Category: Documentaries

Hollywood Theater Gets Raucous With The Damned Doc


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.

Melwood Screening Room Gets ‘Trapped’ With Abortion Doc


On May 26th, Melwood Screening Room will team up with Planned Parenthood of Western Pennsylvania, Women’s Law Project, Pittsburgh Pro-Choice Escorts and New Voices Pittsburgh to present Trapped, a documentary about the struggles of the clinic workers and lawyers who are on the front lines of a battle to keep abortion safe and legal for millions of American women.

Since 2010, 288 laws regulating abortion providers have been passed by state legislatures. In total, 44 states and the District of Columbia have measures subjecting abortion providers to legal restrictions not imposed on other medical professionals. Unable to comply with these far-reaching and medically unnecessary laws, clinics have taken their fight to the courts. As the U.S. Supreme Court decides in 2016 whether individual states may essentially outlaw abortion (Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt), director Dawn Porter‘s film follows clinic workers and lawyers who are on the front lines of the battle to keep abortion safe and legal for millions of American women.

The Trapped screening event will take place at 6:30 p.m. Tickets cost $10 and are available for purchase at the PPWP website.

Row House Premieres ‘Food Systems’ Doc ‘The Ecosystem’


Nearly six months after hosting a sneak preview at Ace Hotel, filmmaker and co-founder of The Glassblock David Bernabo will unveil his work Food Systems, Chapter 3: The Ecosystem. The final installment of a three-part documentary series will premiere on May 10th at Row House Cinema.

The Ecosystem shows the challenges of farming in and around Western PA from climate change to fracking to strip mining and skyrocketing land prices to monocultures and their impact on diet and food pricing. The film looks at cheese making with Lori Sollenberger at Hidden Hills Dairy, the life cycle of farmed trout at Laurel Hill Trout, the history of Penn’s Corner Farm Alliance, and Legume‘s legacy of local meat.

The film also features various area farms, as well as businesses such as Millie’s Homemade Ice Cream and Hop Farm Brewing Company, Bill Fuller of Big Burrito, Alice Julier and Nadine Lehrer of the Chatham University Food Studies program, and local food writer Hal B. Klein.

The  Food Systems, Chapter 3: The Ecosystem premiere will take place at 7:30 p.m. Tickets cost $12 and are available for purchase online.

Best Limited Releases Coming To Pittsburgh: May 2016 Edition

The Family Fang – Hollywood Theater


Adult siblings Baxter (Jason Bateman) and Annie (Nicole Kidman), scarred from an unconventional upbringing, return to their family home after an unlikely accident. When their parents (Christopher Walken and Maryann Plunkett) — performance artists famous for elaborate public hoaxes — suddenly go missing under troubling circumstances, Baxter and Annie investigate. Unsure whether it’s foul play or just another elaborate ruse, nothing can prepare them for what they discover. The Family Fang opens on May 6th at the Hollywood Theater.

Born to Be Blue – Harris Theater


In the 1950s, Chet Baker (Ethan Hawke) was one of the most famous trumpeters in the world, renowned as both a pioneer of the West Coast jazz scene and an icon of cool. By the 1960s, he was all but washed up, his career and personal life in shambles due to years of heroin addiction. In his innovative anti-biopic, director Robert Budreau zeroes in on Baker’s life at a key moment in the 1960s, just as the musician attempts to stage a hard-fought comeback, spurred in part by a passionate romance with a new flame (Carmen Ejogo). Born to Be Blue will open on May 6th at the Harris Theater.

Elstree 1976 – Harris Theater


When George Lucas began work on a mysterious project named Star Wars in North London back in 1976, no one could have predicted how it would go on to shape cinema as we know it, least of all the legions of on-screen extras. In this affectionate, crowdfunded documentary, we meet ten of those bit performers who appeared, however fleetingly, in Lucas’ box office behemoth. The film paints an intimate portrait of these performers, examining how their brushes with Lucas shaped the paths of their lives. With a cast ranging from Darth Vader himself, David Prowse, to a performer whose character was cut entirely from the finished film, this is not so much a film about Star Wars as the story of a group of people united by one life-changing experience. Elstree 1976 opens on May 13th at the Harris Theater.

Tale of Tales – Harris Theater


In one yarn, the Queen of Longtrellis (Salma Hayek) desperately yearns for a child, which she and her husband the King (John C. Reilly) are willing to go to dark extremes to conceive and protect. Meanwhile, the King of Highhills (Toby Jones) is so obsessed with raising a giant flea that he barely notices his own daughter (Bebe Cave), whom he mistakenly marries off to a brutish monster. And in Strongcliff, two impoverished old sisters mistakenly attract the attention of the womanizing king (Vincent Casell) who is drawn to their song but has not yet seen their faces. Tale of Tales opens on May 20th at the Harris Theater.

Franocofonia – Regent Square Theater


Set against the backdrop of the Louvre Museum’s history and artworks, master director Alexander Sokurov (Russian Ark) applies his uniquely personal vision onto staged re-enactments and archives for this fascinating portrait of real-life characters Jacques Jaujard and Count Franziskus Wolff-Metternich and their compulsory collaboration at the Louvre Museum under the Nazi Occupation. These two remarkable men – enemies then collaborators – share an alliance which would become the driving force behind the preservation of museum treasures. Franocofonia opens on May 27th at the Regent Square Theater.

CMOA Welcomes Tilda Swinton For ‘Seasons In Quincy’


On April 19th, actress Tilda Swinton will stop by the Carnegie Museum of Art (CMOA) to introduce a sneak preview of The Seasons in Quincy: Four Portraits of John Berger, a documentary about the prominent art critic, novelist, painter and poet. The event marks the beginning of a new collaboration between the University of Pittsburgh’s film program and CMOA.

Presented in four vignettes, the film presents a portrait of Berger who, in 1973, abandoned the metropolis to live in the tiny Alpine village of Quincy. He realized that subsistence peasant farming, which had sustained humanity for millennia, was drawing to an historical close. He determined to spend the rest of his life bearing witness to this vanishing existence, not least by participating in it. Berger’s trilogy Into their Labours chronicles the peasant life of this Alpine village and its surrounding countryside.

The film is the result of an eight-year project by Swinton and University of Pittsburgh Professor of English and Film, Colin MacCabe. Swinton served as executive producer and directed the Harvest segment. MacCabe produced the film with the Derek Jarman Lab in London, directed the first segment Ways of Listening, and co-directed A Song for Politics with Bartek Dziadosz.


The Seasons of Quincy: Four Portraits of John Berger sneak preview will take place at 8:30 p.m. in the CMOA Theater. Swinton and MacCabe will both make an appearance at the screening. Ticket cost $35, $30 for members, $25 for students with valid ID, and are available for purchase on the CMOA website.

University Of Pittsburgh Says Ciao To Italian Film Festival USA


From April 1st through April 16th, the University of Pittsburgh will once again host Italian Film Festival USA, a traveling event dedicated to promoting new Italian cinema in cities across the country. From the story of an anti-Mafia worker trying to help a farm cooperative to a documentary about Italian emigrants searching for better futures, the seven featured films were chosen to display the range and vitality of contemporary Italian filmmaking. See the festival schedule and details below:

April 1st

7 p.m.

An Italian Name (Il nome del figlio)


The extrovert Paolo and the beautiful Simona are expecting. At a dinner with Betta and Sandro, the refined and literate couple, and Claudio, the eccentric musician, one question will lead to an argument that will shake up the night: the name of Paolo and Simona’s son. An Italian Name (Il nome del figlio) will screen in the Frick Fine Arts Auditorium.

April 2nd

7 p.m.

Mafia and Tomatoes (La nostra terra)


Nicola Sansone is the proprietor of a farm in Southern Italy that is confiscated by the government and assigned to a cooperative. As the cooperative is not successful, Filippo, who works in the anti-Mafia offices in the North, is sent to help. An Italian Name (Il nome del figlio) will screen in the Frick Fine Arts Auditorium.

April 7th

7 p.m.

Emergency Exit: Young Italians Abroad


Anna, Mauro, Milena, and the others do not know each other, but they all have something in common: they left Italy, transferring abroad and betting on the opportunity for a better future. This documentary reports what the young Italians living abroad do, think and dream, and relays whether they will remain or return and if leaving is really the emergency exit to change their uncertain future. Emergency Exit: Young Italians Abroad will screen in the Cathedral of Learning, Room G24 .

April 8th

7 p.m.

Me, Myself, and Her (Io e lei)


Marina and Federica have lived together for several years, but their love story is now at a crossroads. Just when Marina thinks that they can consider themselves a couple, Federica endures a series of events that causes her to have an identity crisis. Me, Myself, and Her (Io e lei) will screen in the Frick Fine Arts Auditorium.

April 14th

7 p.m.



The city of Siena, in the heart of Tuscany, is home to the oldest horse race in the world: The Palio. This documentary captures the intensity of the event and the beauty of Siena. It creates a fascinating portrayal of this secular tradition and recounts the dramatic story of a young jockey, Tittia, who, in search of glory, challenges his shrewd mentor, Trecciolino. Palio will screen in the Frick Fine Arts Auditorium.

April 15th

7 p.m.

Una storia sbagliata (Another South)


Stefania is a nurse from Gela, Sicily, who takes part in a humanitarian mission to Iraq during the second Gulf War. There she finds a world that is much different than what she imagined and heard. For Stefania, it is primarily a trip of self-discovery of her past, love for Roberto, and prior life. Una storia sbagliata (Another South) will screen in the Frick Fine Arts Auditorium.

April 16th

7 p.m.

I, Harlequin (Io, Arlecchino)


Paolo Milesi, host of a famous television program, is forced to return to his hometown to take care of his father, a well-known actor and interpreter of the Harlequin character. The old wounds of their difficult relationship are reopened, while Paolo slowly rediscovers the fascinating world of the Commedia Dell’Arte—a world that will make him question his own superficial existence. I, Harlequin (Io, Arlecchino) will screen in the Frick Fine Arts Auditorium. A closing-night reception in the Frick Fine Arts Cloisters will follow.

Festival attendees will be invited to partake in an audience competition by rating films on a scale of one to five stars. Ballots will be tallied from all screenings on the national tour, and the film with the highest score will receive the Best Film Award. The movies will be shown in their original filming languages with English subtitles when necessary. The screening schedule follows. All screenings are free and open to the public.

Weekly Movie Roundup: March 21st – March 27th

March 22nd

Kings on the Hill: Baseball’s Forgotten Men – University of Pittsburgh


The University of Pittsburgh will host an Engaging August Wilson’s Fences presentation of the Negro League baseball documentary Kings on the Hill: Baseball’s Forgotten Men. The screening will take place in 3106 Wesley W. Posvar Hall at 2 p.m. and includes a faculty-led discussion. The event is free and open to the public.

Science on Screen: Babette’s Feast – Regent Square Theater


As part of a national Science on Screen program, a three-part series that pairs feature films with expert scientific insight, the Regent Square Theater will present a screening and analysis of Babette’s Feast. Directed by Gabriel Axel, the Oscar-winning film focuses on a French housekeepeer whose cooking changes the lives of a group of pious villagers in late nineteenth-century Denmark. The event will begin at 6:30 p.m. with a demonstration on various food preservation techniques from Susan Marquesen, a Penn State Master Gardener and Food Preserver, and member of the Pittsburgh Canning Exchange. The screening will follow at 7:30 p.m. Tickets cost $8 and are available for purchase at Showclix.

March 24th

Brew Cinema Part XIII: The Frighteners – Hollywood Theater


Things will get spooky at the Hollywood Theater when Cinema 412 returns for a special Brew Cinema screening of The Frighteners. Directed by Peter Jackson, the 1996 horror comedy stars Michael J. Fox as a psychic con man who must stop a demonic spirit from killing the living and the dead. The event begins at 8 p.m. and includes a screenprinted poster reveal by artist Dave Perillo and alcoholic libations from Fat Head’s Brewery. Tickets cost $10 to $50 and are available for purchase at Showclix. All proceeds benefit the Michael J. Fox Foundation and the Hollywood Theater.

March 25th

Babe: Pig in the City – Hollywood Theater


The Hollywood Theater will go on a whimsical adventure with the 1998 film Babe: Pig in the City. Directed by George Miller (Mad Max: Fury Road), the offbeat sequel follows the lovable Hoggett pig as he travels to the big city to help save his master’s farm, only to wind up helping a group of homeless animals. Showtimes will continue through March 27th. Tickets cost $5 to $8 and are available for purchase at Showclix or at the door.

Film Noir – Row House Cinema


The Row House Cinema will present a week of stylish crime dramas representing the best in film noir and neo-noir. The selections include the 1941 genre-defining classic The Maltese Falcon, the 1958 Orson Welles production Touch of Evil, the 1974 Roman Polanski masterpiece Chinatown, and the 2005 hardboiled high school mystery Brick. Showtimes and ticket prices are available on the Row House website.

March 26th

Rocky Horror Picture Show – Hollywood Theater


The Junior Chamber of Commerce Players return for another Rocky Horror Picture Show midnight shadowcast screening at the Hollywood Theater. The show begins at 11:45 p.m. Tickets cost between $5 to $8 and are available for purchase at Showclix.

Weekly Movie Roundup: March 14th – March 20th

March 14th

Hollywood Theater’s 90th Birthday Party  – Hollywood Theater


The historic Hollywood Theater will celebrate 90 years with a special guest screening and and party. Ghost Whisperer actor and Pittsburgh native David Conrad will present a new digital restoration of the essential 1949 film noir classic The Third Man. Also included in the festivities is a live performance by Tom Roberts and Friends, food by Eliza’s Oven, alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, and a raffle. Doors open at 7 p.m. followed by an introduction by Conrad and the film at 8 p.m. Tickets cost $20  at Showclix, $25 at the door. Member tickets are $15.

Serenity Drink and Draw – Row House Cinema


Bring your sketch pad and art supplies to Row House Cinema for a Drink and Draw celebration of the theater’s Sci-Fi Fest. Co-hosted by Atlas Tap Room and the Toonseum, the event includes a tasty draft beer of your choice, a guided drawing session, a small popcorn, and a ticket to the 9:15 p.m. showing of director Joss Whedon’s space western Serenity. Activities begin at 7:30 p.m. Tickets cost $25 and are available for purchase at the Row House website.

March 17th

The Birds – Melwood Screening Room

THE BIRDS, 1963.

Melwood Screening Room will present a screening of Alfred Hitchcock‘s 1963 film The Birds. The horror hit stars Tippi Hedren and Rod Taylor as a two people whose potential romance is interrupted by flocks of deadly birds in a small California coastal town. The screening will begin at 7 p.m. A discussion will follow.

March 18th

Charlie Chaplin Silent Picture Show – Oaks Theater


Musicians Tom Roberts and Mary Beth Malek will play an original live score for three Charlie Chaplin films at the Oaks Theater. The bar and kitchen open at 6:30 p.m. followed by the show at 7:30 p.m. Advance tickets cost $10 and are available for purchase at Showclix.

Mountains May Depart – Harris Theater


The Chinese feature Mountains May Depart will open at the Harris Theater. At once an intimate drama and a decades-spanning epic that leaps from the recent past to the present to the speculative near-future, director  Jia Zhang-ke‘s new film is an intensely moving study of how China’s economic boom and the culture of materialism it has spawned has affected the bonds of family, tradition, and love. Check the Pittsburgh Filmmakers website for showtimes.

Troublermakers: The Story of Land Art – Melwood Screening Room


Troublermakers: The Story of Land Art will open at Melwood Screening Room. Directed by James Crump, the documentary unearths the history of land art in the tumultuous late 1960s and early 1970s, and features rare footage and interviews which unveil the enigmatic lives and careers of such storied artists as Robert Smithson, Walter De Maria and Michael Heizer. Check the Pittsburgh Filmmakers website for showtimes.

March 20th

El Topo – Regent Square Theater


Regent Square Theater will screen Mexican director Alejandro Jodorowsky‘s 1970 film El Topo. The surreal western stars Jodorowsky as a black-clad gunfighter who embarks on a symbolic quest in an Old West version of Sodom and Gomorrah. The screening will begin at 8 p.m. 

Silents, Please! Haxan: Witchcraft Through the Ages – Hollywood Theater


The Hollywood Theater continues its Silents, Please! series with the 1922 Scandinavian silent feature Haxan: Witchcraft Through the Ages. The dark, stylish film from Benjamin Christensen traces the evolution of witchcraft, from its pagan roots to the rise of witch hunts throughout modern Europe. The screening includes live musical accompaniment by Richard Nicol of Pittsburgh Modular Synthesizers. The event will begin at 3 p.m. Tickets cost between $5 and $8 and are available for purchase at Showclix or at the door.

Kelly Strayhorn Spotlights ‘BaddDDD Sonia Sanchez’

BaddDDD Sonia Sanchez

This week, the Kelly Strayhorn Theater will kick off its SUNSTAR Festival, a three-day event celebrating the creative contributions of women in the arts, entrepreneurship, and community. On March 12th, SUNSTAR will present a screening of BaddDDD Sonia Sanchez, a documentary about an influential writer and activist.

In BaddDDD Sonia Sanchez, 80-year-old Sonia Sanchez‘s life unfolds through readings and jazz-accompanied performances of her work. Directed by Janet Goldwater, Barbara Attie and Sabrina Schmidt Gordon, the film features appearances by Questlove, Talib Kweli, Ursula Rucker, Amiri Baraka, Haki Madhubuti, Jessica Care Moore, Ruby Dee, Yasiin Bey, Ayana Mathis, Imani Uzuri and Bryonn Bain, and examines Sanchez’s contribution to the world of poetry, her singular place in the Black Arts Movement and her leadership role in African American culture over the last half century.

BaddDDD Sonia Sanchez will screen at 2 p.m. Tickets are pay-what-you-can and are available at the Kelly Strayhorn website.

[Interview] ‘Fursonas’ Director Talks Furries And Filmmaking


In 2012, Point Park University student Dominic Rodriguez and his team launched an Indiegogo campaign for what would become Fursonas, a documentary exploring the often misunderstood world of furries, a group broadly characterized by its love of anthropomorphic animals. After four years in production, the film – which was was produced by Danny Yourd (Blood Brother) and his Pittsburgh-based company, Animal Films – premiered at the 2016 Slamdance Film Festival, where it won the Spirit of Slamdance award and was scooped up for distribution by Gravitas Ventures.

On March 10th, Fursonas will make its Pittsburgh premiere at the Regent Square Theater. Steel Cinema spoke with Rodriguez about directing his first documentary, his big Slamdance win, and his own connection with the furry community.

What inspired you to pursue this documentary in the first place?

It started out as my senior thesis film at Point Park. So I was working with Olivia [Vaughn], who was the producer. We worked together before, and she had wanted to do a documentary, and she asked me if I would direct a documentary with her. I’d never done one before, but it sounded interesting. We were going to do a different project at first, something to do with mental health or something, but that didn’t really go anywhere, and then when we were trying to find a new idea for a project, this was right around the time that Anthrocon was going on in July. I’ve been interested in this stuff for a long time, and I’ve identified as a furry for about 10 years, but it was something that I looked at from a distance. And so I used it as an excuse to get closer to that world and learn more about it. And then over the course of making this film, I’ve gotten way more involved in that scene.

So this became a personal journey for you as well?

That was something that, early on, I didn’t tell my crew for two years. I was a total liar about it, because I wanted to be a filmmaker first and I wanted to approach it as a filmmaker from the outside and to not have any of my biases get in the way. But that was obviously impossible to do. And so, the more we worked on it, the more comfortable I became, and I thought, well, if I’m going to do something that’s real, I can’t ignore the fact that I’m a part of this. And so I’m in the movie as well. I don’t want people to think that this is my story in the fandom because it’s really not, it’s really their story. But I’m certainly a part of it.

How is Pittsburgh’s relationship with Anthrocon portrayed in the film? I’m sure a lot of people outside the city don’t know that it’s a big deal here.

They definitely bring a lot of money into Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh has been very receptive to the furries. I think that it’s one of the friendlier cities. Some conventions that I’ve been to, they stay more in the convention space, whereas in Pittsburgh, you’ll see fursuiters out on the street and they’ll kind of invade Pittsburgh for the weekend. I know that this year they did the parade outside, and they hadn’t done that in previous years, so it’s becoming more integrated in Pittsburgh culture. But usually anybody in Pittsburgh has heard of it.

I understand that you interviewed people from all over the country. I’m just wondering how you managed to get so many different perspectives in the film.

In the beginning, we didn’t have a ton of resources, and so I started out interviewing people within driving distance. Most of them were in the Pennsylvania, Ohio area. There are lists of fursuiters online, so that’s an easy way to start just doing research. And I messaged hundreds of people, and it really was just about who would get back to me. We were also trying to get some kind of diversity. We have a mother, there’s a kid who’s in school, there’s a guy who’s retired. And then it sort of branched out from there. One of [the subjects] moved a year later, and when we got a grant from the Sprout Fund, we had enough money that we could go to Arizona and actually see what his life was like a year later. And then we went to Seattle because there were known furries I really wanted to talk to who were in the media. There was somebody that had been on The Tyra Banks Show who was in Seattle, and I really wanted to talk to her.

And then the criteria was just… you don’t have to have a suit to be a furry, and that’s probably something I’m going to get some flak for, because I only talk to people who have the costumes, usually. But to me, it was just a good visual element that showed somebody’s dedication to this community. To me, it shows that you’re going that extra mile and that it’s a part of your life. That was really fascinating to me.

Did you experience people being hesitant to talk to you for the film?

Absolutely. That was a huge challenge, because furries feel that the way they’ve been portrayed in the media is usually negatively. Everybody who was in the film, I’m super appreciative that they opened up their lives to me. It took a lot open up your life for several years to a stranger. But on the whole, I think there’s a lot of defensiveness, there’s a lot of skepticism of the media, so it took time to break through and get people’s trust.

That’s interesting, because there is definitely a stigma connected with the community. The way I was introduced to it years ago was as a sexual perversion – I of course found out later that is not the case. But how do you think the film will inform or re-inform people about this community as a whole?

I had been interested in the community, but I didn’t know furries personally. I didn’t know much about the social scene, I had never been to conventions and stuff. So when I started out thinking about it, I assumed we’re probably going to subvert some stereotypes. But then also probably confirm some stereotypes, too. Originally, I didn’t care what ended up being proven, I just wanted it to be real. So I didn’t purposely choose subjects that I thought were going to portray the fandom in a good light or a bad light, I just wanted them to be furries.

And then I thought if I talked to enough of them, it would be more on the side of this is a story about people, and it’s supportive of their rights to do what they want to do with their lives. But I think people will be surprised by the fact that, when they get into the film, especially if you’re not a furry – which is sort of the perspective I try to take when I’m watching it – it might seem kind of strange and hard to relate to at first, but then the more you spend time with these people, the more universal the views are.

A description of the film states that it “begins as a series of humanistic portraits”
and “evolves into an exploration of the complicated question concerning community representation in the fandom.” Could you expand on that a bit?

Other furry documentaries, or any other thing I’ve seen on this group, makes a big effort to explain it away. I mean, if you go to Anthrocon’s website, what it’ll say is “a furry is someone who’s interested in anthropomorphic animals, so anybody can be a furry,” which I think is true, but I also think there’s more to it than that, and I think that for some people it’s a huge part of their lives.

The issue is you have so many different people who feel this thing is really important to them, but it’s important to them in different ways. You have Boomer the Dog in the movie who wanted to legally change his name to Boomer the Dog. To me, that’s the most dedicated furry you can be. But then you also have people who would say that Boomer the Dog is not even a furry because he takes it so far to the point where they don’t want him associated with them. So that’s where it starts to get complicated. And the fact that there are all these different perspectives, I just wanted to embrace that complexity as opposed to ignore it, and I think other pieces I’ve seen ignore that complexity. And I think it’s extraordinarily complicated, because you have people where this is their identities, but then it’s also a community. And you see this in religions, you see this in lots of different communities, of people trying to share the same space and call themselves the same word, but in reality it means something different to all of them.

You premiered at Slamdance, where you won the Spirit of Slamdance award. Were you anticipating that you would win anything or that you would get any kind of recognition?

I was hoping we would get in somewhere and that people would watch the film, but, at least with me, having worked on this for so long, you have to be ready for people not to like it. But really, you just want everybody to like it. When we got in there, that was huge and really exciting. And then the fact that we got that award, everybody in the crew was gobsmacked. We did not expect it at all. It was cool, because looking at it now and what the award is about, not just the movie itself, but how you promoted the film, and stuff like that. I was in my fursuit walking around, so definitely everybody knew who we were, so it makes sense.

You were also acquired by Gravitas Ventures. Do have any timeline for when the film will be released?

What I know is that they’re doing a video-on-demand release. That would be this summer. I don’t know the exact month, but it’s pretty soon, actually.

That’s what’s really cool is there’s momentum being established, especially on the furry side of things. Furries will want to see this movie because it’s about something that they care about, and every piece of furry media that comes out is hotly debated within the community. So this is going to be a great platform for everybody to see it, but I think especially for furries to see it.

You’re having a premiere at Regent Square Theater on March 10th, and I’m wondering what kind of reception or reaction are you hoping for at the premiere, if any?

There’s going to be a Q&A after, so I’m hoping for some thoughtful discussion afterwards. Obviously I want people to enjoy it and be able to relate to it. I think it depends on whether you’re a furry or not. People who aren’t furries, the vibe that I generally get is that the film is relatable and that they feel like they learned something, and that they felt something, and that they see the subjects as people and not just as fursuiters without personalities.

But then from the furry side of things, I think the movie asks some challenging questions to the community, and so I think that will be kind of different. That is something I would get more nervous about, because I don’t want furries to think that I’m out to get them or anything. The film, I think, is very pro-furries. But it’s not like a PR piece. So that’s why I think it might be a bit more controversial. But so far, when we were in Slamdance, five furries saw it there that I never met before. One traveled 300 miles to see it. They were there in their fursuits and they all loved it.

The Fursonas Pittsburgh premiere will begin at 7 p.m. A Q&A with Rodriguez and the entire filmmaking team – as well as a few possible special guests – will follow the screening. Guests are also encouraged to join the team for an afterparty at Brew Gentleman. Tickets cost $10 and are available for purchase at Eventbrite.