Of Work Festival Schedule And Details

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The 2015 Carnegie Mellon University International Film Festival lineup will examine the theme “work as passion” with 19 award-winning films from 14 countries. Now in its ninth season, Faces of Work will take place at various local venues from March 19th through April 11th, and will include director appearances, panel discussions, presentations and culinary displays relevant to the film’s themes.

March 19th

7 :15 p.m.

A Master Builder (USA, 2013)

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Regent Square Theater will host the opening night film A Master Builder, a tense, troubling exploration of ego and power from the creators of My Dinner with André and Vanya on 42nd Street, and adapted from Henrik Ibsen’s classic masterpiece of theatrical realism. Wallace Shawn stars as Halvard Solness, a viciously domineering architect attempting to make amends with his wife, mistress and employees as he nears the end of his life. Jonathan Demme, Oscar-winning director of the Pittsburgh-filmed Silence of the Lambs, will present at the screening.

Prior to the screening, Faces of Work and the CMU School of Drama will present the director Q&A Face to Face with Jonathan Demme from 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. at the Philip Chosky Theatre in the Purnell Center for the Arts. The event is open to the public. Tickets are $10 general admission, free for CMU drama students.

March 20th

7:15 p.m.

Dior and I (USA/France, 2014)

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Dior and I brings the viewer inside the storied world of the Christian Dior fashion house with a privileged, behind-the-scenes look at the creation of Raf Simons’ first haute couture collection as its new artistic director—a true labor of love created by a dedicated group of collaborators. Melding the everyday, pressure- filled components of fashion with mysterious echoes from the iconic brand’s past, the film is also a colorful homage to the seamstresses who serve Simons’ vision. The screening will take place in CMU’s McConomy Auditorium and includes access to a Fashion and Design Exhibition and a reception provided by La Gourmandine.

March 21st

7:15 p.m.

Secret Sharer (UK/China/Poland, 2014)

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The adaptation of Joseph Conrad’s book tells the story of a Polish captain’s first command that goes awry in the South China Sea. When his crew abandons ship, the young captain is left alone on board – until he finds a Chinese woman in distress, floating in the water. Dawn comes a few hours later and so does a search party led by the woman’s husband, followed by the crew, all looking for a murderer. The Secret Sharer screening will take place in CMU’s McConomy Auditorium and will include a reception and appearance by the film’s writer/director Peter Fudakowski (Tsotsi).

March 22nd

2:30 p.m.

ShortFACES Student Film Competition

Presented in part by the Art Institute of Pittsburgh, the 2015 ShortFACES Student Film Competition gathered submitted student works from Pittsburgh and around the world to undergo evaluation by a panel of jurors. The event will feature the competition finalists and an announcement of the Top Four award winners, followed by a networking reception. The ShortFACES Student Film Competition will take place at Melwood Screening Room.

5 p.m.

Bad Hair (Venezuela, 2014)

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Nine-year-old Junior (Samuel Lange Zambrano) has “bad hair.” He wants to have it straightened for his yearbook picture, like a fashionable pop singer. This puts him at odds with his mother Marta (Samantha Castillo). The more he tries to look sharp and make his mother love him, the more she rejects him, until he is cornered, face to face with a painful decision. ReelQ President Mitch Leib will moderate a Q&A with director Mariana Rondón after the film. Bad Hair will screen in in CMU’s McConomy Auditorium.

March 24th

6:30 p.m.

A Dangerous Game (UK/Croatia, 2014)

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The sequel to You’ve Been Trumped examines our ability to protect what’s left of our vanishing and fragile natural world. Director Anthony Baxter takes us on a journey to other global hot spots where rapacious developers – often in cahoots with local officials – are using golf as a smokescreen to build massive luxury resorts that end up costing the earth. A Dangerous Game will screen in CMU’s McConomy Auditorium and includes an appearance by Baxter.

9:15 p.m.

The Dabbawallas (India/USA, 2004)

Every day 4,000 dabbawallas pick up more than 100,000 lunches at homes in Mumbai, India, and deliver the lunches to their places of work. The dabbawallas (or “box people”) sort the lunches multiple times and transport them by bicycle, cart and train. Paul S. Goodman , an esteemed filmmaker and CMU professor who passed away in 2012, captures this more than 100-year-old work system in his documentary. The Dabbawallas will screen in CMU’s McConomy Auditorium.  Includes a special guest appearance by film director Abhay Kumar.

March 25th

7:15 p.m.

Placebo (India, 2014)

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After witnessing an act of brutal violence, a filmmaker goes undercover in one of the greatest educational institutes of India to investigate the rising incidents of violence amongst some of the best minds in the nation. Four students agree to be filmed for a year as a part of this investigative experiment. What follows is a dark yet fascinating journey through the celebrated hallways of excellence, carved by ambition and success- and those who pass through it must battle monsters; both within and without. What the world outside sees as success is only a grand start to the battle which lies ahead. Placebo will screen in CMU’s McConomy Auditorium and includes an appearance by Abhay Kumar.

March 26th

4 p.m.

Placebo (India, 2014)

Placebo will screen in Aquinas Hall 106 at Carlow University.

7 p.m.

Bronx Obama (USA, 2013)

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When Louis Ortiz shaved off his goatee one day in 2008, his life changed forever. He looked in the mirror and he didn’t see himself – a middle-aged, unemployed Puerto Rican father from the Bronx. He saw the face of change, of hope, of money. The debut film from Ryan Murdock tells the strange and improbable tale of a Barack Obama impersonator who tries to cash in on the “look of a lifetime” and chases a fevered American dream from opportunity to oblivion. Bronx Obama will screen in CMU’s McConomy Auditorium. Murdock will attend along with Ortiz, who will take Polaroid shots with interested guests.

March 27th

4:30 p.m.

Ghosts of Amistad (Sierra Leone, 2014)

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Inspired by Marcus Rediker’s The Amistad Rebellion: An Atlantic Odyssey of Slavery and Freedom, the documentary by director Tony Buba chronicles a trip to Sierra Leone in 2013 to visit the home villages of the people who seized the slave schooner Amistad in 1839. Buba and his crew interview elders about local memory of the case, and search for the long-lost ruins of Lomboko, the slave trading factory where the transatlantic voyage began.  The film uses the knowledge of villagers, fishermen, and truck drivers to recover a lost history from below in the struggle against slavery. Ghosts of Amistad will screen at the Harris Theater and includes an appearance by Buba.

7:15 p.m.

I Am Here (China, 2014)

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Lixin Fan, director of the award-winning Last Train Home, takes a very different look at contemporary China with a documentary that follows the eager young hopefuls who audition for the country’s most famous televised singing competition. I Am Here will screen in CMU’s McConomy Auditorium and includes a reception and mock singing competition.

March 28th

7:15 p.m.

Fair Play (Czech Republic, 2014)

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Young Czech athlete, Anna (Judit Bárdos), comes under state pressure to use illegal anabolic steroids while training for a spot at the 1984 Olympic games. Fair Play will screen in CMU’s McConomy Auditorium and includes a reception, a Skype Q&A with director Andrea Sedláčková, and a screening of Jeremy Braverman‘s short Take Care.

March 29th

4 p.m.

Excuse My French (Egypt, 2014)

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A Christian boy is forced to attend a Muslim pubic school after his father suddenly dies. Excuse My French will screen in CMU’s McConomy Auditorium and includes an appearance by director Amr Salama.

April 6th

1:30 p.m.

I Am Eleven (Australia, 2014)

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Australian filmmaker Genevieve Bailey traveled the world for six years talking with 11-year-olds to compose this insightful, funny and moving documentary portrait of childhood. From an orphanage in India, to a single-parent household in inner-city Melbourne, to bathing with elephants in Thailand, the film explores the lives and thoughts of children from 15 countries and weaves together deeply personal and at times hilarious portraits of this transitional age. I Am Eleven will screen in CMU’s McConomy Auditorium.

April 8th

7 p.m.

10 Minutes (Korea, 2014)

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Kang Ho-chan is studying and preparing for his dream job as a TV station producer. Barely scraping by since his father’s retirement, his family has high hopes for him. However, he fails time and time again to get into the station and eventually ends up getting a part-time job at a government office to support his family. One day, one full-time employee resigns and Ho-chan’s boss offers him a permanent position. Ho-chan hesitates between his long-time dream of becoming a producer and a steady job. After thinking long and hard, he chooses to be realistic and take the offer, but someone else gets appointed for the job. Suddenly, Ho-chan gets left out in the cold and ends up back in a dilemma. 10 Minutes will screen in CMU’s McConomy Auditorium and includes a reception.

April 9th

7:15 p.m.

Dangerous Acts (Belarus, 2013)

Dangerous Acts Starring the Unstable Elements of Belarus

Creating provocative theater carries great personal risks: emotional, financial and artistic. For the members of the Belarus Free Theatre, there are additional risks: censorship, imprisonment, and worse. Director Madeleine Sackler goes behind the scenes with the acclaimed troupe of imaginative and subversive performers who, in a desolate country choked by censorship and repression, defy Europe’s last remaining dictatorship. Dangerous Acts will screen in CMU’s McConomy Auditorium and includes an appearance by Free Theatre actor Oleg Sidorchik.

April 10th

7:15 p.m.

The Mighty Angel (Poland, 2014)

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Jerzy is a writer and an alcoholic who believes he can finally can stop drinking. He falls in love with a young girl and the relationship becomes his new goal. However, escaping from his dependence and embarking upon a new path proves extremely hard. The Mighty Angel will screen in CMU’s McConomy Auditorium and includes a reception.

April 11th

6:30 p.m.

Court (India, 2014)

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The festival will close with the drama Court. When a sewage worker’s dead body is found inside a manhole in Mumbai, an aging folk singer is arrested and accused of performing an inflammatory song, which may have incited the worker to commit suicide. The trial unfolds in a lower court, where the hopes and dreams of the city’s ordinary people play out. Forging these fates are the lawyers and judge, who are observed in their personal lives beyond the theatre of the courtroom. The Court closing night event will take place in CMU’s McConomy Auditorium and includes a free closing night reception provided by Tamarind.

General admission tickets to the opening night film and reception are $20, $10 for seniors and students. General admission tickets for all other screenings are $10, $5 for seniors and students. Full-access festival passes are available for $50, $25 for seniors and students. All tickets are available for purchase at the CMU Faces of Works website.

Pitt Celebrates Asian Cinema With Korean Film Festival

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The University of Pittsburgh will spotlight Asian cinema this month with its 12th annual Korean Film Festival. Presented by the Department of East Asian Languages and Literatures and the Asian Studies Center, the event will showcase two recent works – a romantic comedy and a historical courtroom drama – from South Korea. See schedule and details below:

March 18th

6 p.m.

Miss Granny (2014)

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When 74-year-old widow Oh Mal-Soon (Nah Moon-hee) mysteriously turns back into her 20-year-old self, she decides to change her name to Oh Doo-Ri (Sim Eun-kyeong) and make the most out of her reclaimed youth.

March 25th

4 p.m.

The Attorney (2013)

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An ambitious Busan tax attorney (Song Kang-Ho) becomes embroiled in a civil liberties case involving a persecuted student activist (Yim Si-wan). The film was inspired by an actual 1981 case won by human rights lawyer Roh Moo-hyun, who went on to become the ninth president of South Korea.

The University of Pittsburgh Korean Film Festival will take place on campus in 4130 Posvar Hall. Refreshments are included. Both screenings are free and open to the public.

Southside Works Cinema To Host ‘Pittsburgh State Of Mind’ Premiere

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On March 15th, Southside Works Cinema will host the premiere of Pittsburgh State of Mind, a documentary about key players in the city’s hip-hop community.

Director Jay Ruff Bone White provides an in depth look at Pittsburgh’s hip-hop music scene, focusing primarily on the inner city. Various artists break down what it’s like to being an entertainer in the Steel City, and give insight to the past, present and the future of Pittsburgh’s hip-hop scene. The film features appearances by Hardo, Deezlee, Asco, Wiz Khalifa, and Chevy Woods.

The Pittsburgh State of Mind premiere will begin at 4 p.m. Tickets are available for purchase online or at the box office.

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Hollywood Theater Goes Behind Iron Curtain With Hockey Doc ‘Red Army’

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As hockey playoffs draw near, it seems fitting to reflect on one of the sport’s defining eras. This month, the Hollywood Theater will do just that with Red Army, a feature-length documentary about the Soviet Union’s famed Red Army hockey team.

The film from Oscar-nominated and Emmy award-winning filmmaker Gabe Polsky sheds light on the the Soviet Union and the most successful dynasty in sports history: the Red Army hockey team. Told from the perspective of its captain Slava Fetisov, the story portrays his transformation from national hero to political enemy. From the USSR to Russia, the film examines how sport mirrors social and cultural movements and parallels the rise and fall of the Red Army team with the Soviet Union. Red Army is an inspiring story about the Cold War played out on the ice rink, and a man who stood up to a powerful system and paved the way for change for generations of Russians.

Red Army will screen at the Hollywood Theater from March 13th through March 26th.

Locally Produced Doc ‘Uncle Andy’ Reveals Warhol Family Ties

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Before Andy Warhol took the art world by storm, he was an out-of-place kid growing up in the working class South Oakland neighborhood of Pittsburgh. Now, 28 years after his death, his relatives are raising funds to produce a documentary about the pop icon’s modest origins.

A Kickstarter was recently launched for the project Uncle Andy. Produced and directed by Warhol’s great-niece, Abby Warhola, and her partner Jesse Best, the feature-length film will provide a new perspective on the world famous artist through the eyes of his immediate family, including his late brother, Paul, and his many nieces and nephews. See the Kickstarter description below:

“Uncle Andy” is a documentary film about the iconic artist Andy Warhol that is unlike anything that has ever been seen before. Filmmakers, Abby Warhola (Andy’s great niece) and Jesse Best capture a rare portrait of Warhol by members of his very modest family – the Warholas. It is sure to rock the art world with an intimate side of Warhol, far removed from the counter culture scene of the infamous ‘Silver Factory.’  The late Paul Warhola, Andy’s eccentric oldest brother, a chicken farmer turned artist is the highlight of this film project along with his many nephews and nieces. Their personal stories of Andy will surprise many who thought they may have already known Warhol. With a family like this it is no wonder that Warhol became the most influential artist of modern time.

The Uncle Andy Kickstarter will accept contributions through April 2nd. For more details, watch the Kickstarter video below:

 

Row House Cinema Makes Sweet Music With Doc ‘Divided Time’

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Juggling a career and family presents a challenge for people from all walks of life, including musicians. On March 7th, Row House Cinema will explore this issue with Divided Time, an independent film about several men trying to find success in the music industry while raising their children.

The feature-length documentary from award-winning director W. Feagins, Jr. shines a spotlight on nine hip-hop artists as they try to balance the responsibilities of fatherhood and pursuing their dreams. The film features interviews with Abyss (Def Poetry Jam), Arablak, Damaja D, Ekundayo, Jawz of Life, mikeflo (Dead Prez), Snub Zero, Stanza, and Supastition

Divided Time will screen at 5 p.m. A Q&A hosted by Cornell Jones will follow. Tickets are $6 and are available for purchase at Eventbrite or at the door.

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