Category: Indie Films

Row House Cinema Declares Independence With ‘The Mutineer’


The Mutineer

On April 29, Row House Cinema will spotlight a Pittsburgh-made film with the premiere of The Mutineer.

The independent feature film from writer/producer/director John Jaquish follows a group of criminals who, while fleeing a gun possession charge, take over a farm in rural Appalachia and try to secede from the United States. The film, which was shot in West Virginia on black-and-white 35mm film, used an all-Pittsburgh crew, as well as some local acting talent.

The Mutineer premiere takes place at 8 p.m. Tickets cost $7. The screening includes appearances by Jaquish along with a number of cast and crew members.

Riverside Drive-In Hosts Night Of Indie Horror


Fans of guts and gore should head to the Riverside Drive-In for an exclusive, one-night only event. On September 16th, the outdoor venue will screen three movies, including one shot by Pittsburgh filmmakers, for its Independent Horror Film Fest. See schedule and details below:

8 p.m.

The Dooms Chapel Horror (2015)


Described as a “creature feature with heart,” The Dooms Chapel Horror follows Kyle (Austin Madding) as he returns to his hometown after a 10-year-long absence. Blamed for the death of his brother, Ryan (William Ryan Watson), he hopes to clear his name by proving that his brother’s death was an accident. But something in the woods promises to take even more from Kyle.

10 p.m.

The Barn (2015)


Set in Halloween 1989, this selection from the Pittsburgh-based company Nevermore Production Films follows best friends Sam and Josh as they try to enjoy what’s left of their final Devil’s Night before graduating high school. But trouble arises when the two pals and a group of friends take a detour on their way to a rock concert, finding an old abandoned barn and awakening the evil inside. Now it’s up to Sam and Josh to find a way to protect their friends and defeat the creatures that lurk within.

11:45 p.m.

Night of Something Strange (2016)


Five teenage friends set out for the beach on their Spring Break vacation. Good times are cut short when one of the group members contracts a deadly sexual transmitted disease during a bathroom stop. When they stop for the night at an isolated motel, the real terror begins when the STD virus starts running rampant, turning those infected into the living dead. However, there’s more going on at the motel than meets the eye.

Gates for the event open at 7 p.m. Admission is $8.

Filmmaker Joseph Varhola Serves Up ‘A Fancy Piece Of Homicide’


Pittsburgh will get the noir treatment with a new feature film. Writer/director Joseph Varhola, a Pittsburgh Filmmakers alum whose past works include the Three Rivers Film Festival selection Dogplayers and the short sci-fi satire The Underwood Company, recently kicked off a crowdfunding campaign to help finish his latest project, A Fancy Piece of Homicide.

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 (indie film actor Mark Tierno) who is receiving photographs of his own.


A Fancy Piece of Homicide screened at Pittsburgh Filmmakers last March, and is slated to make its world premiere later this year. Before that can happen, Varhola and his crew require funds to cover post-production and distribution costs, including music licensing and festival submission fees. Donations will be accepted at the film’s Kickstarter campaign through April 15th.

Hollywood Theater Suits Up For Sci-Fi Indie ‘Lazer Team’


In 2014, Rooster Teeth, the creators of the long-running web series, Red vs Blue, smashed crowdfunding records during the IndieGoGo campaign to back their feature debut, Lazer Team. This month, the Hollywood Theater will bring the sci-fi comedy to Pittsburgh for its local premiere.

When four small-town losers stumble across an alien crash site containing an incredible battle suit, they soon find themselves responsible for the fate of the entire planet. With this new alien equipment genetically bound to them, and the government hot on their heels, the foursome have no choice but to work together as one to save humanity. All they have to do is learn to use a strange alien device meant for only one-person, train for a battle against an omnipotent enemy, and not kill each other in the process.

Lazer Team will open at the Hollywood Theater on January 29th. Tickets cost between $5 and $8 and are available for purchase at Showclix or at the door.

UnSmoke Systems Examines Art And Immigration With ‘Ellis’


UnSmoke Systems Artspace, a Braddock Redux project housed in an a repurposed school building, “seeks to generate positive and intrepid ideas about the reuse of urban space.” On November 15th, the venue will further that mission when it hosts the TEDxPittsburgh screening of Ellis, a film directed by the French photographer and street artist JR.

Set in the abandoned Ellis Island Hospital complex, and using JR’s UNFRAMED art installations, Ellis tells the forgotten story of the immigrants who built America. The short narrative film – which stars Robert De Niro and is written by Academy Award-winner Eric Roth – tells the story of the ghosts of our countries past, the individuals who fled poverty, discrimination, and dictatorships, for a chance at a new life, and eerily foreshadows the plight of those who currently seek the same opportunities and safety in this country and other parts of the world.

The Ellis screening event will begin at 4:30 p.m. A discussion panel on immigration and Pittsburgh will follow. Admission is free, but guests are encouraged to register at Showclix.

Found Footage Film Reveals Scary Side Of Pittsburgh


A local cast and crew will capture some of the spooky corners of Pittsburgh with Brew House, an independent found footage horror film that centers around an abandoned distillery. But the production will need a little help before all the scary fun can begin.

Directed by John Sabatine, the story follows a group of fame-hungry explorers who, after being inspired by a real-life webseries, investigate an abandoned distillery where they face decades of ruins and deceased inhabitants. The screenplay builds off the city’s own industrial history, and utilizes real Pittsburgh locations (kept under wraps while the film proceeds with production). The film stars Katie Schurman, Jordan Streussnig, Johnathon L. Jackson, Greg Richards and Jess Paul.

The audience will experience the story exclusively through the characters’ eyes thanks to the use of GoPro Hero4 cameras. Released last fall, the action-camera brand’s latest release features 3840 by 2160 resolution as opposed to the standard 1080p. This will make Brew House the very first ever found-footage thriller shot in 4K.

A Kickstarter for Brew House was recently launched to fund the film from pre-production through principal photography, including the cost of five GoPro cameras, batteries, and memory cards. The campaign will accept donations through Feb. 9th.

2014 Three Rivers Film Festival Details And Highlights


The 2014 Three Rivers Film Festival (3RFF) will present 15 days of features, shorts, and animated works from around the world, including Pittsburgh. The event kicks off on Nov. 7th with four film screenings at venues throughout the city. The evening includes the local premieres of Foxcatcher, the highly anticipated bio-drama from director Bennett Miller (Regent Square Theater), the gas boom documentary The Overnighters (Harris Theater), Jean-Luc Godard‘s experimental 3D film Goodbye to Language (Waterworks Cinema), and the locally filmed, award-winning indie Homemakers (Melwood Screening Room). An Opening Night Party will take place at 9 p.m. at Pittsburgh Filmmakers, and will include a live performance by Union Rye, music from DJ Tricky Powers, and refreshments courtesy of Great Lakes Brewery, Spak Brothers, SaludPgh, and more.


Among the films representing Pittsburgh is the JFK assassination conspiracy drama The Umbrella Man, the Steeltown Film Factory winner Franksgiving, and a tribute to local artist Emmett Frisbee. The festival will also showcase microcinema with the curated exhibition jORGONEson Presents, the local music and video collaboration Mind Cure Records Presents, and the skateboard documentary and shorts collection Scumco and Sons Presents.


3RFF will also host some of the year’s most talked about films, including two star-studded selections, the dark comedy Listen Up Philip and the WWII code-breaking thriller The Imitation Game. From abroad comes The Tribe, Ukraine’s brutal illustration of power structure at a boarding school for the deaf; the 2013 Venice Film Festival Grand Jury Prize winner Stray Dogs; and the Dutch coming-of-age drama Supernova. A diverse array of thought-provoking documentaries will also take center stage, including Cowboy ChristmasH.D. Motyl‘s intimate portrait of rodeo life; The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness, a last look inside the legendary Japanese animation giant Studio Ghibli; and the Oscar-nominated Dirty Wars.


In addition, the festival will highlight animation with Hayao Miyazaki‘s imaginative fairy tale Spirited Away, the Japanese anime Welcome to the Space Show, and French animator Paul Grimault‘s restored classic The King and the Mockingbird. Also featured is Latvia’s 2015 Animated Feature Oscar entry Rocks in my Pockets, a trio of personal stories told through director Signe Baumane‘s combination of papier-mache, stop-motion, and hand-drawn animation.


The festival runs from Nov. 7th to Nov. 22rd. Screenings will take place at Waterworks Cinema, Regent Square Theater, Harris Theater, Melwood Screening Room, Brillobox, Gooski’s, The Irma Freeman Center for Imagination, and Brillobox. For more information, please visit the 3RFF website, where you’ll find a complete schedule and details on additional films, discussions, live music events, and other festival happenings. Tickets for all 3RFF screenings are available for purchase at Showclix.

Hollywood Theater Goes ‘As High As The Sky’ With Indie Film Screening


Pittsburgh native Caroline Fogarty has appeared in numerous television (Big Love, Desperate Housewives) and movie (Waitress) projects since she began her acting career. On July 12th, the Hollywood Theater will showcase one of her recent performances with a special screening.

Fogarty stars as Margaret in As High as the Sky, the award-winning feature debut from writer-director Nikki Braendlin. Produced by a mostly female crew, and featuring an all-female cast, the indie comedy explores the fragile bonds between sisters. After being jilted by her fiancé, Margaret manages her loneliness by obsessively and compulsively organizing her already perfect home. But when her older sister, Josephine (Bonnie McNeil), and ten-year-old niece, Hannah (Laurel Porter), arrive unexpectedly for what seems an indefinite visit, Margaret’s carefully structured life is thrown into disarray, forcing her to adapt to the duo’s free-spirited lifestyle and to confront the years of estrangement. Weighed down by guilt for abandoning her sister after their parents’ death and questioning her parenting skills, Josephine does her best to reconnect with Margaret by including her in family activities with Hannah – truth or dare games, backyard movie nights, and upside-down floating heads. Initially resistant, Margaret slowly opens herself to the mess of family emotions and realizes a new definition of family while learning that the bonds of sisterhood can be reestablished with time. But just as Margaret begins to embrace her new family, she discovers the truth behind Josephine’s visit.

As High as the Sky begins at 7 p.m. Tickets are $8, $6 for seniors, students with valid ID, and kids 12 and under, and are available for purchase at Showclix.


Horror Realm Film Festival Entry ‘Denizen’ Receives Director’s Cut


Indie filmmaker Jacque “J.A.” Steel was a student at Penn Trafford High School when, in 1987, Dawn of the Dead actor and FX artist Tom Savini came to speak. The event inspired the Westmoreland County native to pursue a career in the movie business, and in the years that followed, she interned on big Hollywood projects (Hudson Hawk, The Last Boy Scout, Tales From the Crypt), and worked with horror directors Tobe Hooper (Texas Chain Saw Massacre) and Gil Adler (Freddy’s Nightmares, Ghost Ship). In 1999, she made her first feature The Third Society, which received international distribution through her music and film production company Warrior Entertainment.

Recently, Steel visited Pittsburgh to screen her films for the first time in her home state. Last May, she attended the Horror Realm Film Festival at the Hollywood Theater and dominated the event’s schedule with three entries – Blood Fare, a Civil War ghost story with a modern twist; Salvation, the story of a girl who rises from the dead to take revenge on her killers; and Denizen, a horror actioner about a group of scientists battling a bloodthirsty creature. Blood Fare won Best FX and Best Supporting Actress for Brandi Lynn Anderson‘s performance.

Defined by barebone production values and DIY special effects, Steel’s films would not look out of place in Troma’s vast catalog, or in the realm of the schlock factory, Asylum. In terms of content, they’re throwbacks to the bygone straight-to-VHS era, a time when production companies flooded video stores with independent features full of martial arts, muscle-and-guns action, and marauding mutants, and her newest venture is no exception.

On June 26th, Steel will premiere the director’s cut of her third indie feature Denizen exclusively on Dailymotion. Originally released in 2010, the film follows Sierra Deacon (Steel), Dexter Maines (Ben Bayless) and Dallas Murphy (Jody Mullins) as they race to save a small town from a giant, murderous monster. After several deaths, a special Army Unit, led by General Jernigan (Glen Jensen), is called in to contain the creature and, if necessary, destroy the town. It becomes a race against time to stop the bloodshed and prevent any further destruction.

Though the film struggles with technical issues, including often blurry footage, inconsistent sound, and choppy editing, its ambitious storyline – which includes everything from a military conspiracy to a fountain of youth – makes it a fun, if not shoddy, bit of low budget camp. It’s further bolstered by a very game cast – I was most taken by Jensen, who chews the scenery as the lunatic, cigar-chomping warmonger Jernigan. In its best moments, Steel, who wrote, directed and starred in the film, demonstrates a flair for unpretentious dialogue that’s rich with humor and Ed Woodian charm. These qualities figure into lines both absurd (when asked why her voice sounds weird, Deacon answers “I’m growing gills to breathe underwater”) and over-the-top (“History will find me a patriot!” Jernigan declares, putting a stogie to his lips). With the right financing, I can only imagine the boundless macho insanity of which Steel is capable.

Denizen hits Dailymotion on June 26th. The original Denizen feature will still be available though Amazon and limited festival screenings. Steel is also currently developing Denizen 1.1 as the prequel to the film’s storyline, and welcomes input from fans and critics alike.


2014 Pittsburgh Independent Film Festival Schedule


The Pittsburgh Independent Film Festival (PIFF) has selected 63 micro-budget and no-budget films from around the world, showcasing filmmakers who possess an independent vision and create innovative work outside the studio system. The works, which represent a wide range of genres, including feature films, documentaries, music videos, web series, and animation, will compete for a Official Selection Plaques in a number of categories.

The festival kicks off with the Opening Ceremonies on June 20th at 6:30 p.m. The event begins with an awards show, followed by a screening of the music video I Love You…But by Thomas Zoeschg, and two narrative shorts, Parole Officers by Adam Ward and Malory & Nicole by Ward and Ronald Quigley. The evening also includes a reception and a filmmakers mix and mingle.

Please see the festival schedule below:

June 21st

10 a.m.

Strings Of Colors (11m, India) dir. Sharan Mohanadoss
Documentary Short


An observational documentary that takes place in Tamil Nadu, India, in a small village called Tanjore. It explores the process of making a saree from scratch to finish, the various kinds of designs, colors, space, time and also captures the hardship, manual labor and emotions that goes into making this beautiful traditional dress.

Hey, Coach: The Sideline Story (14m, US) dir. Vincent Barnard
Documentary Short


The story of four Pennsylvania high school coaches as they lead their players, deal with disgruntled parents, and help shape young lives.

Rose, Mary and Time (38m, United Kingdom) dir. Hardeep Giani
Narrative Short


Barney, who tragically lost his wife six year ago, unlocks magical powers contained in a clock he inherited. With the help of a wise Indian shop keeper, Barney finds himself back in time, with the opportunity to save the love of his life.

Hard Love (9m, US) dir. Leland Douglas
Narrative Short


When Harry wakes up in bed with a beautiful young girl he just met, she insists they’re made for each other and wants to spend the day with him. Harry warns her that she won’t like what he does for a living, but she promises it doesn’t matter, whatever it is. Harry grudgingly allows her to tag along on a dangerous assignment that will end up changing their destinies forever.

Mirage (9m, US) dir. Iker Maidagan


A young Inuit boy finds the rear entry to the Bermuda Triangle while trying to fish in the Arctic wilderness.

11:25 a.m.

Wagonmasters (19m, US) dir. Sam Smartt and Chris Zaluski
Documentary Short


Station wagons were America’s “workhorses on wheels,” but today, they conjure images of outdated family photos, beehive hairdos and unfashionable wooden siding. There are some, however, who still cling to these vehicles and what they stand for in American culture. “Wagonmasters” offers glimpses into the lives of such wagon enthusiasts, and tells the story of the station wagon as it represents a changing America over the last one hundred years.

The No Name Painting Association (23m, China/US) dir. Joe Griffin
Doucmentary Short


A documentary about the Wuming (No Name) group of renegade Chinese artists who painted forbidden images during the Chinese Cultural Revolution and pioneered the Contemporary Chinese Art Movement.

Living Canvas (7m, US) dir. Ronnie Cramer
Documentary Short


A documentation of Xcentricity Gallery’s farewell exhibition (body painting).

Lost in Motion II (5m, Canada) dir. Ben Shirinian


After the success of his 2012 short film Lost in Motion, director Ben Shirinian has reunited with Choreographer/Dancer Guillaume Côté for a powerful new follow-up film exploring the state of mind of an artist. While the original examined the feelings of isolation experienced by an artist before going on stage, Lost in Motion II develops the narrative by delving deeper into the spectrum of emotions felt by a performer. The film combines original choreography, stylized art direction and seamless VFX to visually interpret the experience of an artist baring their soul on stage.

Pie Lady of Pie Town (34m, US) dir. Jane Rosemont
Documentary Short


Why did Kathy Knapp, a successful businesswoman, decide to leave her charmed life to bake pie in a dusty town with no traffic light, no gas station, no motel? The area is teeming with Old West history and hardy characters. The film illustrates Kathy’s resolve, heartache, healing, and how pie is a vehicle for love and peace. You’ll see an alien, a dummy, feel connections to deep space, and hear some finger-snapping tunes. You’ll want pie. Welcome to Pie Town, New Mexico. The name is no joke.

1 p.m.

35 Seconds of Sweetness (3m, US) dir. Sojin Jenny Park and Jae Kyung Ahn

Short film about the environmental impact of discarded chewing gum.

Into the Dark (14m, US) dir. Lukas Hassel
Narrative Short


A journey from Moon to Earth. Real justice. Just reality.

C.T.R.L (3m, United Kingdom) dir. Mariana Conde
New Media Short


A young man’s attempt at a first contact with a love interest is hijacked in a most entertaining way.

Triangle (13m, US) dir. Milton Walker


The story of a man in the big city being guided by the symbols of love around him.

Organized Criminal (14m, US) dir. Geo Santini
Narrative Short


When an ambitious up and coming criminal decides to get even with a vicious drug dealer from his past, he realizes that in order to do so, he has to level the playing field first.

1:50 p.m.

Sins (18m, US) dir. Ev Wolff
Narrative Short


Seeking redemption, and thinking he can change the world for the better, a serial killer takes a future president hostage before he commits suicide.

Crucivixen (5m, US) dir. Holly Siders
Music Video

Sidewalk (4m, US) dir. Celia Bullwinkel


A woman walks through life, but the real journey is deeper within as she confronts her changing body and learns to love herself.

The Heebie-Jeebies (9m, US) dir. Todd Slawsby
Narrative Short


After hearing a scary bedtime story, a young boy and girl become convinced they have monsters under their beds. They may be right.

2:30 p.m.

The Boy and The Bus (23m, United Kingdom) dir. Simon Pitts
Narrative Short


After the death of his mother ten year-old Joe moves to a remote village. It’s where she’d wanted to live. Alone with his older father, Joe is silent with grief. When the local bus driver won’t wait for him, Joe begins to run.

The Lachrymist (25m, US) dir. Matthew Gowan
Narrative Short


In a single take, a young man disappears from a hotel causing his wife to begin questioning not only the staff, but her own sanity.

Moving Out (5m, US) dir. Sean McCarthy
Music Video

The Toothfairy (4m, US) dir. Rachael Sonnenberg
Narrative Short


Eight-year-old Luke believes in the Toothfairy, and he’s not about to be led astray by nonbelievers

Winter Shower (14m, US) dir. Kyoungju Kim
Narrative Short

An eighty-year-old woman goes on a lone journey after receiving a long awaited letter.

Sheltered Love (10m, US) dir. Alex Italics
Narrative Short


Young lovers Judy and Rick decide to use Judy’s family fallout shelter to hide their romance from the disapproving eyes of her father Mort.

Vanished (11m, US) dir. Simon Beckman
Narrative Short


A secret research facility has been completely annihilated when a special ops team comes to the rescue. Keaton, a hard-nosed investigator, tries to reconstruct what has happened when one sole survivor is discovered. Alex, shell-shocked and wounded, can not remember much, still Keaton is relentless. He needs to find out what she knows right away to avoid an even greater disaster.

4:15 p.m.

I Am a Visitor in Your World (82m, US) dir. Miguel Silveira
Feature Documentary


In 2006, at the age of 25, Rebecca Babcock was diagnosed with genetic colon cancer. She began blogging as a way to come to terms with her ‘new normal.’ Out of those blog entries emerged a picture of her struggle. Fighting countless battles with her disease, treatments, surgeries, debt, loneliness, hope and despair, writing was her only outlet. Using her life as a canvas, her poetic words turned her pain into a brutally honest and sometimes harsh look at the realities of having cancer. While her words couldn’t cure her disease, they clearly provided her readers with a completely new outlook on life.

5:35 p.m.

The Vetters: All We Needed (67m, US) dir. Anne Bruder and Nancy Pokorny
Feature Documentary


A close-knit family of six siblings of Mexican/Native American descent from Chardon, Ohio intimately reflects on the sacrifices and steadiness of their humble devoted father, and how they overcame poverty and the heartbreaking loss of their mother to become National Champions, World Record holders, and Olympic contenders as runners in the 1970s and ‘80s.

Door God (23m, China) dir. Yulin Liu
Narrative Short


Seven- year-old girl, Lingli, has been waiting two years for her mother to come home. When her family finally puts up the Door God on Chinese New Year, her mother finally returns, but brings irreversible change to Lingli and her family.

A Stitch in Time (for $9.99) (12m, US) dir. Mu Sun
Narrative Short


Laura Fein has an appointment at a time travel agency to have a burning question answered: Does her coworker like her?

Crisálida (8m, Cuba) dir. Alejandro Enmanuel and Alonso Estrella
Documentary Short


Crisalida, which means “cocoon of an incubating butterfly”, is the name of an 86-year-old woman who watches the world through her bedroom window. Over the course of a Sunday in her small Cuban town, her past and present converge in profoundly ironic, unsettling ways.

EFFED! (19m, US) dir. Renny Maslow
Narrative Short


Two friends pedal across a post-apocalyptic landscape on a tandem beach cruiser and face the question: when oil runs out, where exactly is the line that society can cross before it ceases to be a society at all?

7:30 p.m.

Jimmy Loves Juice (5m, US) dir. David Yee


A normal day in the park for young Jimmy turns into a wild affair when he puts down his usual carton of milk and takes his first sip of juice. He instantly falls in love with the sugary beverage, but soon discovers that the sweet taste comes at a price. Is it a price Jimmy’s willing to pay?

A Bit of Bad Luck (85m, US) dir. John Fuhrman
Feature film


Brooks Caldwell, (Cary Elwes) an erudite and handsome lawyer, seems to have it all: wealth, social status and a red hot career. His success is, in reality, a product of his marriage to his beautiful, socialite wife, Amanda, (Teri Polo) a wealthy timber heiress. Unlike most, who would remain content to enjoy a life of luxury and privilege, Brooks continues to risk everything by having extramarital affairs. Brooks’ philandering, in addition to humiliating Amanda, has driven her to the point of a mental breakdown. Having been pushed over the edge, Amanda orchestrates a just and elaborate plan to bring her husband down. When Brooks leaves for a weekend romp with his latest squeeze, (Agnes Bruckner) his life quickly descends into a bizarre, nightmarish, downward spiral.

9 p.m.

Hiding Places (15m, Australia) dir. Darren Vukasinovic
Narrative Short


In WW2 France, as the gestapo mercilessly eradicates the French resistance, a young orphaned boy seeks shelter from a woman who claims to be part of their underground network. But all is not what it seems, and time is running out for both of them.

June 22nd

10 a.m.

Discovering Raku (9m, US) dir. Curtis Pollock
Documentary Short

Western Pennsylvania based fine artists Jim and Linda Winegar demonstrate the centuries old technique of working with clay pottery known as Raku. What was once a distinctly Japanese art process, has now developed into a modernized American version establishing it as its own distinct art form. Teachers engage the students to discover and participate in creating their own masterpieces in this hands-on educational documentary.

Uncovering Collagraphy (4m, US) dir. Curtis Pollock
Doucmentary Short

Western Pennsylvania fine artist Maura Koehler-Keeney demonstrates the unique method of Collagraph printmaking. This is part of a series of videos where teachers engage the students to discover and participate in creating their own masterpieces in hands-on educational documentary shorts.

Something of Love: A Tribute to Roger Amm (29m, US) dir. Kane Farabaugh
Doucmentary Short

Inspirational tribute to the work of Ottawa Township High School (OTHS) Choir Director Roger Amm.

Park 51 (21m, US) dir. Christopher Capelluto
Narrative Short


A struggling Iraq war veteran saves the life of a Muslim man from a hate crime in New York City.

City of Hate: Dallas and the Assassination (57m, US) dir. Quin Mathews
Feature Documentary


Explores a politically turbulent city preparing for a presidential visit, the immense pride many Dallas residents felt to see the president in their hometown and the city’s damaged reputation that followed the death of President Kennedy.

12 p.m.

Made in Pennsylvania – 14 films made in Pennsylvania, including Pittsburgh

Henry Hornbostel: In Architecture and Legacy (59m, US) dir. Mark Fallone
Feature Documentary


Documentary on the life and work of architect Henry Hornbostel.

Community Starts at Home (7m, US) dir. Benjamin Kanes
Documentary Short

Rebuilding Together is a National non profit that brings volunteers and communities together to improve the homes and lives of low-income homeowners in need. This is a brief glimpse into some of the lives they have touched

Apple Castle: Right to the Core (15m, US) dir. Anthony Humes
Documentary Short


A documentary about the Apple Castle in New Wilmington, PA.

The Long Good-bye (6m, U S A) dir. Mary Vollero
Documentary Short


A personal narrative in response to the demolition of the historic Garman Theater and Hotel, built in 1890 in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania.

1:45 p.m.

The Umbrella Man (93m, US) dir. Michael Grasso
Feature Narrative


Set in 1983 in Pittsburgh, Peter and Annie Brennan face the tragic death of their young son. The boy’s death and the acquittal of his killer kindles a conspiratorial paranoia in Peter that threatens his sanity and their marriage. While trying to find out more about the person who ran over his child, Brennan stumbles onto the story of the umbrella man – a suspected shooter in the John F. Kennedy assassination. From a Moose Lodge in Swissvale to Dealey Plaza in Dallas, The Umbrella Man is one couples story of love, loss and the “against all odds” survival of their relationship.

3:20 p.m.

Summer Hatch (29m, US) dir. Ryan Haggerty
Narrative Short

It’s the end of senior year and Shar has no clue where her life is going. She lost one of her best friends last year, she lives in a small town that’s only known for baits shops and trout streams, and her college application is still blank. At least she can still go to the end-of-year party with all those people she pretended to be friends with, right?

Dot (30m, US) dir. Garrett Kennell and David Light
Narrative Short


Dot is a dark comedy about a sixteen-year-old girl with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD). Her case is so extreme that she compulsively kills anyone she sees making a mess. Things become more complicated when she starts to fall in love and must balance her murderous compulsion with her newly found feelings.

Meet Your Maker (26m, US) dir. Justin Francart
Narrative Short


A short sci-fi film concerning a hyper-rational scientist who must confront the inexplicable when a failed experiment puts him face-to-face with the last survivors of an alien universe he unwittingly created and destroyed.

5 p.m.

Mount Joy (86m, US) dir. Jack Lewars
Feature Narrative


Fame has yet to cross the borders of their small Pennsylvania town for local rock legends The Living Daylights. Fronted by lead singer Sue and longtime friends bass guitarist George and drummer Randy, the band is anxious to move to the next level. A national tour landed by band manager Alex could be their big break. As the sister of the two backing members and longtime girlfriend to Sue, Alex is the glue that holds the band together. But when she suddenly abandons them, disappearing with little explanation, all touring plans cease, and the devastating secret she harbors could mean the end to it all.

6:30 p.m.

A Most Gracious Guest (5m, US) dir. Nathan Mirizio
Narrative Short


GUEST 1. noun A person who is invited to visit the home of or take part in a function organized by another. Who are you having over?

Pitchfork (14m, US) dir. Ryan Wood
Narrative Short


A farmer losing his cornfield and marriage simultaneously must decide which one is worth saving.

Load (10m, US) dir. Paul-Anthony Navarro
Narrative Short


In the vein of Twilight Zone and Night Gallery comes Load, the story of a young woman living alone in a dystopian world. She has carefully locked herself away, hidden from prying eyes, only to have danger come knocking at her door to reveal a disturbing truth.

The Urban Jungle (28m, US) dir. Jack Donda
Narrative Short

A valuable asset is stolen in a crime underground and an innocent ex-con is targeted. To save his girlfriend, he gets entangled in the chase and the drama that ensues.

Internet Famous (22m, US) dir.  Thomas Williams


Andy Palumbo, a 30-year-old Pittsburgher, just wants to be an artist. He knows that he’s talented. He just always thought that by now his talents would have taken him to heights a little loftier than the copy desk of the “Celebrity Corner” column at Pittsburgh’s second worst newspaper. One drunken night out, an obscene rant, and a roommate with a video camera all add up to a viral video and Andy earning the fame he always thought he would have. That fame is coming a bit differently than he expected, though, and  Andy’s going through some belated growing pains as he becomes internet famous.

(End of Made in Pennsylvania series)

8:10 p.m.

Bothered (5m, US) dir. Christina Skyles

A shy, young artist named Maggie draws in her sketchbook alone in a subway car, when a former classmate hops on the car and sits by her. Maggie doesn’t remember the classmate’s name, but she lets the classmate look at her sketchbook. As the classmate flips through the pages, however, Maggie starts to break down, leading to a strange and horrific anxiety attack that the classmate will never forget.

When He Comes Home (3m, US) dir. Ben Phillippo
Music Video

Playing with the Devil (7m, US) dir. Nick Stentzel
Narrative Short


While home alone, three sisters conduct a Japanese ritual of Hitori Kakurenbo or “One Man Tag” with their beloved doll. Terror ensues as the girls realize that one should never play a game with the Devil.

The Hero Pose (12m, US) dir. Mischa Jakupcak
Narrative Short


A short film about Mia, an eight year old girl and her father, Joe, who is trying to sell a car. As the afternoon progresses, Mia and Joe uncover a lot about their relationship and end up connecting with one another in an unusual way.

The Man Who Stole The Moon (21m, US) dir. Jerry McGonigle and Chip Hitchcock
Narrative Short

Short film about a young mute man who lives on a farm in early 1900s West Virginia. It is adapted from the short story by one of West Virginia’s greatest authors, Davis Grub. ‘Moon’ is a timeless tale of love and the difficulty of speaking with the heart. It uses magical realism to create a world where a person desperately in love could pull the moon from a neighbor’s pond and use it to speak for the words he cannot say.

The Queen of the Jubilee (11m, United Kingdom/Netherlands) dir. Martin de Lange
Narrative Short


There’s trouble down at the local bingo hall. Maud and Bertha, the most notorious old dears on the circuit, are about to clash for the big one – a £25,000 cash prize. These two adversaries have been battling for decades, fighting to crush their opponent with every arthritic dab of their pen. But they’re about to discover that when your life’s purpose is to destroy your enemy, that enemy can also be one of your greatest friends.

The Pittsburgh Independent Film Festival will take place at the Ryan Event Center. Tickets are $10 for a one-day pass, $15 for a two-day pass, and $20 for a festival pass, and are available for purchase at the PIFF website.