Category: Festivals

Sembène Film & Arts Festival Brings Powerful Documentaries And More To Alphabet City

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Beasts of the Southern Wild

The Sembène Film & Arts Festival launches their 9th season at Alphabet City. From November 2 – 9, the event includes important films and readings. See below for schedule and details:

November 2

7 p.m.

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The Untold Story of Emmet Till

The Untold Story of Emmett Louis Till articulates the madness of racism in the South of the 1950s. Combining archival photos and footage with deeply felt interviews, this documentary tells the harrowing story of what happened when a mischievous 14-year-old black boy from Chicago, visiting his relatives in Mississippi, whistled at a white woman in the street. The lynching that followed was so gruesome that a media circus surrounded the trial–and what stunned the nation was not only the crime but the blithe unconcern the citizens of a small Mississippi town felt toward the brutal murder of a black teenager.

Herb Boyd, co-author of Simeon’s story: An Eyewitness Account of the Kidnapping of Emmet Till, will moderate a post-film discussion. Tickers are free.

November 3

7 p.m.

Journalist and activist Herb Boyd will present a reading and discussion of his latest book, Black Detroit: A People’s History of Self-Determination, a groundbreaking history of the struggles and resilience of African Americans from the city’s birth 200 years ago until the present. Tickets are free.

November 5

11 a.m.

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Kids and Family Event: Beasts of the Southern Wild 

In a forgotten but defiant bayou community cut off from the rest of the world by a sprawling levee, a six-year-old girl, Hushpuppy (Quvenzhané Wallis), exists on the brink of orphanhood. Buoyed by her childish optimism and extraordinary imagination, she believes that the natural order is in balance with the universe until a fierce storm changes her reality. Desperate to repair the structure of her world in order to save her ailing father and sinking home, this tiny hero must learn to survive unstoppable catastrophes of epic proportions. Tickets are free.

Journalist Herb Boyd will lead a post-film discussion.

November 9

7 p.m.

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Chasing Trane

Set against the social, political and cultural landscape of the time, Chasing Trane brings saxophone great John Coltrane to life, as a man and an artist. The film is the definitive look at the boundary-shattering musician and composer whose influence continues to resonate around the world. Coltrane’s incredible story is told by his children and biographers, the musicians who worked with him (Sonny Rollins, McCoy Tyner, Benny Golson, Jimmy Heath, Reggie Workman), musicians inspired by his artistry and vision (Common, The Doors’ John Densmore, Wynton Marsalis, Carlos Santana, Wayne Shorter, Kamasi Washington), and many others. Narration provided by Denzel Washington.

K. Mensah Wali of Kente Arts Alliance, who followed Coltrane throughout his career, will lead a post-film discussion. Tickets are free.

Dinner at Alphabet City’s in-house Casellula Cheese & Wine Cafe is available for before, after or during events. Advance reservations are recommended.

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August Wilson Center Hosts First Pittsburgh Shorts Film Festival

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Pittsburgh Shorts Film Festival. Image courtesy of Film Pittsburgh.

From October 25-29, the August Willson Center will screen 90 films from 20 countries for the first-ever Pittsburgh Shorts Film Festival. Presented by Film Pittsburgh, the event will feature special programs, visiting filmmakers, parties, and more.

The festival opens with an opening night showcase of eight films, including Rated. The award-winning short follows Maggie, a wife and mother who must find the courage to own up to her behavior when she wakes up to find every adult has received a YELP-like star rating floating above their head. While most everyone has a shining 4 and 5-star rating, Maggie’s got just 2.5.

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Rated

The event also includes an after-party with drinks, schmoozing, and food provided by Big Burrito. Tickets for Opening Night cost $15-25.

From there, the festival includes a diverse array of films, including a family matinee with eight kid-friendly shorts. Among the local films presented are three selections from the annual Pittsburgh 48 Hour Film Project.  The group includes Girl Seeking Wood, the story of a young Amish woman whose life changes forever when she finds a cell phone.

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Girl Seeking Wood

Those looking for a fright should check out the Thrills and Chill Program featuring 10 indie horror shorts, including Great Choice, an Overlook Film Festival selection about a woman who gets stuck in a Red Lobster commercial. There’s also a Halloween bash with a photo booth, food and drinks, and a live DJ.

Purchase tickets for individual Pittsburgh Shorts Film Festival programs or invest in a $50 weekend pass that covers three days, 70-plus films, and the Halloween bash.

Steel City Massacre: Pittsburgh Does Halloween 2017

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Creepshow

It’s that time of year again, and Pittsburgh has tons of movie events to get you in the Halloween spirit. Scare yourself all month long with festive horror screenings, parties, and festivals.

The Indie Horror Drive-In Film Festival – Riverside Drive-In Theatre

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Family Possessions

On October 6-7, the Riverside Drive-In Theatre will present a creepy crop of short and feature-length independent works for the second annual Indie Horror Drive-In Film Festival. See schedule below:

October 6:

7:35 p.m. – The Blood Shed

8 p.m. – Close Calls 

10:30 p.m. – Pool Party Massacre

12 a.m. – 3 Dead Trick or Treaters

October 7:

7:35 – 8 p.m. – The Stylist and Knob Goblins

8 p.m. – Circus of the Dead

10 p.m. – Family Possessions

11:45 p.m. – Shorts Block with John The Carpenter, Born Again, and Gwilliam 

12:20 a.m. – Space Babes from Outer Space

Admission to the Indie Horror Drive-In Film Festival costs $8 per night.

Haunted Oaks Film Festival – Oaks Theater

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Blue Mountain Motel: The Innkeeper

On October 7, the Oaks Theater will showcase 13 locally made short films during the Haunted Oaks Film Festival. Selections include Blue Mountain Motel: The Innkeeper by Nathan King and Seth Smiley and the 2016 48 Hour Horror Film Project film When Madness Creeps In. The event also includes a cocktail hour where guests enjoy $5 and mingle with cast, crew and fellow horror lovers, a directors Q&A, and a chance to cast your ballot for the Audience Award. Films begin at 7:30 p.m. Tickets cost $10.

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Manor At Midnight – Manor Theatre

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The freaks come out at night when the Manor Theatre presents their latest Midnight at the Manor movie lineup. The schedule includes David Cronenberg’s The Fly (October 7), the horror comedy What We Do In The Shadows (October 14), a restored print of Night Of The Living Dead (October 20 and 21), and The Shining (October 28). All shows will start at midnight, with the exception of Night Of The Living Dead. Please note that there will be two Night Of The Living Dead shows each evening at 10:45 p.m. and 11:45 p.m.

Row House Cinema: Midnight Edition – Row House Cinema

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Row House Cinema will present three horror hits for their Midnight Edition series. Selections include the 2014 indie Goodnight Mommy (October 7), the J-horror classic Ringu (October 21), and the Guillermo del Toro film The Devil’s Backbone (October 28). Tickets to all shows cost $10.

AMC Waterfront 22: Classic Movie Nights – AMC Loews Waterfront 22

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AMC Loews Waterfront 22 will inject some horror into its Classic Movie Nights series with a few spooky selections. On October 6, it’s the 1975 cult musical Rocky Horror Picture Show, followed by the witchy romantic comedy Practical Magic on October 11, Friday the 13th on Friday, October 13 (of course), The Lost Boys on October 18, Tim Burton’s Beetlejuice on October 25, and The Crow on October 30. Tickets cost $5. VIP seating is also available.

Friday the 13th Movie and Beer Tasting – Oaks Theater

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On October 12, enjoy a bloody good time when the Oaks Theater pairs beer with a screening of the slasher classic Friday the 13th. The 1980 film pits a group of teen camp counselors against a killer with a ruthless vendetta. Event begins at 7:30 p.m. Tickets cost $8.

The Old Dark House – Hollywood Theater

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From October 13-15, the Hollywood Theater resurrects a lost horror gem when it shows the new 4K restoration of The Old Dark House (1932). Bride of Frankenstein director James Whale added a comic spin to his adaptation of the 1927 J. B. Priestley novel Benighted, which follows a group of lost travelers who take refuge in a gloomy, secluded mansion. The atmospheric thriller features a post-Frankenstein Boris Karloff, Melvin Douglas, Charles Laughton, Raymond Massey and Gloria Stuart of Titanic fame. Tickets cost $5-8.

A Celebration of George Romero – Various venues

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Pittsburgh will come together to honor a late horror master when Row House Cinema and company present A Celebration of George Romero. From October 13-19, the week-long tribute will feature screenings and programming presented by several local businesses. Events include Romero movies at Row House Cinema, the “resurrection” of the Pittsburgh zombie store House of the Dead, a mini Zombie School with The ScareHouse, a #RomeroWasHere Scavenger Hunt at Romero film locations throughout Western Pennsylvania, and a horror-themed trivia night at the Row House Cinema sister store, Bierport. The Douglas Education Center will also present makeup and special effects demonstrations by George A. Romero’s Filmmaking Program and Tom Savini’s Special Makeup and Effects Program. Event dates and times are available at the Row House Cinema website.

Living Dead Weekend – Living Dead Museum

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The Living Dead Museum will once again host a weekend of zombie-themed fun for the whole family in Evans City, PA. From October 20-22, enjoy numerous activities in EDCO Park, including discussion panels and meetups with Living Dead cast and crew members, a pet walk and costume contest, parties, vendors, and more. The event will also honor the late George Romero with a double-feature screening of his films Day of the Dead and Knightriders at the Strand TheaterTicket prices vary.

Row House of Horrors – Row House Cinema

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From October 20-31, Row House Cinema scares up more great movies for Row House of Horrors. Selections include the wacky sequel Evil Dead 2, the 1982 American horror classic Poltergeist, the 1993 comedy Hocus Pocus, and director Dario Argento’s 1977 work Suspiria.

Hollywood Theater Halloween Party with The Lost Boys – Hollywood Theater

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On October 21, vamp it up for the annual Hollywood Theater Halloween Party. The event features a vampire theme in honor of the evening’s screening of The Lost Boys, the 1987 film about two brothers who discover their town is a haven for blood-sucking teens. Don your best vampire look and compete in the costume contest, which includes a category for the best 1980’s-inspired vampire. Transform yourself into a Reagan-era monster at the 1980’s hair bar and vampire makeup station. There will also be vendor tables, a raffle, tasty treats, and other scary fun. Doors open at 7 p.m. The screening takes place at 8 p.m. Tickets cost $15, $12 for Hollywood members, $20 day of event. The event is BYOB.

48 Hour Film Horror Project Festival – Oaks Theater

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The Pittsburgh 48 Hour Film Horror Project challenged 19 teams to write, shoot, edit, and score their own horror shorts over the course of a single weekend. On October 28, the resulting films will premiere at the Oaks Theater and compete for a variety of awards. The event begins at 7:30 p.m. Tickets cost $10 and are available at the door.

Silents, Please! Nosferatu with the Andrew Alden Ensemble – Hollywood Theater

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On October 29, the chamber music group Andrew Alden Ensemble will provide live musical accompaniment to the 1922 silent film Nosferatu. Presented as part of Hollywood Theater‘s Silents, Please! series. German director F. W. Murnau‘s adaptation of Bram Stoker’s Dracula follows the blood-thirsty Count Orlok as he relocates from his castle in the Carpathian mountains to a small German town, where he feeds on the unsuspecting populace. Tickets cost $8-10.

Carnegie Screenwriters Launches Script & Screen Festival At Tull Family Theater

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The Tull Family Theater

From August 26-27Carnegie Screenwriters, a nonprofit group of tri-state writers, actors, and filmmakers, will hold their inaugural Script & Screen Festival. Hosted by the Tull Family Theater, the event will highlight scripts and short films from the Pittsburgh region and all over the globe, including works from Argentina, Iran, Russia, and The United Kingdom.

“Pittsburgh is very much a supportive community when it comes to filmmaking,” said festival director Wendy Grube in a press release. “We hope to bring more area film folks together through this event and encourage folks from other parts of the country and world to travel to the area, share their works and connect with our local filmmakers.”

The festival opens with a reception and seated script reading of three short scripts. Representing Pittsburgh is DIG by Robert Brian Taylor of Mount Lebanon. Also being presented are Giancarlo Fusi‘s Hell to Pay: The Legend of Robert Johnson, a story about the famous bluesman who allegedly sold his soul to the Devil, and Edward Santiago’s Western tale The Badge, the Gun and the Hangman’s Noose.

The following day will include a roster of films, all of which are under 20 minutes in length. Screenings will occur in 90-minute blocks followed by a short break and recognition of the attending filmmakers.

The reception and script readings will take place on August 26 at 6 p.m. Screenings will take place from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. on August 27. Tickets for the reception and screenings are available online or a the door.

Pittsburgh Underground Film Festival Highlights Area LGBTQ+ Filmmakers

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Image courtesy of Reel Q

For the first time, area LGBTQ+ filmmakers have the chance to screen their short movies in a local film festival created for and by them with the Pittsburgh Underground Film Festival (PUFF). Launched by Reel Q, PUFF celebrates “diverse LGBTQ+ communities through the presentation of overlooked and out-of-the-box films, workshops, lectures, and panels.” See below for event dates and details:

August 4

7 p.m.

Ovarian Psychos (dir. Kate Trumbull LaValle and Joanna Sokolowski, 2012)

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Ovarian Psychos

The event opens with Ovarian Psychos. The documentary follows The Ovarian Psycos Cycle Brigade, a raucous group in Eastside Los Angeles that uses their bicycles to confront the violence in their lives. At the helm of the crew is founder Xela de la X, a single mother and poet M.C. dedicated to recruiting an unapologetic, misfit crew of women of color, yet she struggles to strike a balance between motherhood and activism. Evie, a bright-eyed recruit, joins the crew despite poverty and the concerns of her protective Salvadoran mother. Meanwhile, Andi Xoch, a founding member and street artist, journeys to become a new leader within the crew.

Ovarian Psychos screens at 7 p.m. in the Melwood Screening Room. Doors open at 6 p.m. Cast members from the film will make an appearance.

August 5

12:30 p.m.

Only In Pittsburgh!

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Mama Said (dir. Scott Andrew, 2012)

Presented in cooperation with the Melwood Screening Room’s Film Kitchen series and the Indie Oaks Festival, Only In Pittsburgh! serves as a showcase for LGBTQ+ short films made by the local burgeoning film community. The featured works include the educational film parody How to Find a Man, the Dusty Springfield-inspired Mama Said, and The Toothmans, a documentary about a rural Pennsylvania family and their transgender daughter.

Only In Pittsburgh! begins at 12:30 p.m. in the Melwood Screening Room. Doors open at 12 p.m.

2 p.m.

Lives of Their Own: Pittsburgh Queer History Project Screening

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Still from Lucky After Dark by the Pittsburgh Queer History Project

Join archivist Harrison Apple as she presents video content from the Pittsburgh Queer History Project, an oral history and media archive aimed at preserving a record of LGBTQ nightlife from 1960-1990. The lecture includes a full screening of the 1989 Ms. Pittsburgh Pageant. This event is free and open to the public.

3:30 p.m.

The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson (dir. David France, 2017)

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The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson

When Marsha P. Johnson, the beloved self-described “street queen” of Christopher Street, was found floating in the Hudson River in 1992, the NYPD called her death a suicide. Protests erupted but the police remained impassive and refused to investigate. Now, 25 years later, Oscar-nominated director and journalist David France (How To Survive a Plague) examines the death and extraordinary life of a trans icon.

The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson screens at the Melwood Screening Room. Doors open at 3 p.m. 

6 p.m.

The Revival: Women and the Word (dir. Sekiya Dorsett, 2016)

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The Revival: Women and the Word

Jade Foster recruits a group of five dynamic poets and musicians to become stewards of a movement that builds community among queer women of color, upholds literary arts excellence, and occupies living rooms across the country. The documentary follows their international female-led, salon-styled tour.

The Revival: Women and the Word screens at 6 p.m. the Melwood Screening Room. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. Event includes a post-screening poetry performance.

August 6

11 a.m.

Breakfast with Queer PGH

Join Queer PGH for an early lecture about their mission to promote LGBTQ+ voices and perspectives. Created in 2016, the volunteer-run online magazine “made by and for queer folks in Pittsburgh” has become a platform for artists, writers, photographers, and “general queer enthusiasts.”

12:30 p.m.

Get Animated!

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Happy and Gay (dir. Lorelei Pepi, 2015)

Toonseum sponsors a selection of short films from LGBTQ+ animators. The program includes the 1930s-style cartoon musical Happy and Gay, the animated documentary webseries Dating Sucks, A Genderqueer Misadventure, and a look at the work of Jeffrey Krell, an openly gay American cartoonist known for the syndicated comic strip Jayson.

Get Animated! starts at 12:30 p.m. in the Melwood Screening Room. Doors open at 12 p.m. 

2:30 p.m.

JOY! Portrait of a Nun (dir. Joe Balass, 2012)

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JOY! Portrait of a Nun

Spiritual sanctuary, sex, sisterhood and a gathering of faeries. A bearded nun. Through an intimate lens, this feature documentary takes us on a journey with Sister Missionary P. Delight, one of the founders of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. In 1979, Mish, as he is affectionately known by his friends, created an Order of gay male nuns to promote a philosophy of promulgating universal joy and expiating guilt. Both he and the Order have come a long way since then. Today, the Sisters are spread out across the globe, and Mish lives in the middle of the woods of the Deep South, in a community of Radical Faeries. JOY! follows Mish and his community over a seven year period, chronicling the history of the movement and the highs and lows of his own personal journey.

JOY! Portrait of a Nun screens at 2:30 p.m. in the Melwood Screening Room. Doors open at 2 p.m. 

All PUFF events take place at the Melwood Screening Room. Tickets to all screenings cost $10. Lectures and workshops are free.

Pittsburgh International Children’s Film Festival Returns To Row House Cinema

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The Land Before Time

Last year, Row House Cinema launched the Pittsburgh International Children’s Film Festival, a full week of animated and live-action films from around the globe, accompanied by a diverse schedule of family-friendly events. From July 28-August 3, the festival returns with plenty of fun for kids and adults.

Throughout the week, the theater will screen the 1995 adventure film Jumanji, Hayao Miyazaki’s imaginative tale My Neighbor Totoro, Don Bluth’s dinosaur journey The Land Before Time, and Jim Henson’s The Muppets Take Manhattan. The schedule will also feature two age-specific Best of the Fest short film showcases, one for ages 3-7 and one for older children and teens ages 8 and over.

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Best of the Fest’s Konigiri-Kun Shopping (Japan, 2016)

The event kicks off on July 28 with a screening of The Muppets Take Manhattan and Drag Queen Storytime with local performer Cherri Baum. On July 30 from 12-4 p.m., the theater will host a Family Day with local vendors like Nine Stories Bookstore, Songbird Artistry, and 2468 Kids providing free activities and crafts and selling kid-friendly items from books to gender-neutral clothes.

Other festival happenings include Cereal Cinema with My Neighbor Totoro, which includes an all-you- can-eat cereal bar, and a Morning Storytime show specially designed for ages 3-7, including complimentary snacks from Peanut Butter Jelly Time.

Visit the Row House Cinema website for showtimes and tickets.

Pittsburgh Independent Film Festival Highlights And Details

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A Fancy Piece of Homicide

The Pittsburgh Independent Film Festival (PIFF) returns to the Father Ryan Arts Center in McKees Rocks to showcase a variety of short and feature-length films. From June 23-25, the event will screen 59 selections from the U.S. and all over the world, including many made right here in Pittsburgh.

The festival kicks off with an opening ceremony, followed by a reception for attendees to mix and mingle. The evening will also include screenings of the animated short Corky and A Fancy Piece of Homicide, a neo-noir psychological thriller from local filmmaker Joseph Varhola. Starring Pittsburgh-based stage and screen actor Bingo O’Malley (Out of the Furnace, Creepshow), the “psychological murder mystery” follows a retired private eye who once served an extended prison sentence for killing a man he was hired to investigate. He now approaches the completion of his memoir to set the record straight. One night, envelopes containing photographs with connections to the past anonymously begin to show up at his front door, along with a mysterious man (Mark Tierno) who is receiving photographs of his own.

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Corky

From 10 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. on June 24, the festival presents 17 submissions, among them My Name is Joan, a documentary short about a woman who was illegally adopted in the 1950s, and a selection from Italy titled The Rope. Also included is

On Saturday and Sunday, the festival will also present Made In PA, two blocks of films either made in Pennsylvania or by Pennsylvania filmmakers. The chosen selections include director Jes Paul‘s narrative short Promenade and Teaching Peace, a documentary about one man’s mission to spread the virtues of pacifism.

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Promenade

PIFF will also show films hailing from Canada, France, the UK, Israel, and Hungary.

See the complete film schedule at PIFF’s website. Tickets cost $10 for a one-day pass, $15 for a two-day pass, and $20 for a festival pass.

JFilm Showcases Period Dramas, Timely Docs, And The Beauty Of Comedy

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Fanny’s Journey

For over two decades, JFilm Festival has worked to foster a deeper understanding and appreciation of modern Jewish culture and history. From April 20-30, the event will present new films from around the world, along with complementary programming such as visiting filmmakers, guest speakers, and more. See below for highlights and details:

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Take My Nose…Please

The 2017 JFilm Festival will present a variety of documentaries, including the Pittsburgh premiere of Take My Nose…Please. Directed by veteran journalist Joan Kron, the film looks at the role comedy has played in exposing the pressure on women to attain physical perfection. From Phyllis Diller and Joan Rivers to Roseanne Barr and Kathy Griffin, female comedians have been unashamed to talk about their perceived flaws, and the steps taken to remedy them. The film follows two women – up-and coming improv performer Emily Askin and seasoned headliner Jackie Hoffman – as they deliberate about going under the knife.

Also showing in the documentary category is There Are Jews Here, a film about the struggle to keep small-town synagogues open; The Last Laugh, an exploration of how comedians deal with the horrors of the Holocaust and World War II; and On the Map, a look at how, in 1977, an Israeli basketball team gave the country hope.

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There Are Jews Here

The festival will also present narrative films such as The Exception. Filled with espionage and romance, the star-studded World War II thriller features Jai Courtney as a German soldier on a mission to investigate exiled German Monarch Kaiser Wilhelm II (Christopher Plummer). As he begins to infiltrate the Kaiser’s life in search of clues, he finds himself drawn into an unexpected and passionate romance with one of the Kaiser’s maids (Lily James of Downton Abbey) who is secretly Jewish. Their relationship becomes even more complicated when SS leader Heinrich Himmler (Eddie Marsan) suddenly shows up with a large platoon of Nazis in tow.

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The Exception

Other narrative selections include The Jews, a dark satire about anti-Semitism in France; Fanny’s Journey, a WWII-era tale about a 13-year-old girl on the run from the Nazis; and Family Commitment, a screwball comedy about an Arab-Jewish gay couple and their dysfunctional families.

Visit the JFilm website for more film descriptions, a complete screening schedule, and tickets. Events will take place at Manor Theatre and the Hollywood Theater.

Row House Cinema Showcases Cult Classics At Pittsburgh Japanese Film Festival

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House

From April 7-13Row House Cinema hosts the second annual Pittsburgh Japanese Film Festival, the city’s only event dedicated solely to Japanese cinema. Presented in part by the Pittsburgh Japanese Cultural Society and the Japan-America Society of Pennsylvania, the festival features seven handpicked historically and culturally significant films from Japan, all representing different eras and genres.

See film descriptions and details below:

Opening Night Film Samurai Cat (2015, Takeshi Watanabe/Yoshitaka Yamaguchi)

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This action comedy follows a feared swordsman who gets caught between two warring gangs after he absconds with a warlord’s cat.

The Opening Night event includes a special screening of the Studio Ghibli short film Ghiblies: Episode 2. Tickets cost $15 and include admission to the screenings, Japanese snacks, special treats by bakery Yummyholic, and goodies from the Black Cat Market.

House (1977, Nobuhiko Ôbayashi)

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Director Nobuhiko Obayashi’s bizarre fantasy horror film follows a schoolgirl who travels with six classmates to her ailing aunt’s creaky country home and comes face-to-face with evil spirits, a demonic house cat, a bloodthirsty piano, and other ghoulish visions.

Sailor Moon R: The Movie (1993, Kunihiko Ikuhara)

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Long before Mamoru found his destiny with Usagi, he gave a single rose in thanks to a lonely boy who helped him recover from the crash that claimed his parents. This long-forgotten friend, Fiore, has been searching the galaxy for a flower worthy of that sweet gesture long ago. The mysterious flower he finds is beautiful, but has a dark side – it has the power to take over planets. To make matters worse, the strange plant is tied to an ominous new asteroid near Earth! Faced with an enemy blooming out of control, it’s up to Sailor Moon and the Sailor Guardians to band together, stop the impending destruction and save Mamoru.

Harakiri (1962, Masaki Kobayashi)

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Following the collapse of his clan, an unemployed samurai (Tatsuya Nakadai) arrives at the manor of Lord Iyi, begging to be allowed to commit ritual suicide on the property. Iyi’s clansmen, believing the desperate ronin is merely angling for a new position, try to force his hand and get him to eviscerate himself—but they have underestimated his beliefs and his personal brand of honor.

Why Don’t You Play in Hell? (2013, Sion Sono)

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There’s a war going on, but that won’t stop Director Hirata and his inexperienced wannabe film crew from following their dreams of making the ultimate action epic. Ten years ago, yakuza mid-boss Ikegami led an assault against rival don Muto. Now, on the eve of his revenge, all Muto wants to do is complete his masterpiece, a feature film with his daughter in the starring role, before his wife is released from prison. And Hirata and his crew are standing by with the chance of a lifetime: to film a real, live yakuza battle to the death.

Closing Night FilmGhost in the Shell (1995, Mamoru Oshii)

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Set in the year 2029, Oshii’s anime masterpiece follows a female government cyber agent and the Internal Bureau of Investigations are hot on the trail of a “The Puppet Master,” a computer virus capable of invading cybernetic brains and altering its victim’s memory.

Check the Pittsburgh Japanese Film Festival website for ticket prices and showtimes. The festival also includes performances by Pittsburgh Taiko, food and movie pairings with Blue Sparrow Food Truck, local vendor tables, and more.

University Of Pittsburgh Presents Serbian Movie Festival

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Enclave

From March 17-18, the University of Pittsburgh‘s Center for Russian and Eastern European Studies and the Serbian National Federation will present the Serbian Movie Festival, two days of narrative and documentary films about Serbian history and culture.

See film schedule and details below:

March 17

6 p.m.

Enclave (2015, dir. Goran Radovanovic)

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A Christian boy, determined to create a proper community burial for his late grandfather, crosses enemy lines and makes friends among the Muslim majority in deeply divided, war-torn Kosovo.

8 p.m.

Where the Yellow Lemon Blooms (2006, dir. Zdravko Sotra)

A documentary about the suffering of the Serbian people and its army in WWI.

March 18

12 p.m.

We Will Be the World Champions (2015, dir. Darko Bajić)

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A film about the founders of the famous Yugoslav Basketball School and the first gold medal at the Championships in Ljubljana in 1970. Based on a true story.

2:30 p.m.

See You in Montevideo (2014, dir. Dragan Bjelogrlić)

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A football team from Belgrade, in the former Yugoslavia, gets a chance to go to the First World Football Championship, but things get complicated along the way.

The Man Who Defended Gavrilo Princip (2014, dir. Srđan Koljević)

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The film follows the investigation and trial following the Sarajevo assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in 1914, which triggered the First World War. The courtroom drama is seen through the eyes of Rudolf Zistler, one of the attorneys appointed by the court to defend the 24 accused members of Young Bosnia and assassin Gavrilo Princip.

The Serbian Movie Festival will take place in Room 232 of the Cathedral of Learning. The event is free and open to the public.