Category: Premieres

[Interview] Anna Biller Discusses ‘The Love Witch’

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Courtesy of Oscilloscope Laboratories

Filmmaker Anna Biller has created quite the buzz with her second feature The Love Witch, a horror-thriller about magic, madness, and murder. Described as a “tribute to 1960s Technicolor thrillers” that “explores female fantasy and the repercussions of pathological narcissism,” the film follows Elaine (Samantha Robinson), a modern-day witch who uses spells and potions to get men to fall in love with her. The work has garnered critical praise for its sumptuous throwback style and bold take on feminism, as well as for Robinson’s strong breakout performance.

It’s also been touted as a treat for cinema buffs that recalls the style of French filmmaker Jacques Demy, 1960s sexploitation films, and Hammer horror.

As The Love Witch prepares to make its Pittsburgh premiere at the Hollywood Theater, Biller talked to Steel Cinema about the film’s personal significance, her extremely varied cinema diet, and having total creative control.


What inspired you to make The Love Witch?

It was a lot of things. I always like to make films about interior female experience, and I thought the figure of the witch was a good vehicle for that since the witch is a figure of so much projection and hysteria. I also was going through a rough period in my personal life, and I wanted to put that feeling of personal heartbreak on the screen. I joke that the movie is an autobiography, but people who know me well know that that’s really not that much of a joke! It’s a film that combines many aspects of my personal life, and it’s very coded.

You said in an interview that you’re influenced by Pre-Code Hollywood films and exploitation films of the 1960s and 70s. What about their style and themes resonate with you?

Well, I don’t think that I said I was interested in exploitation films; that’s what everyone else says. I did look at one exploitation film in preparation for the film – Mantis in Lace – but that film deals with similar themes as The Love Witch and was shot by the great László Kovács. I do like some of the color of giallo films, but I wasn’t watching giallo films to prepare for this movie — I was watching Hollywood Technicolor films, especially [Alfred] Hitchcock.

The themes that interest me most are from Pre-Code and noir films, because they’re often about women getting by in a man’s world. I’m not interested in misogynistic films, even when they’re visually arresting. My brain just sort of shuts down when women are being grossly objectified and especially when they’re being senselessly murdered. So I’m not into Beyond the Valley of the Dolls for instance, which is a film people often insist I was influenced by. I’m much more influenced by a film like [Carl Theodor] Dreyer’s Gertrud, which has the same theme my film has of a woman being disappointed with the men in her life who fail to love her properly, or a film like John Brahm’s The Locket, which is about discovering the roots of a woman’s psychopathology.

Are there other films or filmmakers you’re influenced by?

My first loves in cinema were the old Hollywood musicals, noir films, Pre-Code films, dramas, and screwball comedies. Later I came to appreciate foreign cinema, especially European and Japanese cinema. My parents were cinephiles, so as a child I was taken to films in the theater such as Murder in the Cathedral or The Seven Samurai or Satyricon, as well as nitrate prints of films such as Dames and Gold Diggers of 1933. All of that had a huge influence on my later tastes.

How do you maintain your own style while still paying homage to a certain era of filmmaking?

What I would say is that using classic cinematography and design techniques is my style. I was bottle-fed on classic films and they’ve always been part of my DNA. I don’t set out to create a retro look actually, or to pay homage to the past. I’m always just trying to learn my craft better, and I learn it from the films I love best, which are mostly from a few decades ago.

You occupy a lot of roles in your films, including directing, producing, writing, editing, and scoring, right down to costuming. What do you find the most challenging?

I think composing music is the most challenging since I have the least experience in it. I sometimes wish I had more than one life so I could spend 100 percent of one of my lives just studying music. But design is always the most difficult in terms of just how insanely time consuming it is. I would say that on any given film, I spend 90 percent of the time designing and making things, and 10 percent on everything else. The most difficult thing technically is the writing.

It’s probably no coincidence that, given our current political and social climate, empowered or resilient female characters are becoming more prominent in film right now. Where do you think The Love Witch fits in this new wave?

Just within the past week, since the election, The Love Witch has suddenly become more relevant. I used to get reactions from people where they’d think gender was an irrelevant thing to talk about since we’ve already achieved gender equality. Now suddenly everyone sees the enormous significance of the gender issues in the film, and that they are not obsolete but extremely timely. I’ve been creating these types of female characters in films for years, but it’s only now that people are taking that seriously, which is fantastic.

Hollywood has banked on emerging indie filmmakers for a lot of projects lately. If you were ever approached for a big-budget film, do you think you’d accept? If so, what would you want to direct?

If someone wanted to hire me to direct a big budget film, I’d probably demand to write the script and to get final cut. But it’s a very abstract question, since without knowing the specifics of an offer I can’t really answer how I’d respond.

The main question for me is the question of control. No one wants to spend their time doing something when they’re not going to like the final result. So I’d have to have a lot of control to have it work for me or work with people with similar artistic goals.


The Love Witch opens on November 18 at the Hollywood Theater. Tickets are available for purchase online or at the door. Showtimes will continue through November 23.

Three Rivers Film Festival Returns With New Management And Broader Scope

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Always Shine

Last summer, two Pittsburgh cultural organizations – Film Pittsburgh (formerly JFilm) and Pittsburgh Filmmakers/Pittsburgh Center for the Arts (PF/PCA) – joined forces to produce the Three Rivers Film Festival (3RFF). Sponsored by Dollar Bank, the 35-year-old annual event is considered the oldest and largest film festival in the region. An official press release stated that JFilm and PF/PCA aimed to transform 3RFF into “a highly visible event, generating more awareness of the festival’s rich offerings, promoting tourism to the city, and helping to elevate the art form of independent cinema within Pittsburgh’s cultural landscape.”

That transformation begins with this year’s 3RFF, which takes place from November 1620, and offers 31 films at venues throughout the city.

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The Freedom to Marry

The festival opens with the Pittsburgh premiere of director Eddie Rosenstein‘s work The Freedom to Marry. Presented in collaboration with Reel Q, and supported in part by the ACLU – PA, the documentary shows how, over the last four decades, the same-sex marriage has gone from a “preposterous notion” to one of the most successful civil rights campaigns in the world. Largely focused on Pittsburgh native and marriage equality pioneer Evan Wolfson, the War Room-style film captures the final frenetic months of the movement’s Supreme Court legal battle.

The screening takes place at 7 p.m. at the August Wilson Center. The evening will also feature a post-screening reception and conversation with Rosenstein and Wolfson.

The schedule includes other films making their Pittsburgh debuts, including director Sophia Takal‘s female-led thriller Always Shine, David Byrne‘s musical tribute to color guard Contemporary Color, and Robert Greene‘s experimental nonfiction film Kate Plays Christine.

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Kate Lyn Sheil in Kate Plays Christine/Courtesy of Grasshopper Film

The latter follows actress Kate Lyn Sheil (House of Cards, The Girlfriend Experience, Listen Up Philip) as she prepares to play Christine Chubbuck, a real-life Florida newscaster who committed suicide live on-air in 1974. As Sheil investigates Chubbuck’s story, she uncovers new clues and information, and becomes increasingly obsessed with her subject. The film went on to win the Special Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival.

3RFF will also highlight films from around the world, including the Polish film Blindness, the Swiss-German family film Heidi, and the Spanish-language biopic-narrative hybrid Neruda. Also featured is the UK film Trespass Against Us, an intense drama that stars Michael Fassbender as an outlaw at odds with his crime boss father, played by veteran actor Brendan Gleeson.

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Trespass Against Us

The lineup will also showcase a selection of short films, a double-feature looking at independent filmmaking in Pittsburgh, and a special presentation of the newly restored German silent film Varieté. Made in 1925, the story of a seedy ex-trapeze artist who abandons his family for an exotic dancer offers high-flying cinematography and pre-Code sexuality. Its 3RFF premiere will include live musical accompaniment by the Alloy Orchestra.

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Varieté

Click here for the complete 3RFF schedule and details. Tickets for regular screenings cost $12, $8 for students 26 and under with valid ID. Special pricing applies to the opening night screening and the Varieté screening. All tickets are available for purchase online or at the door.

Just Films Series Welcomes Alice Walker For Doc Screening

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Yemanjá: Wisdom from the African Heart of Brazil

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

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

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Alice Walker

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

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

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

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

48 Hour Horror Film Project Possesses Hollywood Theater

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2015 Pittsburgh 48 Hour Film Horror Project winner Daisy.

The Pittsburgh 48 Hour Film Horror Project challenged 21 teams to write, shoot, edit, and score their own horror shorts over the course of a single weekend. On October 20th and 21st, the resulting films will premiere at the Hollywood Theater and compete for a variety of awards. See screening schedule below:

October 20th

7 p.m.

Group (A)aaahhhhh!:

Autumn Wind Films – Glenn Syska
Dreaming Droids Productions – Paul Nandzik
Everlasting Productions LLC – Steve Sensebaugh
Gaff Tape and a Prayer – Mike Hanley
Hutchins Films – Jesse Hutchins
IFT CCAC SOUTH – Brendan Smith
Long Knuckle Studios – David Kost
R. Walker Productions – Rodman Walker
Team MGBG Films – Bryan Ghingold
Vaginal powers – Amanda Menendez
Written In Blood Productions – Michael Carbonara

October 21st

7 p.m.

Group (B)eware!:

BA …is the name – JP Russell, IV
Dunndo Studios – Troy Jackson
Eyes On Entertainment – James Garvin
Falling October Productions – Alexander Cronin
Haunted Hillside Productions – Elisabetta Pontillo
Locust Street Entertainment – Lance Parkin
PAS Productions – Valerie Gaisor
ShadowFrame – Jason Boyer
Titan Terror Studios – Emily Bondi
Westmonster Productions – Tyler Helvin

Audience members may vote on their favorite films after each group showing. All tickets cost $5 and are available for purchase at Brown Paper Tickets.

ReelAbilities Film Festival Tackles Stereotypes And PTSD

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From October 20th through November 2nd, the FISA Foundation and JFilm co-present the fourth annual ReelAbilities Film Festival, an event showcasing films about the lives, stories, and artistic expression of people with different disabilities. The lineup includes previews and Pittsburgh premieres, as well as a shorts program featuring several works from around the world. There will also be post-screening talks, presentations, and receptions. See schedule and details below:

October 20th

7 p.m.

Becoming Bulletproof

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Follow a diverse community of artists from Zeno Mountain Farm who come together year after year to make a Hollywood movie, find friendship and grow as actors and individuals, regardless of their ability. This refreshingly genuine and endearing film-within-a-film reveals a dynamic, inclusive world that transcends stigmas and challenges stereotypes, while raising important questions about the lack of artistic opportunities for people with disabilities.

Followed by a conversation with AJ Murray, an actor living with cerebral palsy, and Will Halby, co-founder and director of Zeno Mountain Farm.

October 22nd

7 p.m.

Margarita with a  Straw

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An aspiring young writer with cerebral palsy leaves her home in India to attend New York University. After a chance encounter with a fiery female activist, she begins to explore this uncharted world and its liberal sexualities. Based on the true story of a young Punjabi woman, Margarita with a Straw is a unique coming-of-age story about love, identity, and sexuality.

This screening is presented in collaboration with Reel Q.

October 25th

7 p.m.

Gabe

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A misdiagnosis as a child gave Gabe Weil a new, longer life expectancy and the unexpected gift of time. Empowered to now think about a future that he never thought he would have, Gabe embraces his passions, deepens his friendships, and finds joy in each day as he continues to manage an ongoing disability. This honest and insightful documentary reminds us all to value the time we are given no matter what our challenges.

Followed by a conversation with the film’s director Luke Terrell.

October 26th

7 p.m.

Bottom Dollars

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Since the Fair Labor Standards Act passed in 1938, American workers have been free from labor exploitation, with one exception: people with disabilities. In 2016, nearly 250,000 people with disabilities continue to earn less than the minimum wage. Through personal stories and poignant interviews, this eye-opening documentary exposes this practice while presenting new employment alternatives with competitive wages and community inclusion for workers of all abilities.

Followed by a panel discussion with local stakeholders moderated by Halle Stockton, managing editor of Public Source.

October 30th

4 p.m.

ReelAbilities Shorts Program

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Seven short films totaling 70 minutes highlight diverse themes across the ability spectrum. Includes Autism in Love, I Don’t Care, Macropolis, Midfield, Perfect, Strings and Welcome to the Last Bookstore.

Followed by a conversation with emerging filmmakers from Pittsburgh’s Joey Travolta Film Camp.

November 2nd

7 p.m.

Thank You For Your Service

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The U.S. military faces an unprecedented mental health crisis as veterans returning to civilian life find themselves unequipped to manage the post-traumatic stress and depression that is leading to veteran suicides at an alarming rate. With candid interviews including those from Defense Secretary Robert Gates and General David Petraeus, the film reveals how current policies of the U.S. military are falling short of the critical mental health needs of our veterans.

Followed by a conversation with the film’s director, Tom Donahue, film subjects Dr. Mark Russell and Phil Straub, and Dr. Rory Cooper, founding director of the Human Engineering Research Laboratories, a VA Rehabilitation R&D Center of Excellence.

All screenings will be followed by receptions including vegan, kosher and gluten-free options. There will also be an art exhibit featuring works from Reinventing the Wheel, a photography project that paired twenty-one people with spinal cord injury with 21 photographers from cities nationwide to create photo essays through a realistic, positive and creative lens.

All films and programs will take place at Rodef Shalom. General admission is $12 in advance, $15 at the door, $8 for students under age 26 with valid ID. There are also special group rates and discounts. Tickets are available online or at the door if not sold out.

Reel Q Strikes A Pose With Stunning Festival Lineup

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The Pittsburgh Gay and Lesbian Film Society (PLGFS) celebrates the experiences of the LGBTQ community with the 31st annual Reel Q film festival. From October 6th through October 15th, the annual event screens 17 full-length films, among them documentaries, comedies and dramas, and three short programs, all from the US and around the world. The lineup will also feature Pittsburgh premieres, works from the 1990s, and parties. All screenings will take place at the Harris Theater. See a full schedule and details below:

October 6th

7 p.m.

Strike A Pose 

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In 1990, seven young male dancers  – six gay, one straight – joined Madonna on her most controversial tour. On stage and in the iconic film Truth or Dare they showed the world how to express yourself. Now, 25 years later, they reveal the truth about life during and after the tour.

Reel Q will also kick off the festival with a Strike A Pose afterparty at Bricolage.

October 7th

7 p.m.

Watermelon Woman

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Writer/director Cheryl Dunye‘s 1996 debut depicts the struggles of a young, black lesbian (played by Dunye) who works as a video store clerk while trying to make a documentary about a black actress known for playing racist “mammy” roles in the 1930s. Considered the first feature ever directed by a black gay woman. 

9:15 p.m.

Retake

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A lonely middle-aged man hires a young male escort to help him relive a road trip from his past in director Nick Corporon‘s feature debut.

October 8th

1 p.m.

Beautiful Thing

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Based on the play by Jonathan Harvey (who also adapted the screenplay), director Hettie Macdonald‘s 1996 British drama follows two teen boys who fall in love in a rough London suburb. 

3:30 p.m.

Summertime

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In 1971, Delphine, a 23-year-old farmer’s daughter, comes to Paris and dreams of running her own business, something unthinkable for a woman to do at this time. There she meets Carole, a 35-year-old Parisian woman actively involved with burgeoning feminist movement. When Delphine and Carole meet, their love affair turns their lives upside down.

6 p.m.

Southwest of Salem: The Story of the San Antonio Four

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After being wrongfully convicted of gang-raping two little girls during the Satanic Panic witch-hunt era of the 1980s and 90s, four Latina lesbians fight against mythology, homophobia, and prosecutorial fervor in their struggle for exoneration in this riveting true crime documentary.

8:30 p.m.

Paris 05:59: Theo & Hugo

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Two men spend the night together in the hospital after they have unprotected sex .

October 9th

2 p.m.

Real Boy

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In Shaleece Haas‘s documentary, transgender teenager Bennett Wallace embarks on a journey to find his voice—as a musician, a friend, a son, and a man. As he navigates the ups and downs of young adulthood, he works to gain the love and support of his mother, who has deep misgivings about her child’s transition. Along the way, Bennett forges a powerful friendship with his idol, Joe Stevens, a celebrated transgender musician with his own demons to fight.

4 p.m.

Burn, Burn, Burn

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Following the death of their friend, Seph and Alex, two women in their late twenties, go on a road trip to spread his ashes.

6:30 p.m.

Hurricane Bianca

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A New York teacher is fired from a small Texas school for being gay and returns disguised as Bianca to wreak revenge on the town. Stars RuPaul’s Drag Race winner Bianca Del Rio.

October 10th

7 p.m.

Lazy Eye

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Passions reignite and hidden secrets revealed when a graphic designer in Los Angeles (Lucas Near-Verbrugghe) reconnects with an ex-lover (Aaron Costa Ganis) he hasn’t seen or heard from in 15 years. Over the course of a weekend at a vacation house in the desert, they must determine whether or not they have a future together.

October 11th

7 p.m.

Trans Shorts program

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The Trans Shorts program will showcase a variety of short films from the US, Canada and the UK. Selections include ClosingDawnHandsome & MajesticMezzo, Say U Will and Tear Jerker.

October 12th

7 p.m.

Women’s Shorts program

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The Women’s Shorts program will showcase a variety of short films from all over the world. The selections include B, Charlotte, Dance Card, Little Doll, Spunkle and Tits on a Bull.

October 13th

7 p.m.

Men’s Shorts program

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The Men’s Shorts program will showcase a variety of short films from around the globe. Selections include Alzheimer’s: A Love Story, BittersweetCrazy HouseFolsom StreetThe Glory HoleNoamThanks for Dancing and The Weigh In.

October 14th

7 p.m.

Heartland 

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Grieving the death of her partner, a heartbroken Oklahoma artist returns to her childhood home and exposes cracks in her family’s complacent suburban routine when she falls for her brother’s girlfriend. Directed by Maura Anderson.

9:15 p.m.

Closet Monster

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A fresh take on the coming-of-age story, this surreal tale follows the artistically driven Oscar (Connor Jessup) hovering on the brink of adulthood. Struggling to find his place in the world after a rough childhood and haunted by images of a tragic incident, Oscar dreams of escaping his small town. After he meets a mysterious and attractive new co-worker, Oscar follows the guidance of his pet hamster Buffy (voiced by Isabella Rossellini) and faces his demons to find the life he wants.

October 15th

1 p.m.

AWOL

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Joey (Lola Kirke) is a young woman in search of direction in her small town. A visit to an army recruiting office appears to provide a path, but when she meets and falls in love with Rayna (Breeda Wool) that path diverges in ways that neither woman anticipates. Building on the award-winning short of the same name, director Deb Shoval crafts a clear-eyed love story, and an impressive feature film debut.

3 p.m.

Women Who Kill

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Morgan and Jean work well together as true crime podcasters because they didn’t work well, at all, as a couple. When Morgan strikes up a new relationship with the mysterious Simone, their shared interest turns into suspicion, paranoia and fear. Ingrid Jungermann’s whip-smart feature debut is an adept and wry comedy on modern romance’s hollow results, set in an LGBTQ Brooklyn.

5:30 p.m.

Jonathan

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Polish-German writer-director Piotr Lewandowski‘s coming-of-age story follows Jonathan (Jannis Niewöhner), a German teen who discovers his dying father’s sexuality while working on a remote farm. 

8 p.m.

King Cobra

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It’s 2006, YouTube is in its infancy, and internet porn is still behind a paywall. Taking the stage name Brent Corrigan, a fresh-faced, wannabe adult video performer (Garrett Clayton) is molded into a star by Stephen (Christian Slater), a closeted gay porn mogul who runs the skin flick empire Cobra Video from his seemingly ordinary suburban home. But as Brent’s rise and demands for more money put him at odds with his boss, he also attracts the attention of a rival producer (James Franco) and his unstable lover (Keegan Allen) who will stop at nothing to squash Cobra Video and steal its number one star. Based on a stranger-than-fiction true story, King Cobra is a deliciously dark, twisted plunge into the behind-the-scenes world of the pornography industry. Co-starring Alicia Silverstone and Molly Ringwald.

To close the festival, Reel Q will host a King Cobra afterparty at Pierce Studio in the lower level of the Harris Theater.

Admission for both the opening and closing afterparties is $15 for the entire evening, $10 with student ID. Both parties are included with the Diva and Festival passes. All tickets are available for purchase online at Showclix.

Pittsburgh Explores Strange New Worlds With Star Trek Screenings

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

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

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

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

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

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

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CMOA Honors Filmmaker Tony Buba With Premiere Event

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Image courtesy of Braddock Films.

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

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

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Tony Buba (left) with George Romero.

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

Pittsburgh 48 Hour Film Project Unfolds At Oaks Theater

The Day the Ship Stood Still

The Pittsburgh 48 Hour Film Project has a new venue, but the challenge is the same – to write, shoot, edit and score a short film in two days. The competition also requires filmmakers to include a character (Lenny or Lani Saffron, Chocolatier), a prop (sticky note/notes) and a line (“Maybe I just don’t find you funny”). On July 20th and July 22nd, 37 teams will premiere their original works – all produced during the weekend of July 8th through July 10th – at the Oaks Theater. See the screening groups and schedule below:

July 20th

6:30 p.m.

Group A

  • Carnegie Screenwriters – Robert Scott
  • Command Pictures – Maura Snyder
  • Everlasting Productions LLC – Steve Sensebaugh
  • Gaff Tape and a Prayer – Mike Hanley
  • Gorlok Productions – Frank Fornsaglio
  • Long Knuckle Studios – David Kost
  • Reckless Amnesiac – Joseph Bucci
  • Sliced Bread Productions – Jose Alban
  • team NOT BECKY – Amanda Menendez
  • The New Century Mercury Players – Deirdre Murray-Holmes
  • Well Known Strangers – Dave Forman

9 p.m.

Group B

  • Blind Tiger Films – Josh Hausman
  • Carter Asylum Studios – Luke Carter
  • Destiny’s Adult – Dan McKosky
  • Everything But The Name Alpha – Edwin Huang
  • Goat Milk Fudge – PJ Gaynard
  • LPC Films – Justin Davis
  • LZmotion – Luis Toledo
  • Rewind Memories – Katie Funaki
  • Square Shoes Productions – Nate Sexauer
  • Team MGBGFilms – Bryan Ghingold
  • Unplanned Comedy – Woody Drennan
  • Willow Street Productions – Katrese Queen

July 22nd

6:30 p.m.

Group C

  • Beginnings – Jackie Druga
  • Blue Knight Productions – Ian Livingston
  • Children of the Corman – Darin DiNapoli
  • Dolce Vita Films – Rishi Sethi
  • Dynamite Carrot – John James Lynn
  • Everything But the Name Omega – Nathan Fullerton
  • Hutchins Films – Jesse Hutchins
  • Nut Shot Warriors – Austin Barbian
  • ShadowFrame – Jason Boyer
  • Steel Forest Productions – Matthew Haider
  • USS Improvise – Jeremy Porter

9 p.m.

Group D

  • C-47 – Tess Weaver
  • ColorNegative – Joe Wilson
  • EPOS Productions – Matt Petrunak
  • Falling October Productions – Alexander Cronin
  • Lion’s Share – Eric A. Smith
  • Locust Street Entertainment – Lance Parkin
  • Pyrite Production – Nicole Wintruba
  • Sinister Dream Productions – Nick Kizina
  • Straight to the Point Productions – William Busby
  • Ted City Yodelers – Derek Wright
  • We All We Got – James Garvin

The bar opens at 5:30 p.m. on both days.

The 48 Hour Film Project Awards Ceremony and Best Of Screening will take place on July 29th at the Oaks Theater. The event will begin at 6:30 p.m. Tickets for each individual screening group (Group A, Group B, Group C and Group D) are available at Brown Paper Tickets. The winning film will go up against films from around the world at 2017 Filmapalooza for a chance at the grand prize and an opportunity to screen at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival.

Steel City Screenings Showcases Local Filmmakers

knock-knock

Last April, Pittsburgh-based production company Long Knuckle Studios partnered with Confluence Productions to shoot and produce Last Call. On June 12th, the 10 minute-long short will premiere at Row House Cinema during Steel City Screenings, an event created to showcase the new film and much more.

“We decided that we would reach out to others in the local filmmaking community to see if there would be an interest in screening any of their work at our premiere,” says Long Knuckle Studios co-founder and Steel City Screenings host David Kost in an email. “We received several positive responses, and the Last Call premiere quickly turned into Steel City Screenings, an event to not only promote our new film, but to also promote and showcase the work of other local artists.”

Steel City Screenings will feature several locally made short films and trailers. See selected works and descriptions below:

 Knock Knock (Dir. Jaime Meyers, Long Knuckle Studios)

A father goes down a dark path to try to get answers to the death of his daughter. The film previously screened at the 2015 Pittsburgh 48 Hour Horror Film Project and won the Grand Jury Prize for Suspense at the Washington PA Film Festival.

Phone In (Dir. William Jerlat)

Stink Bugs!! (Dir. Justin Crimone, Zeno Films)

Gala (Dir. Mike Smith)

This crowdfunded indie follows a a lonely writer on the night of his high school reunion. Though so far unsuccessful at getting his big break, his ex-girlfriend Faye has become an up-and-coming actress in Los Angeles. After being apart for two years, the writer imagines what it will be like to face his former love, realizing that their aspirations for fame and popularity have left one of them behind.

Halloween: Season of Evil (Dir. Adam Morgan, Midnight on Saturday Productions)

In this Halloween fan film, Shelley is on her way through the small town of Haddonfield, Illinois to a babysitting job. Little does she know that she’s being followed by the boogeyman himself, Michael Myers, and a mysterious second man who’s intentions are unknown.

With You (Dir. Ted E. Haynes, Confluence Productions)

Zombie Woman (Dir. Kevin Hejna)

A zombie is cured of her disease, but the cure is only temporary. The film previously screened at the 2015 Steeltown Film Factory community screening.

Trailers:

Nightfall (Dir. Adam Morgan, Midnight on Saturday Productions)

Power Play (Dir. Kevin Hejna)

Steel City Screenings will begin at 2 p.m. A post-screening meet and greet will take place next door in the Bierport Tap RoomAdmission is free.