Category: Documentaries

CMOA Looks At World Housing Crisis With Doc ‘Within Formal Cities’

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Screenshot of Within Formal Cities.

As urban populations continue to grow, the access to decent housing shrinks. On November 10th, the Carnegie Museum of Art will examine how people throughout South America are trying to solve the problem with a preview of the locally produced documentary Within Formal Cities.

The film by intern architects Brian Gaudio and Abe Drechsler showcases innovative housing and infrastructure projects in Lima, Santiago, Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, and Bogotá. During their travels, Gaudio and Drechsler interviewed more than 40 architects, designers, community members, and government agencies to learn about the housing crisis and the innovative ways designers are addressing it.

Within Formal Cities begins at 6:30 p.m. in the CMOA Theater. Gaudio will introduce the film and conduct a post-screening Q&A. The event is free. Those interested in attending can RSVP at the event Facebook page.

The screening is a program of Building Optimism: Public Space in South America at CMOA’s Heinz Architectural Center.

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Just Films Series Welcomes Alice Walker For Doc Screening

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Yemanjá: Wisdom from the African Heart of Brazil

Last month, four organizations – the Chatham University Women’s Institute, New Voices Pittsburgh, the Women and Girls Foundation, and the Women’s Law Project – launched Just Films. The series includes ten documentaries covering a wide range of issues such as immigration, human trafficking, trans families, and paid leave. Many of the films were made by women and will screen in Pittsburgh for the first time.

On October 27th, Just Films welcomes Pulitzer Prize-winning author Alice Walker for the Pittsburgh premiere of Yemanjá: Wisdom from the African Heart of Brazil.

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Alice Walker

Directed by Donna C. Roberts and Donna Read, and narrated by Walker, the documentary depicts the Candomblé religion in Bahia, Brazil, a vibrant culture which evolved from the ways of enslaved Africans. Elder women leaders tell stories of Candomblé’s history, social challenges and triumphs, grounded in strong community, and Earth-based wisdom and practice.

Walker will participate in a post-screening panel along with Roberts and Candomblé priestess Dr. Rachel Elizabeth Harding. Dr. Huberta Jackson-Lowman, president of The Association of Black Psychologists, will serve as moderator.

The Yemanjá: Wisdom from the African Heart of Brazil screening and panel will take place at 6:30 p.m. at Chatham University. Registration required.

All Just Films events are free and open to the public. The series will continue through June 2017.

Pittsburgh Takes Part In National Art House Theater Day

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On September 24th, Pittsburgh will participate in the first annual Art House Theater Day, a nationwide event recognizing the important role independent theaters play in bringing the arts and culture to their communities, with screenings at the Hollywood Theater, Row House Cinema, Regent Square Theater and the Harris Theater. See film details and showtimes below:

Time Bandits (1981) – Row House Cinema and Regent Square Theater

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Director Terry Gilliam‘s dark, yet fanciful fantasy tale follows a young boy as he embarks on an epic journey through time with a band of dwarves who’ve stolen a magical map. The cult favorite stars John Cleese and Michael Palin of Monty Python, Sean Connery, Shelley Duvall and many others. Time Bandits will screen at 12 p.m. at Row House Cinema and at 8 p.m. at Regent Square Theater.

A Town Called Panic (2009) – Hollywood Theater

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In this Belgian stop-motion animated feature, plastic toys like Cowboy, Indian and Horse have problems too. Cowboy and Indian’s plan to surprise Horse with a homemade birthday gift backfires when they destroy his house instead. Surreal adventures ensue as the trio travel to the center of the Earth, trek across frozen tundra and discover a parallel underwater universe where pointy-headed (and dishonest!) creatures live. With panic a permanent feature of life in this papier mâché town, will Horse and his girlfriend ever be alone? A Town Called Panic will screen at 1 p.m. at the Hollywood Theater. Tickets cost $5 and are available for purchase at Showclix or at the door.

Danny Says (2016) – Harris Theater

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Since 1966, Danny Fields has played a pivotal role in music and culture of the late 20th century: working for the Doors, Cream, Lou Reed, Nico, Judy Collins and managing groundbreaking artists like the Stooges, the MC5 and the Ramones. The documentary follows the life and time of Fields from his days as a Phi Beta Kappa whiz-kid, to Harvard Law dropout, to the Warhol Silver Factory, to Director of Publicity at Elektra Records, to punk pioneer and beyond. Danny Says will screen at 8 p.m. at the Harris Theater.

Phantasm (1979) – Hollywood Theater

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Newly restored by J.J. Abrams and his company Bad Robot Productions, this imaginative creeper from filmmaker Don Coscarelli pits a young boy against the mysterious Tall Man, an undertaker who enslaves reanimated corpses. The film defies genre conventions with its dreamy, surreal style and bizarre take on the battle between good and evil. Phantasm will screen at 10 p.m. at the Hollywood Theater. Doors open at 9 p.m. The event includes vintage 35mm film trailers, special Phantasm merchandise and a live stream with Coscarelli. Tickets cost $10 and are available for purchase at Showclix.

Pittsburgh Explores Strange New Worlds With Star Trek Screenings

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When NBC debuted Star Trek in 1966, the short-run series captured the imagination of sci-fi fans everywhere and went on to spawn multiple TV reboots, movies and a devoted sub-culture. Beginning on September 2nd, Pittsburgh Trekkies will celebrate 50 years of Star Trek with screenings at Row House Cinema and the Hollywood Theater.

From September 2nd through September 8th, Row House Cinema will present a week-long schedule of Star Trek films. The selections include Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979), Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982), Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986) and Star Trek VIII: First Contact (1996). The theater will also screen a special RiffTrax edition of The Wrath of Khan, as well as a Dr. Sketchy’s Drink and Draw screening of The Voyage Home and a visit from Animal Friends for TrekKitties. Visit the Row House website for showtimes and ticket prices. Guests can also purchase a four-movie pass for $21.

On September 9th, the Hollywood Theater will present a Wrath of Khan screening event sponsored by Geek Pittsburgh. The evening will include members of local fangroups the USS Inferno and Klingon Assault Group, music from DJ Zombo and a costume contest. Attendees will also receive an exclusive sneak-peak of the upcoming ToonSeum exhibit To Boldly Go: The Graphic Art of Star Trek , which showcases original artwork by some of Pittsburgh’s best graphic illustrators (the exhibit will officially open at the Toonseum on October 28th).

The event will also feature the premiere of For the Love of SpockAdam Nimoy’s documentary about his famous father, the late Leonard Nimoy, who for decades portrayed Star Trek‘s beloved alien-human character Spock. Wrath of Khan guests will receive $2 off the ticket price for the 10 p.m. screening. Additional screenings of For the Love of Spock with continue throughout the weekend.

Tickets for the Hollywood Theater event cost $10 and are available for purchase at Eventbrite. All proceeds benefit the Hollywood Theater and the ToonSeum.

From September 2nd trough September 7th, the Hollywood Theater will also show the new film Star Trek Beyond. Directed by Justin Lin (The Fast and the Furious franchise), the latest voyage of the U.S.S. Enterprise takes her intrepid crew to the furthest reaches of uncharted space, where they encounter a mysterious new enemy (played by Idris Elba) who puts them and everything the Federation stands for to the test. Stars Chris Pine, Pittsburgh’s own Zachary Quinto, Simon Pegg, Karl Urban, Zoe Saldana, John Cho and the late Anton Yelchin. Tickets are available for purchase at Showclix or at the door.

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Looking For Group Causes ‘A Fat Wreck’ With Punk Doc

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On August 19th, the gaming center and coworking space Looking for Group will present a live music and movie event for A Fat Wreck: The Punk-umentary.

The feature debut from director Shaun Colon tells the story of Fat Mike (NOFX) and his ex-wife Erin Kelly-Burkett, founders of Fat Wreck Chords, the influential music label that spent the past 25 years “ruining punk rock.” Half inspirational story of chosen family and community, half debauchery and occasionally involuntary drug use, the film contains interviews with subjects such as Laura Jane Grace of Against Me!, Bad Religion bassist Jay Bentley, and Chris Shiflett of the Foo Fighters, as well as animation sequences and puppet re-enactments.

Doors open at 7 p.m. A performance by the Me First and the Gimme Gimmes cover band The Gimme 5 will take place at 8 p.m. A Fat Wreck: The Punk-umentary will screen at 9 p.m. Tickets cost $12 and are available for purchase at Eventbrite. BYOB. Please note: all ages are welcome, but only guests 21 and older are permitted to consume alcohol.

PHLF Presents ‘First Person Singular: I.M. Pei’ Screening

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On August 16th, the Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation (PHLF), an organization dedicated to saving buildings with historical significance in the Pittsburgh region, will pay tribute to the legendary architect I.M. Pei with a film screening at their Landmarks Preservation Resource Center (LPRC).

With a career spanning more than five decades, the prolific Chinese-American architect has became known for designing some of the world’s most recognized buildings. In the documentary First Person Singular: I.M. Pei, he leads viewers through the Louvre, the National Gallery of Art, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Bank of China, the Meyerson Symphony Center, the Miho Museum and other examples of his work. Pei also discusses his innermost philosophy and principles, as well as his work with notable clients Jacqueline Kennedy, William Zeckendorf, Francois Mitterand and Paul Mellon.

In Pittsburgh, he was commissioned by a New York developer to build three buildings that would comprise the Washington Plaza in the lower Hill. However, only one element of the three-building plaza was constructed.

First Person Singular: I.M. Pei will screen at 6 p.m. in the LPRC at 744 Rebecca Avenue, Wilkinsburg, PA 15221. The event is free for PHLF members, $5 for non-members. RSVP by emailing marylu@phlf.org or by calling 412-471-5808 ext. 527.

CMOA Honors Filmmaker Tony Buba With Premiere Event

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Image courtesy of Braddock Films.

On August 4th, the Carnegie Museum of Art (CMOA) and WESA will present the retrospective No Place but Home: An Evening with Filmmaker Tony Buba. The event is part of The Double Exposure Series, a part of CMOA’s Time-Based Media Project, which features “artists, preservationists, curators and scholars discussing the legacy of avant-garde film and video of the 1960s–1980s, including works in CMOA’s permanent collection and beyond.”

Since 1974, Braddock-based filmmaker Tony Buba has made over 20 films through his company Braddock Films, including the The Braddock Chronicles, a dozen black & white short documentaries chronicling life in a “dying milltown.” The event will include the premiere of No Place but Home, a documentary short by Ryan Loew and Matthew Newton that examines Buba’s career. Also showing are a selection of Buba’s films, including Betty’s Corner Café (1976), Washing Walls with Mrs. G. (1980), Mill Hunk Herald (1981), Fade Out (1998) and Ode to a Steeltown (2007), as well as a never-before-seen short.

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Tony Buba (left) with George Romero.

No Place but Home: An Evening with Filmmaker Tony Buba will take place at 6 p.m. in the CMOA Theater. A post-screening Q&A with Buba will follow. Admission is free, but seating is limited.

ReplayFX Finds A Pinball Wizard And More In Gaming Docs

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From July 28th through July 31st, the ReplayFX Arcade & Video Game Festival will convene at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, bringing with it over 1,000 modern and classic amusements, including pinball, consoles and tabletop games. Also featured in the lineup are three documentaries highlighting colorful characters and places that represent some of America’s cherished gaming pastimes. See film schedule and details below:

July 29th

8 p.m.

SBK The-Movie (2014)

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A true story 35 years in the making, the documentary from director Aaron Re chronicles one man’s journey to become a legend of the boardwalk by claiming the title of world champion in the fast-paced sport of professional Skee-Ball.

10:15 p.m.

Wizard Mode (2016)

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In the game of pinball, there is no greater reward than Wizard Mode – a hidden level that is only unlocked when a player completes a series of lightning-speed challenges. Robert Emilio Gagno has dedicated most of his life to mastering Wizard Mode, and is now one of the top pinball players in the world. He also happens to have autism. The first feature  documentary from Salazar Film is a candid personal perspective on autism through the life of one of the world’s greatest pinball players. The film follows Robert as he seeks to balance his quest to become a world pinball champion and his growing real world responsibilities, culminating at the largest pinball tournament in the world, Pinburgh in Pittsburgh, PA.

July 30th

The Lost Arcade (2015)

8 p.m.

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Directors Kurt Vincent and Irene Chen explore the legacy and influence of one of the last great video arcades in their feature documentary. Chinatown Fair opened as a penny arcade on Mott Street in 1944. Over the decades,the legendary gathering place, known for its tic-tac-toe playing chicken, became an institution, surviving turf wars between rival gangs, rising rents and the explosive growth of home gaming systems like Xbox and Playstation that shuttered all other arcades in the city. But as the neighborhood gentrified, this haven for a diverse community faced its strongest challenge, inspiring its biggest devotees to next-level greatness.

All screening events are included with ReplyFX admission. See ticket prices and packages at the festival website.

The Warhol Takes A Stand With ‘Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry’

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The Warhol will soon unveil Andy Warhol | Ai Weiwei, an exhibition exploring the significant influence of these two artists on modern and contemporary life, focusing on the parallels, intersections, and points of difference between their practices—Warhol representing 20th-century modernity and the “American century,” and Ai representing life in the 21st century and what has been called the “Chinese century” to come. In conjunction with show, the museum will host daily screenings of the 2012 documentary Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry.

Written and directed by first-time filmmaker Alison KlaymanAi Weiwei: Never Sorry is the inside story of China’s most famous international artist, and most outspoken domestic critic. Against a backdrop of strict censorship and an unresponsive legal system, Ai expresses himself and organizes people through art and social media. In response, Chinese authorities have shut down his blog, beat him up, bulldozed his newly built studio, and held him in secret detention.

The film captures a dissident for the digital age who inspires global audiences and blurs the boundaries of art and politics. Klayman gained unprecedented access to Ai while working as a journalist in China, and her detailed portrait provides a nuanced exploration of contemporary China and one of its most compelling public figures.

The film will show daily at 2 p.m. from June 3rd through August 28th in the Warhol theater. Film schedules are subject to change. Free with museum admission

Hollywood Theater Gets Raucous With The Damned Doc

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The Hollywood Theater will continue their tradition of spotlighting documentaries about underground music with The Damned: Don’t You Wish That We Were Dead, a look at the UK band whose influence spanned over the punk, New Wave and goth eras.

From Lemmy filmmaker Wes Orshoski comes the story of the long-ignored pioneers of punk: The Damned, the first U.K. punks on wax and the first to cross the Atlantic. The documentary includes appearances from Chrissie Hynde, Mick Jones of The Clash, Lemmy and members of Pink Floyd, Black Flag, Guns ‘N’ Roses, the Sex Pistols, Blondie, Buzzcocks and more. Shot around the globe over three years, the film charts the band’s complex history and infighting. It captures the band as it celebrated its 35th anniversary with a world tour and found its estranged former members striking out on their own anniversary tour, while other former members battled cancer.

The Damned: Don’t You Wish That We Were Dead will screen from May 27th through May 29th. Tickets are available for purchase online or at the door.