The Pittsburgh Independent Film Festival (PIFF) has selected 63 micro-budget and no-budget films from around the world, showcasing filmmakers who possess an independent vision and create innovative work outside the studio system. The works, which represent a wide range of genres, including feature films, documentaries, music videos, web series, and animation, will compete for a Official Selection Plaques in a number of categories.
The festival kicks off with the Opening Ceremonies on June 20th at 6:30 p.m. The event begins with an awards show, followed by a screening of the music video I Love You…But by Thomas Zoeschg, and two narrative shorts, Parole Officers by Adam Ward and Malory & Nicole by Ward and Ronald Quigley. The evening also includes a reception and a filmmakers mix and mingle.
Please see the festival schedule below:
Strings Of Colors (11m, India) dir. Sharan Mohanadoss
An observational documentary that takes place in Tamil Nadu, India, in a small village called Tanjore. It explores the process of making a saree from scratch to finish, the various kinds of designs, colors, space, time and also captures the hardship, manual labor and emotions that goes into making this beautiful traditional dress.
Hey, Coach: The Sideline Story (14m, US) dir. Vincent Barnard
The story of four Pennsylvania high school coaches as they lead their players, deal with disgruntled parents, and help shape young lives.
Rose, Mary and Time (38m, United Kingdom) dir. Hardeep Giani
Barney, who tragically lost his wife six year ago, unlocks magical powers contained in a clock he inherited. With the help of a wise Indian shop keeper, Barney finds himself back in time, with the opportunity to save the love of his life.
Hard Love (9m, US) dir. Leland Douglas
When Harry wakes up in bed with a beautiful young girl he just met, she insists they’re made for each other and wants to spend the day with him. Harry warns her that she won’t like what he does for a living, but she promises it doesn’t matter, whatever it is. Harry grudgingly allows her to tag along on a dangerous assignment that will end up changing their destinies forever.
Mirage (9m, US) dir. Iker Maidagan
A young Inuit boy finds the rear entry to the Bermuda Triangle while trying to fish in the Arctic wilderness.
Wagonmasters (19m, US) dir. Sam Smartt and Chris Zaluski
Station wagons were America’s “workhorses on wheels,” but today, they conjure images of outdated family photos, beehive hairdos and unfashionable wooden siding. There are some, however, who still cling to these vehicles and what they stand for in American culture. “Wagonmasters” offers glimpses into the lives of such wagon enthusiasts, and tells the story of the station wagon as it represents a changing America over the last one hundred years.
The No Name Painting Association (23m, China/US) dir. Joe Griffin
A documentary about the Wuming (No Name) group of renegade Chinese artists who painted forbidden images during the Chinese Cultural Revolution and pioneered the Contemporary Chinese Art Movement.
Living Canvas (7m, US) dir. Ronnie Cramer
A documentation of Xcentricity Gallery’s farewell exhibition (body painting).
Lost in Motion II (5m, Canada) dir. Ben Shirinian
After the success of his 2012 short film Lost in Motion, director Ben Shirinian has reunited with Choreographer/Dancer Guillaume Côté for a powerful new follow-up film exploring the state of mind of an artist. While the original examined the feelings of isolation experienced by an artist before going on stage, Lost in Motion II develops the narrative by delving deeper into the spectrum of emotions felt by a performer. The film combines original choreography, stylized art direction and seamless VFX to visually interpret the experience of an artist baring their soul on stage.
Pie Lady of Pie Town (34m, US) dir. Jane Rosemont
Why did Kathy Knapp, a successful businesswoman, decide to leave her charmed life to bake pie in a dusty town with no traffic light, no gas station, no motel? The area is teeming with Old West history and hardy characters. The film illustrates Kathy’s resolve, heartache, healing, and how pie is a vehicle for love and peace. You’ll see an alien, a dummy, feel connections to deep space, and hear some finger-snapping tunes. You’ll want pie. Welcome to Pie Town, New Mexico. The name is no joke.
35 Seconds of Sweetness (3m, US) dir. Sojin Jenny Park and Jae Kyung Ahn
Short film about the environmental impact of discarded chewing gum.
Into the Dark (14m, US) dir. Lukas Hassel
A journey from Moon to Earth. Real justice. Just reality.
C.T.R.L (3m, United Kingdom) dir. Mariana Conde
New Media Short
A young man’s attempt at a first contact with a love interest is hijacked in a most entertaining way.
Triangle (13m, US) dir. Milton Walker
The story of a man in the big city being guided by the symbols of love around him.
Organized Criminal (14m, US) dir. Geo Santini
When an ambitious up and coming criminal decides to get even with a vicious drug dealer from his past, he realizes that in order to do so, he has to level the playing field first.
Sins (18m, US) dir. Ev Wolff
Seeking redemption, and thinking he can change the world for the better, a serial killer takes a future president hostage before he commits suicide.
Crucivixen (5m, US) dir. Holly Siders
Sidewalk (4m, US) dir. Celia Bullwinkel
A woman walks through life, but the real journey is deeper within as she confronts her changing body and learns to love herself.
The Heebie-Jeebies (9m, US) dir. Todd Slawsby
After hearing a scary bedtime story, a young boy and girl become convinced they have monsters under their beds. They may be right.
The Boy and The Bus (23m, United Kingdom) dir. Simon Pitts
After the death of his mother ten year-old Joe moves to a remote village. It’s where she’d wanted to live. Alone with his older father, Joe is silent with grief. When the local bus driver won’t wait for him, Joe begins to run.
The Lachrymist (25m, US) dir. Matthew Gowan
In a single take, a young man disappears from a hotel causing his wife to begin questioning not only the staff, but her own sanity.
Moving Out (5m, US) dir. Sean McCarthy
The Toothfairy (4m, US) dir. Rachael Sonnenberg
Eight-year-old Luke believes in the Toothfairy, and he’s not about to be led astray by nonbelievers
Winter Shower (14m, US) dir. Kyoungju Kim
An eighty-year-old woman goes on a lone journey after receiving a long awaited letter.
Sheltered Love (10m, US) dir. Alex Italics
Young lovers Judy and Rick decide to use Judy’s family fallout shelter to hide their romance from the disapproving eyes of her father Mort.
Vanished (11m, US) dir. Simon Beckman
A secret research facility has been completely annihilated when a special ops team comes to the rescue. Keaton, a hard-nosed investigator, tries to reconstruct what has happened when one sole survivor is discovered. Alex, shell-shocked and wounded, can not remember much, still Keaton is relentless. He needs to find out what she knows right away to avoid an even greater disaster.
I Am a Visitor in Your World (82m, US) dir. Miguel Silveira
In 2006, at the age of 25, Rebecca Babcock was diagnosed with genetic colon cancer. She began blogging as a way to come to terms with her ‘new normal.’ Out of those blog entries emerged a picture of her struggle. Fighting countless battles with her disease, treatments, surgeries, debt, loneliness, hope and despair, writing was her only outlet. Using her life as a canvas, her poetic words turned her pain into a brutally honest and sometimes harsh look at the realities of having cancer. While her words couldn’t cure her disease, they clearly provided her readers with a completely new outlook on life.
The Vetters: All We Needed (67m, US) dir. Anne Bruder and Nancy Pokorny
A close-knit family of six siblings of Mexican/Native American descent from Chardon, Ohio intimately reflects on the sacrifices and steadiness of their humble devoted father, and how they overcame poverty and the heartbreaking loss of their mother to become National Champions, World Record holders, and Olympic contenders as runners in the 1970s and ‘80s.
Door God (23m, China) dir. Yulin Liu
Seven- year-old girl, Lingli, has been waiting two years for her mother to come home. When her family finally puts up the Door God on Chinese New Year, her mother finally returns, but brings irreversible change to Lingli and her family.
A Stitch in Time (for $9.99) (12m, US) dir. Mu Sun
Laura Fein has an appointment at a time travel agency to have a burning question answered: Does her coworker like her?
Crisálida (8m, Cuba) dir. Alejandro Enmanuel and Alonso Estrella
Crisalida, which means “cocoon of an incubating butterfly”, is the name of an 86-year-old woman who watches the world through her bedroom window. Over the course of a Sunday in her small Cuban town, her past and present converge in profoundly ironic, unsettling ways.
EFFED! (19m, US) dir. Renny Maslow
Two friends pedal across a post-apocalyptic landscape on a tandem beach cruiser and face the question: when oil runs out, where exactly is the line that society can cross before it ceases to be a society at all?
Jimmy Loves Juice (5m, US) dir. David Yee
A normal day in the park for young Jimmy turns into a wild affair when he puts down his usual carton of milk and takes his first sip of juice. He instantly falls in love with the sugary beverage, but soon discovers that the sweet taste comes at a price. Is it a price Jimmy’s willing to pay?
A Bit of Bad Luck (85m, US) dir. John Fuhrman
Brooks Caldwell, (Cary Elwes) an erudite and handsome lawyer, seems to have it all: wealth, social status and a red hot career. His success is, in reality, a product of his marriage to his beautiful, socialite wife, Amanda, (Teri Polo) a wealthy timber heiress. Unlike most, who would remain content to enjoy a life of luxury and privilege, Brooks continues to risk everything by having extramarital affairs. Brooks’ philandering, in addition to humiliating Amanda, has driven her to the point of a mental breakdown. Having been pushed over the edge, Amanda orchestrates a just and elaborate plan to bring her husband down. When Brooks leaves for a weekend romp with his latest squeeze, (Agnes Bruckner) his life quickly descends into a bizarre, nightmarish, downward spiral.
Hiding Places (15m, Australia) dir. Darren Vukasinovic
In WW2 France, as the gestapo mercilessly eradicates the French resistance, a young orphaned boy seeks shelter from a woman who claims to be part of their underground network. But all is not what it seems, and time is running out for both of them.
Discovering Raku (9m, US) dir. Curtis Pollock
Western Pennsylvania based fine artists Jim and Linda Winegar demonstrate the centuries old technique of working with clay pottery known as Raku. What was once a distinctly Japanese art process, has now developed into a modernized American version establishing it as its own distinct art form. Teachers engage the students to discover and participate in creating their own masterpieces in this hands-on educational documentary.
Uncovering Collagraphy (4m, US) dir. Curtis Pollock
Western Pennsylvania fine artist Maura Koehler-Keeney demonstrates the unique method of Collagraph printmaking. This is part of a series of videos where teachers engage the students to discover and participate in creating their own masterpieces in hands-on educational documentary shorts.
Something of Love: A Tribute to Roger Amm (29m, US) dir. Kane Farabaugh
Inspirational tribute to the work of Ottawa Township High School (OTHS) Choir Director Roger Amm.
Park 51 (21m, US) dir. Christopher Capelluto
A struggling Iraq war veteran saves the life of a Muslim man from a hate crime in New York City.
City of Hate: Dallas and the Assassination (57m, US) dir. Quin Mathews
Explores a politically turbulent city preparing for a presidential visit, the immense pride many Dallas residents felt to see the president in their hometown and the city’s damaged reputation that followed the death of President Kennedy.
Made in Pennsylvania – 14 films made in Pennsylvania, including Pittsburgh
Henry Hornbostel: In Architecture and Legacy (59m, US) dir. Mark Fallone
Documentary on the life and work of architect Henry Hornbostel.
Community Starts at Home (7m, US) dir. Benjamin Kanes
Rebuilding Together is a National non profit that brings volunteers and communities together to improve the homes and lives of low-income homeowners in need. This is a brief glimpse into some of the lives they have touched
Apple Castle: Right to the Core (15m, US) dir. Anthony Humes
A documentary about the Apple Castle in New Wilmington, PA.
The Long Good-bye (6m, U S A) dir. Mary Vollero
A personal narrative in response to the demolition of the historic Garman Theater and Hotel, built in 1890 in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania.
The Umbrella Man (93m, US) dir. Michael Grasso
Set in 1983 in Pittsburgh, Peter and Annie Brennan face the tragic death of their young son. The boy’s death and the acquittal of his killer kindles a conspiratorial paranoia in Peter that threatens his sanity and their marriage. While trying to find out more about the person who ran over his child, Brennan stumbles onto the story of the umbrella man – a suspected shooter in the John F. Kennedy assassination. From a Moose Lodge in Swissvale to Dealey Plaza in Dallas, The Umbrella Man is one couples story of love, loss and the “against all odds” survival of their relationship.
Summer Hatch (29m, US) dir. Ryan Haggerty
It’s the end of senior year and Shar has no clue where her life is going. She lost one of her best friends last year, she lives in a small town that’s only known for baits shops and trout streams, and her college application is still blank. At least she can still go to the end-of-year party with all those people she pretended to be friends with, right?
Dot (30m, US) dir. Garrett Kennell and David Light
Dot is a dark comedy about a sixteen-year-old girl with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD). Her case is so extreme that she compulsively kills anyone she sees making a mess. Things become more complicated when she starts to fall in love and must balance her murderous compulsion with her newly found feelings.
Meet Your Maker (26m, US) dir. Justin Francart
A short sci-fi film concerning a hyper-rational scientist who must confront the inexplicable when a failed experiment puts him face-to-face with the last survivors of an alien universe he unwittingly created and destroyed.
Mount Joy (86m, US) dir. Jack Lewars
Fame has yet to cross the borders of their small Pennsylvania town for local rock legends The Living Daylights. Fronted by lead singer Sue and longtime friends bass guitarist George and drummer Randy, the band is anxious to move to the next level. A national tour landed by band manager Alex could be their big break. As the sister of the two backing members and longtime girlfriend to Sue, Alex is the glue that holds the band together. But when she suddenly abandons them, disappearing with little explanation, all touring plans cease, and the devastating secret she harbors could mean the end to it all.
A Most Gracious Guest (5m, US) dir. Nathan Mirizio
GUEST 1. noun A person who is invited to visit the home of or take part in a function organized by another. Who are you having over?
Pitchfork (14m, US) dir. Ryan Wood
A farmer losing his cornfield and marriage simultaneously must decide which one is worth saving.
Load (10m, US) dir. Paul-Anthony Navarro
In the vein of Twilight Zone and Night Gallery comes Load, the story of a young woman living alone in a dystopian world. She has carefully locked herself away, hidden from prying eyes, only to have danger come knocking at her door to reveal a disturbing truth.
The Urban Jungle (28m, US) dir. Jack Donda
A valuable asset is stolen in a crime underground and an innocent ex-con is targeted. To save his girlfriend, he gets entangled in the chase and the drama that ensues.
Internet Famous (22m, US) dir. Thomas Williams
Andy Palumbo, a 30-year-old Pittsburgher, just wants to be an artist. He knows that he’s talented. He just always thought that by now his talents would have taken him to heights a little loftier than the copy desk of the “Celebrity Corner” column at Pittsburgh’s second worst newspaper. One drunken night out, an obscene rant, and a roommate with a video camera all add up to a viral video and Andy earning the fame he always thought he would have. That fame is coming a bit differently than he expected, though, and Andy’s going through some belated growing pains as he becomes internet famous.
(End of Made in Pennsylvania series)
Bothered (5m, US) dir. Christina Skyles
A shy, young artist named Maggie draws in her sketchbook alone in a subway car, when a former classmate hops on the car and sits by her. Maggie doesn’t remember the classmate’s name, but she lets the classmate look at her sketchbook. As the classmate flips through the pages, however, Maggie starts to break down, leading to a strange and horrific anxiety attack that the classmate will never forget.
When He Comes Home (3m, US) dir. Ben Phillippo
Playing with the Devil (7m, US) dir. Nick Stentzel
While home alone, three sisters conduct a Japanese ritual of Hitori Kakurenbo or “One Man Tag” with their beloved doll. Terror ensues as the girls realize that one should never play a game with the Devil.
The Hero Pose (12m, US) dir. Mischa Jakupcak
A short film about Mia, an eight year old girl and her father, Joe, who is trying to sell a car. As the afternoon progresses, Mia and Joe uncover a lot about their relationship and end up connecting with one another in an unusual way.
The Man Who Stole The Moon (21m, US) dir. Jerry McGonigle and Chip Hitchcock
Short film about a young mute man who lives on a farm in early 1900s West Virginia. It is adapted from the short story by one of West Virginia’s greatest authors, Davis Grub. ‘Moon’ is a timeless tale of love and the difficulty of speaking with the heart. It uses magical realism to create a world where a person desperately in love could pull the moon from a neighbor’s pond and use it to speak for the words he cannot say.
The Queen of the Jubilee (11m, United Kingdom/Netherlands) dir. Martin de Lange
There’s trouble down at the local bingo hall. Maud and Bertha, the most notorious old dears on the circuit, are about to clash for the big one – a £25,000 cash prize. These two adversaries have been battling for decades, fighting to crush their opponent with every arthritic dab of their pen. But they’re about to discover that when your life’s purpose is to destroy your enemy, that enemy can also be one of your greatest friends.
The Pittsburgh Independent Film Festival will take place at the Ryan Event Center. Tickets are $10 for a one-day pass, $15 for a two-day pass, and $20 for a festival pass, and are available for purchase at the PIFF website.