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 Opening Ceremonies on June 26th at 6:30 p.m. The event begins with an awards show, followed by a screening of two music videos, Sugar In My Bowl by Hannah Rose Snyder and Indian Ate The Woodchuck by Brad Pattullo, and the local zombie feature The Other Side. The evening also includes a reception and a filmmakers mix and mingle.
Please see the festival schedule below:
The AC Project: To the Ends of the Earth (94m, US) dir. Brandon Lied
Seeking to experience full life while wrestling with their beliefs, four young men take a year traveling to 10 countries and discover a world, faith, and life they never knew existed. While helping the local communities with the needs they encounter, these adventurers provide clean water, build an orphanage, and assist victims of sex trafficking while spreading a message of hope and love in the process. Their journey shares the story of a search for not only that spark of divinity, but also their personal identities and purpose.
The Penguin Counters (67m, U S A) dir. Harriet Getzels and Peter Getzels
Ron Naveen, a 21st century Dr. Dolittle who dreams of conserving Antarctica for future generations, and his intrepid field-biologists have tracked the welfare of 200 colonies of penguins in an area of half a million square miles for over 20 years. What they’ve learned is that penguins truly are the canaries in the coal mine. With some colonies thriving and others declining, Ron sees a life and death warning about how to cope with climate change.
Surviving Kensington (13m, US) dir. Mo Scarpelli
Through a photographer’s wanderings, we get a glimpse of what it’s like to survive in Philadelphia’s roughest neighborhood.
Appalachia – Mountaintop to Moonscape (13m, UK) dir. Alan Gignoux
Appalachia – Mountaintop to Moonscape reveals the shocking environmental and social costs of mountaintop removal in Appalachia.
Bereave (100m, US) dir. Evangelos Giovanis and George Giovanis
Fatally ill, Garvey thinks he has figured out how to die alone. But when his beloved wife Evelyn goes missing on their 40th anniversary, he must live to save her. Stars Malcolm McDowell, Jane Seymour and Keith Carradine.
I Was a Teenage Superhero Sidekick (77m, US) dir. J. Hanna
Kid Dynamic, sidekick to Dynamic Man, quits the whole superhero racket and struggles with the transition. His hippy-dippy headshrinker, who insists on outdoor yoga classes during psychoanalysis, helps him find the courage to go for the simpler life he yearns for. What he comes to understand is that life isn’t so simple, with or without the cape.
Made in Pennsylvania – Films made in Pennsylvania, including Pittsburgh.
Finding Jenn’s Voice (1hr 13min, US) dir. Tracy Schott
Finding Jenn’s Voice examines the murder of Jennifer Snyder and her unborn son and exposes the risks of intimate partner homicide during pregnancy.
Quiet Zone (5min, US) dir. Paul Navarro
While Ramesh is training for his new job working on the Great Wall that looms over the oppressed inhabitants of his city, he discovers a beautiful and mysterious outside world that may be the answer to all that troubles him, if he can make peace with the animals.
Nuts & Bolts (5min, US) dir. Ryan Butters
Creative alternative to the birds and the bees.
Diamonds in the Rough (15m, US) dir. Dominique Carino
David Helfer is the fourth generation in a family of Pittsburgh jewelers. This short documentary takes a look at the craft of jewelry making, as well as the family dynamics in the Helfer family, both in and out of the workplace.
The Recall (27m, US) dir. Ace Yilma
After always taking the easy way out, Jamal is ready to make the tough decisions but what happens when he doesn’t get to decide?
The Cabin (14m, US) dir. Robbbie Roberts
A young woman discovers one of her deceased father’s coworkers passed out on the kitchen floor.
Breakage (12m, US) dir. Steve Parys
Ally Kent is assaulted by flashbacks of her entire relationship with Frank Brown, her ex-boyfriend, at a pivotal moment in her life.
Burghatory (22m, US) dir. Paul Navarro
Set in Pittsburgh, PA, this television dramedy follows two women in their 30s as they tackle life’s absurdities.
White Fetish (4m, US) dir. Sean Dacanay
New Media Short
An Asian girl with a white fetish hits on a white guy at a bar. The tables turn to to reveal how silly racial fetishes are.
End of Made In Pennsylvania
One Armed Man (27m, US) dir. Tim Guinee
A wealthy cotton gin executive is confronted by a disgruntled former employee demanding the return of an arm lost in the gin’s machinery in Oscar-winning writer Horton Foote‘s chilling drama.
7 Minutes (84m, US) dir. Jay Martin
Three high school friends are forced to commit a brazen robbery which quickly goes horribly wrong.
Hate Crimes in the Heartland (60m, US) dir. Rachel Lyon
This award-winning documentary film and community outreach project explores the national epidemic of hate crimes through the lens of Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Peace, Daal, & Partition (25m, US) dir. Paisley Smith
In 1947, British India was divided into India and Pakistan. Millions of people were killed as a result of the mass-movement of people. In this documentary short, Paisley Smith explores her family history during the chaos of Partition. Her grandmother witnessed the murder of her father, and in order to evade death, her brother had to dress like a girl. Despite hearing the stories of Partition from her grandma, Paisley had a lot more to discover. She examines why her mother refuses to talk about her childhood as an immigrant in Canada. Paisley discovers that there are holes in the stories told about Partition. Peace, Daal, & Partition attempts to bring three generations of family together, heal the wounds of Partition, and explain painful histories.
Stella Walsh (15m, US) dir. Rob Lucas
Stella Walsh was one of the most celebrated female athletes on the planet. She had thousands of medals, ribbons, honors and fans from around the world. Almost fifty years after her stunning 1932 gold medal win in the women’s 100 meter dash, Stella was shot and killed in Cleveland, Ohio, which revealed that she had ambiguous gender. This documentary explores the life of Stella, her death and her gender controversy through interviews with friends, trainees, members of the media and a geneticist, as well as photos and archival footage from years of in-depth research.
Toy Boy (8min, Canada) dir. March Mercanti
A 30-year-old lives at home with his parents, their two cats – and 5,000 toys.
Dark Noir (4m, UK) dir. Sarah Butterworth
Lies Beneath the Nightshade (10m, US) dir. Andrew Wecht
In the throes of The Great Depression, Basilio is unable to upkeep his beloved garden with his grandson Anthony serving life without parole–but Anthony has an endgame to help his grandfather save the garden, just so long as the other inmates don’t get to him first.
Pushing Buttons (12m, US) dir. Jonathan Landau
Five coworkers get trapped in an elevator on their way to a meeting.
Flight Fright (6m, US) dir. James Politano
A nervous airline passenger starts to see strange things after taking nerve medicine.
Lifeline (18m, US) dir. Jeffery Wang
When an enigmatic traveler with an unusual lifeline pays a visit to Madame Golorio’s psychic parlor, the ailing palm reader is compelled to take the future into her own hands.
Wildlike (1hr 38min, Canada) dir. Frank Green
An unlikely friendship forms in the spectacular Alaskan wilderness, giving a runaway girl hope and sanctuary in America’s last frontier.
Coffee and a Bagel (4m, US) dir. Gavin Brown
A recently widowed senior citizen decides to use a a modern online dating website to try and meet friends again.
Little Blue – A Broken Promise (10min, US) dir. Chris Jordan-Bloch
A small community was promised a recreational dream. Instead, they got a toxic nightmare in coal ash, a toxic waste that is polluting hundreds of similar communities across America.
Lapsus (30min, France) dir. Karim Ouaret
Terry, a psychologically disturbed predator, terrorizes a laundromat after falling victim to an unknown phenomena called Lapsus memoriae.
Desk Job (17min, US) dir. Jason Eaken
Starring Pat Healy (Cheap Thrills, The Innkeepers), Desk Job puts viewers inside the mind of a lonely insurance adjuster. Working out of his cramped apartment, Travis Hardacre literally never leaves the office. As he juggles demanding clients, hostile managers, stacks of files, and his own mounting anger, he begins to wonder if his destructive efforts to regain control aren’t just one more way he’s become trapped in a life with no future.
Sam’s Box (14min, US) dir. Felipe Gon
Due to tragic events, two really lonely guys hatch a series of plans to take their own lives. But do they really stick to their plan and commit suicide?
The Brief-Case (12min, US) by Vijay Adireddy
On the night of their first anniversary, a couple celebrates, until a briefcase gets caught in the middle.
Clean Cut (5min, US) dir. Andrew Hunt
A Roomba meets its match when encountering a new mess to clean up.
Companion (3min, US) dir. Sean O’Neill
A stray puppy suddenly appears to brighten up a lonely boy’s world.
Strapped (17min, US) dir. Joe Farina
A Chicago cop finds himself strapped to a ticking bomb around his neck.
A Wake (24min, US) dir. Josh Spiegel
A group of friends who band together to bring their friend back from the dead in order to figure out the reason for his suicide.
Eighty-Sixed (7min, US) dir. Alex Kohnstamm
A woman working in a mafia run bar discovers a secret about the proprietor and has to take matters into her own hands to protect her own.
Oh Crappy Day (17 min, US) dir. Jon Bacon
On a blind date with a charming young woman, a film student struggles to keep his OCD on the down low.
One Left Turn (17 min, US) dir. Glenn Pack
A pair of young opportunists attempt to impress two provocative high school girls, which triggers a ripple effect that tragically alters the innocent lives of an elderly couple.
Lady Luck (18m, UK) dir. Jo Lewis
Inspired by the DH Lawrence short story ‘The Rocking Horse Winner,’ Lady Luck is about a young boy’s attempts to win back his mother’s love.
A Fight To Propose (5m, US) dir. PJ Gaynard
Kevin and Jen love each other very much. Now it might be time to take the next step.
Broken Crystal (13m, US) dir. Jackie Marie
A story about overcoming addiction by opening up to receive the present world around us.
Prisoner (21m, US) dir. Matthew Edwards
The German border, 1944. Left for dead behind enemy lines, a war-weary American wakes up in a graveyard of a battlefield. Wounded and alone, with no clear way back to his lines, the American takes a young German soldier prisoner and forces him to lead the way. Forced together by necessity, the two men fight their own personal war for survival.
21 Things (20m, US) dir. Andrew Anthony
After a one night stand, two people from different backgrounds spend their last day learning more about each other than either of them expected.
The Audition (11m, US) dir. Philece Sampler
A hungry actress auditions for a role with both her best friend and worst enemy – herself.
Still Beautiful (8m, US) dir. Min Reid
I Have Decided To Be No One (3m, US) dir. Dom Portalla
New Media Short
A man sheds his skin of the default world.
First Degree (25m, US) dir. Roger Weisberg
The expression “sent up the river” was coined by convicts who were sent up the Hudson River to do their time at the infamous Sing Sing Prison in Ossining, NY. First Degree finds hope in this seemingly hopeless place by investigating an unusual college behind bars that is successfully preventing Sing Sing inmates from being sent back up the river after their release. Nationwide, over half of released inmates return to prison within five years, but for the past 14 years, less than one percent of the inmates that received a college degree at Sing Sing returned to prison. The film takes viewers inside this notorious maximum security prison and introduces them to some unforgettable inmates.
Zizi And Honeyboy (15m, US) dir. Brett Donowho
When bestselling author Gerald Celente is blackballed after 9/11, he seeks the witty and wise company of his Italian aunt.
Ever Eve (6min, US) dir. Jill Sachs
Lovely young Evelyn prepares to be the belle of the ball, but when she glances in the mirror she finds the shocking reflection of herself as an old woman. Is she a young woman having a nightmare, or an old woman living the nightmare?
Fun Bible Facts! (4min, US) dir. Mike Kopera
Three true, untold stories of Noah and his Ark.
Heavenly Peace (5min, US) dir. Andreas Wessel-Therhorn
A quarreling gay couple gets a bit of unexpected help for Christmas
Without a Doubt (6min, US) dir. Gerald Guthrie
This digital animation illustrates one variation of the 17th century philosopher Rene Descartes’ view of the world.
Enfilade (10m, Australia) dir. David Coyle
A man awakens in a white room with two doors. Each door loops into the other. The only objects within the room are a red ball and a revolver containing a single bullet.
Knock, Knock… (3m, US) dir. Anthony Lund
On a dark, rainy night, eight-year-old Aidan hears a strange knocking from inside his closet. Channeling the Norse heroes he worships, Aidan armors himself with his prize helmet and sword, and approaches his unseen foe. Unfortunately for him, plastic weapons will do nothing against what’s hunting him from the darkness.
Tick Tock (9m, Turkey) dir. Zeynep Kocak
The beautiful thing is not the goal you achieve, it is the road that takes you there with hope.
Stay (4min, USA) dir. Yining Yan
The Dark Side (51min, US) dir. Richard Ledes
When the lights go out during Hurricane Sandy, Dan falls and butt-dials his ex-girlfriend. Her name also happens to be Sandy. He takes it as a sign to visit her. Mimicking the hurricane’s capacity to cross boundaries, interviews with firefighters who lost their homes during Sandy are intercut with this romantic comedy. The resulting clash of genres creates unexpected juxtapositions that illuminate both the global and local dimensions of the storm.
The Pittsburgh Independent Film Festival will take place at the Father Ryan Arts 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.