Body Farm, a joint feature-length movie production between KVT Productions and Nickel 17 Films, follows an independent film company that sends a videographer ahead of a story to investigate a body farm where human decomposition is researched. The footage she sends back leads the rest of her team to follow her footsteps to uncover a grisly medical abyss.
Directed by Nicholas LaMantia and writer Brandon Keenan, the low-budget film was shot around the Pittsburgh area and at the famed West Virginia State Penitentiary, as well as in the mountains of North Carolina and in New York City.
The Body Farm premiere takes place at 7 p.m. Tickets cost $8 online or $10 at the door.
When failed filmmaker Doug Stevenson leaves his video camera in the local park overnight, he accidentally records something horrific. To top it off, it might have something to do with his new neighbors that moved into his quiet suburban neighborhood. With the help of his bumbling teacher buddies, Doug goes on a wild ride to save himself, his friends, his ex-wife, and the entire neighborhood. Directed by Ben Dietels and starring Steve Rudzinski, David Ogrodowski, Jack Davis, and Vincent Bombara.
Slaughter Drive screens at 7:30 p.m. Guests are encouraged to wear their best Halloween costume for a contest to win a BPO DVD prize pack. Tickets cost $5 at the door.
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.
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.
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.
The 47-minute-long travel documentary The Vacation follows Chef Tom Hambor and Dr. Brad Walter, owners of the Highland Park bakery Food Glorious Food, as they lead a small band of interested travelers through a culinary tour of Italy. Narrated by Maristella Cacciapaglia.
Also screening is director David Bernabo‘s 15 Short Films About Legume. The 36-minute-long film looks back at the 10-year history of the Oakland restaurant Legume through interviews with past and present staff, farmers, and customers.
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
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:
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
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
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.
Manor At Midnight – Manor Theatre
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
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
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
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
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
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
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 Theater. Ticket prices vary.
Row House of Horrors – Row House Cinema
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
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
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
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.
In the 1990s, before Lil Bub and Grumpy Cat took the internet by storm, a very large cat was making a name for itself in Pittsburgh. On August 26, the Oaks Theater will present the premiere of Frank and the Wondercat, a film about the special bond between a local man and his famous feline friend.
The feature documentary by Tony Massil and Pablo Alvarez-Mesa follows Frank Furko, an 80-year old eccentric living in the Pittsburgh suburb of Plum. Taking stock of his life, Furko tries to reconcile with the 40 years working on the family farm with his domineering father, the end of his 20-year marriage, and his role as a celebrity derived from an unusual but deeply felt friendship with Pudgie Wudgie, his 20-pound performing house cat. From humble beginnings training in their Pittsburgh living room to NFL tailgate parties, the National Enquirer and The Maury Povich show, this is a portrait of their odyssey together. Shown through Furko’s homemade VHS archives – footage that is equal parts hilarious, bizarre and beautiful – their relationship was a remarkable testament to the power of interspecies connection. [Synopsis courtesy of IMDB]
Frank and the Wondercat screens at 8 p.m. Doors open at 7 p.m. A pre-show event with Humane Animal Rescue will feature adoptable cats and kittens, giveaways, raffles, and information about the shelter. A meet-and-greet with Furko will take place after the show. Tickets cost $8-10.
From August 26-27, Carnegie 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.
Last August, local horror filmmaker Fred Vogel started shooting his eighth feature film in Pittsburgh. On August 17, the Hollywood Theater will premiere the finished product, The Final Interview, a thriller about a desperate reporter and a killer.
Veteran TV journalist Oliver Ross (Grainger Hines) visits Western Penitentiary for a live broadcast. There he confronts Darius Tidman (Damien Maruscak), a death row inmate and infamous Pittsburgh murderer, hours before his execution. The face-to-face interview is a last-ditch effort for Ross to salvage his declining career. While he spars verbally with Tidman on air, behind the scenes he wrestles with his own personal demons as his ex-wife and show director Rhonda Cox (Diane Franklin) attempts to keep him on track and guide him through the broadcast. Oliver must push through a dark world of the murder and his own mind.
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:
Ovarian Psychos (dir. Kate Trumbull LaValle and Joanna Sokolowski, 2012)
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.
Only In Pittsburgh!
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.
Lives of Their Own: Pittsburgh Queer History Project Screening
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.
The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson (dir. David France, 2017)
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.
The Revival: Women and the Word (dir. Sekiya Dorsett, 2016)
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
PIFF will also show films hailing from Canada, France, the UK, Israel, and Hungary.