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Best Limited Releases Coming To Pittsburgh: April 2016 Edition

A War – Regent Square Theater


Company commander Claus M. Pedersen (Pilou Asbæk) and his men are stationed in an Afghan province. Meanwhile back in Denmark Claus’ wife Maria (Tuva Novotny) is trying to hold everyday life together with a husband at war and three children missing their father. During a routine mission, the soldiers are caught in heavy crossfire and in order to save his men, Claus makes a decision that has grave consequences for him – and his family back home. A War opens on April 1st at the Regent Square Theater.

Eisenstein in Guanajuato – Harris Theater


In 1931, at the height of his artistic powers, Soviet filmmaker Sergei Eisenstein travels to Mexico to shoot a new film to be titled Que Viva Mexico. Freshly rejected by Hollywood and under increasing pressure to return to Stalinist Russia, Eisenstein arrives at the city of Guanajuato. Chaperoned by his guide Palomino Cañedo, he vulnerably experiences the ties between Eros and Thanatos, sex and death, happy to create their effects in cinema, troubled to suffer them in life. Director Peter Greenaway’s film explores the mind of a creative genius facing the desires and fears of love, sex and death through ten passionate days that helped shape the rest of the career of one of the greatest masters of cinema. Eisenstein in Guanajuato will open on April 1st at the Harris Theater.

Too Late – Melwood Screening Room


Private investigator Mel Sampson (Academy Award nominee John Hawkes) is tasked with tracking down the whereabouts of a missing woman from his own past. With this familiar setup, TOO LATE takes the spine of the classic private eye genre and tears it to pieces, weaving it back together into a tapestry of southern California and the menagerie of eccentric personalities and lost souls who inhabit it. From the desolate, overgrown Radio Hill to the ritzy penthouse of The Beverly Hilton, the film presents a sprawling view of Los Angeles that ranges from the undiscovered to the iconic. Ultimately, the film tells the story of a missing woman, but paints the portrait of a lost man. Too Late opens on April 22nd at the Melwood Screning Room.

HUMP! Film Festival Returns To Stimulate Row House Cinema


Last year, Row House Cinema rescued the Pittsburgh leg of the Best of HUMP! Tour after the Hollywood Theater had to cancel due to public pressure. This month, the event returns to the theater for a second year, bringing with it a whole new lineup of winning film shorts representing the full spectrum of titillation and fetishes.

Created by renowned relationship and sex advice columnist and It Gets Better Project co-creator Dan Savage, the HUMP! Film Festival originated in the Pacific Northwest, and showcased homemade sex-positive films produced by individuals throughout Portland and Seattle. Last year, the tour was born when Savage decided to take the show on the road and to the masses, where it played to sold-out audiences in 16 cities throughout the US and Canada. This year, the tour continues with an all-new program featuring recent winners from the 2014 Festival with past crowd favorites.

“We bill HUMP! as an amateur porn festival. But it’s more than that,” stated Savage in a press release. “At HUMP! straight people watch gay porn, vanilla people watch kinky porn, gay people watch lesbian porn. And people laugh, they gasp, sometimes they cover their eyes. But at the end of every film people clap and cheer. It’s moving and wonderful and newcomers don’t expect it. The whole festival is a celebration of sexual diversity.”

The 2015 Best of HUMP! Tour will take place at the Row House Cinema on October 15th and 16th at 6:30 p.m., 8:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m., and on October 17th at 5 p.m., 7 p.m., 9 p.m., and 11 p.m. Tickets are $20 and available for purchase at Bold Type Tickets. As if you haven’t already figure it out, the program contains graphic sexual content – adults only.

Spirit Lodge Welcomes Undead For ‘Meltdown’ Release Party


Last fall, the locally produced zombie feature Meltdown made its Pittsburgh premiere at Southside Works Cinema. On August 2nd, the film’s cast and crew will host a party at Spirit Lodge celebrating the film’s distribution sale and national release.

Influenced by Shaun of the Dead and Mad Max, the zombie comedy follows Zeke (Robert McMurray), Callie (Alicia Marie Marcucci), Les (Seth Gontkovic) and Hunter (Mulliken) on the eve of Hunter’s 29th birthday as they share in a few drinks on a seemingly dull day in their hometown of Somerset. The day takes a turn for the worse as everyone they have ever known are suddenly transformed into aggressively murderous flesh eating freaks. The four comrades are forced to hack and slash their way through the reanimated corpses of their closest friends and loved ones, only to find themselves on the precipice of a post apocalyptic wasteland littered with monsters and the looming threat of their fellow survivors.

Meltdown was picked up by Gravitas Ventures, a leading distribution company that specializes in bringing independent features to VOD and DVD. The film will hit VOD platforms this fall, and become available for purchase nationwide on DVD at the beginning of 2016.

Jake Mulliken, a professional actor and former educator who directed, produced, and stars in the film, branched into filmmaking after moving to Pittsburgh from California. He organized the event as a way to both showcase Meltdown and pay tribute to his adopted city.

“The purpose of this event is to not only highlight the success of my film, but more importantly to highlight the fantastic talent and members of the Pittsburgh independent film community, as well as the strong independent and entrepreneurial spirit inherent in Pittsburgh,” says Mulliken.

The evening will include a screening, as well as food, drink, and merchandise provided by local vendors. Guests can enjoy beverages from Allura Wine Group, fine meats from Butcher on Butler, and Japanese cuisine from Umami PGH, as well as peruse artwork from Cheryl and Billy Holford of Night Gallery and zombie goods from House of the Dead. There will also be a set from DJ Desus and live music from the band Barbara Perfect, who appeared in the film.

The Meltdown release celebration will begin at 7 p.m. with the film screening at 10 p.m. An afterparty will follow. Admission is $5 and includes the film screening, entrance to the afterparty, and a drink voucher.

Hollywood Theater Spotlights Bad Movies For Rock And Roll Drive-In


On July 17th, the Hollywood Theater will present Rock and Rock Drive-In, a day full of live music, beer, and some of the weirdest, trashiest retro films around. The screening selections are as follows:

Chained for Life (1952)


This exploitation film stars real-life conjoined twins, Daisy and Violet Hilton, as two women who go on trial after one sister kills her husband.

The Terror of Tiny Town (1938)


A cowboy stops a feud between two ranchers in this all-little people musical Western. Some of the cast members played Munchkins in The Wizard of Oz.

Mad Youth (1940)


A woman and her teenage daughter both fall for the same rumba-cafe gigolo. Also goes by the alternate title Girls of the Underworld.

Omoo-Omoo the Shark God (1949)


A group of people incur the wrath of a shark god after violating a sacred jungle idol. Loosely based on a novel by Herman Melville.

Reefer Madness (1936)


Everybody’s favorite anti-drug propaganda film follows a group of teens who spiral out of control after smoking dope.

Rock and Roll Drive-In will also feature music performances by local bands, including Nox BoysVertigo-go, Ninth Ward, Stone Cold Killer, The Goodfoots, and Thunder Vest. The 21 and over event will take place from 6 p.m. until midnight. Tickets are $10 and include two drink tickets courtesy of Penn Brewery.

2015 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 Opening Ceremonies on June 26th at 6:30 p.m. The event begins with an awards show, followed by a screening of two music videos, Sugar In My Bowl by Hannah Rose Snyder and Indian Ate The Woodchuck by Brad Pattullo, and the local zombie feature The Other Side. The evening also includes a reception and a filmmakers mix and mingle.

Please see the festival schedule below:

June 27th

The AC Project: To the Ends of the Earth (94m, US) dir. Brandon Lied
Feature Documentary


Seeking to experience full life while wrestling with their beliefs, four young men take a year traveling to 10 countries and discover a world, faith, and life they never knew existed. While helping the local communities with the needs they encounter, these adventurers provide clean water, build an orphanage, and assist victims of sex trafficking while spreading a message of hope and love in the process. Their journey shares the story of a search for not only that spark of divinity, but also their personal identities and purpose.

11:35 a.m.

The Penguin Counters (67m, U S A) dir. Harriet Getzels and Peter Getzels
Feature Documentary


Ron Naveen, a 21st century Dr. Dolittle who dreams of conserving Antarctica for future generations, and his intrepid field-biologists have tracked the welfare of 200 colonies of penguins in an area of half a million square miles for over 20 years. What they’ve learned is that penguins truly are the canaries in the coal mine. With some colonies thriving and others declining, Ron sees a life and death warning about how to cope with climate change.

Surviving Kensington (13m, US) dir. Mo Scarpelli
Documentary Short


Through a photographer’s wanderings, we get a glimpse of what it’s like to survive in Philadelphia’s roughest neighborhood.

Appalachia – Mountaintop to Moonscape (13m, UK) dir. Alan Gignoux
Narrative Short


Appalachia – Mountaintop to Moonscape reveals the shocking environmental and social costs of mountaintop removal in Appalachia.

1:15 p.m.

Bereave (100m, US) dir. Evangelos Giovanis and George Giovanis
Feature Narrative


Fatally ill, Garvey thinks he has figured out how to die alone. But when his beloved wife Evelyn goes missing on their 40th anniversary, he must live to save her. Stars Malcolm McDowell, Jane Seymour and Keith Carradine.

3 p.m.

I Was a Teenage Superhero Sidekick (77m, US) dir. J. Hanna
Feature Narrative

I Was a Teenage Superhero Sidekick-piff

Kid Dynamic, sidekick to Dynamic Man, quits the whole superhero racket and struggles with the transition. His hippy-dippy headshrinker, who insists on outdoor yoga classes during psychoanalysis, helps him find the courage to go for the simpler life he yearns for. What he comes to understand is that life isn’t so simple, with or without the cape.

Made in Pennsylvania – Films made in Pennsylvania, including Pittsburgh.

4:30 p.m.

Finding Jenn’s Voice (1hr 13min, US) dir. Tracy Schott
Feature Documentary


Finding Jenn’s Voice examines the murder of Jennifer Snyder and her unborn son and exposes the risks of intimate partner homicide during pregnancy.

5:45 p.m.

Quiet Zone (5min, US) dir. Paul Navarro

While Ramesh is training for his new job working on the Great Wall that looms over the oppressed inhabitants of his city, he discovers a beautiful and mysterious outside world that may be the answer to all that troubles him, if he can make peace with the animals.

Nuts & Bolts (5min, US) dir. Ryan Butters


Creative alternative to the birds and the bees.

Diamonds in the Rough (15m, US) dir. Dominique Carino


David Helfer is the fourth generation in a family of Pittsburgh jewelers. This short documentary takes a look at the craft of jewelry making, as well as the family dynamics in the Helfer family, both in and out of the workplace.

The Recall (27m, US) dir. Ace Yilma
Narrative Short

After always taking the easy way out, Jamal is ready to make the tough decisions but what happens when he doesn’t get to decide?

The Cabin (14m, US) dir. Robbbie Roberts
Narrative Short

A young woman discovers one of her deceased father’s coworkers passed out on the kitchen floor.

Breakage (12m, US) dir. Steve Parys
Narrative Short

Ally Kent is assaulted by flashbacks of her entire relationship with Frank Brown, her ex-boyfriend, at a pivotal moment in her life.

Burghatory (22m, US) dir. Paul Navarro
Narrative Short


Set in Pittsburgh, PA, this television dramedy follows two women in their 30s as they tackle life’s absurdities.

White Fetish (4m, US) dir. Sean Dacanay
New Media Short


An Asian girl with a white fetish hits on a white guy at a bar. The tables turn to to reveal how silly racial fetishes are.

End of Made In Pennsylvania

7:35 p.m.

One Armed Man (27m, US) dir. Tim Guinee
Narrative Short


A wealthy cotton gin executive is confronted by a disgruntled former employee demanding the return of an arm lost in the gin’s machinery in Oscar-winning writer Horton Foote‘s chilling drama.

8 p.m.

7 Minutes (84m, US) dir. Jay Martin
Feature Narrative


Three high school friends are forced to commit a brazen robbery which quickly goes horribly wrong.

June 28th

10 a.m.

Hate Crimes in the Heartland (60m, US) dir. Rachel Lyon
Feature Documentary


This award-winning documentary film and community outreach project explores the national epidemic of hate crimes through the lens of Tulsa, Oklahoma.

11:05 a.m.

Peace, Daal, & Partition (25m, US) dir. Paisley Smith
Documentary Short


In 1947, British India was divided into India and Pakistan. Millions of people were killed as a result of the mass-movement of people. In this documentary short, Paisley Smith explores her family history during the chaos of Partition. Her grandmother witnessed the murder of her father, and in order to evade death, her brother had to dress like a girl. Despite hearing the stories of Partition from her grandma, Paisley had a lot more to discover. She examines why her mother refuses to talk about her childhood as an immigrant in Canada. Paisley discovers that there are holes in the stories told about Partition. Peace, Daal, & Partition attempts to bring three generations of family together, heal the wounds of Partition, and explain painful histories.

Stella Walsh (15m, US) dir. Rob Lucas
Documentary Short


Stella Walsh was one of the most celebrated female athletes on the planet. She had thousands of medals, ribbons, honors and fans from around the world. Almost fifty years after her stunning 1932 gold medal win in the women’s 100 meter dash, Stella was shot and killed in Cleveland, Ohio, which revealed that she had ambiguous gender. This documentary explores the life of Stella, her death and her gender controversy through interviews with friends, trainees, members of the media and a geneticist, as well as photos and archival footage from years of in-depth research.

Toy Boy (8min, Canada) dir. March Mercanti
Documentary Short


A 30-year-old lives at home with his parents, their two cats – and 5,000 toys.

Dark Noir (4m, UK) dir. Sarah Butterworth

Lies Beneath the Nightshade (10m, US) dir. Andrew Wecht
Narrative Short


In the throes of The Great Depression, Basilio is unable to upkeep his beloved garden with his grandson Anthony serving life without parole–but Anthony has an endgame to help his grandfather save the garden, just so long as the other inmates don’t get to him first.

Pushing Buttons (12m, US) dir. Jonathan Landau
Narrative Short


Five coworkers get trapped in an elevator on their way to a meeting.

Flight Fright (6m, US) dir. James Politano
Narrative Short


A nervous airline passenger starts to see strange things after taking nerve medicine.

Lifeline (18m, US) dir. Jeffery Wang
Narrative Short

When an enigmatic traveler with an unusual lifeline pays a visit to Madame Golorio’s psychic parlor, the ailing palm reader is compelled to take the future into her own hands.

12:45 p.m.

Wildlike (1hr 38min, Canada) dir. Frank Green
Feature Narrative


An unlikely friendship forms in the spectacular Alaskan wilderness, giving a runaway girl hope and sanctuary in America’s last frontier.

2:30 p.m.

Coffee and a Bagel (4m, US) dir. Gavin Brown


A recently widowed senior citizen decides to use a a modern online dating website to try and meet friends again.

Little Blue – A Broken Promise (10min, US) dir. Chris Jordan-Bloch
Documentary Short


A small community was promised a recreational dream. Instead, they got a toxic nightmare in coal ash, a toxic waste that is polluting hundreds of similar communities across America.

Lapsus (30min, France) dir. Karim Ouaret
Narrative Short


Terry, a psychologically disturbed predator,  terrorizes a laundromat after falling  victim to an unknown phenomena called Lapsus memoriae.

Desk Job (17min, US) dir. Jason Eaken
Narrative Short


Starring Pat Healy (Cheap Thrills, The Innkeepers), Desk Job puts viewers inside the mind of a lonely insurance adjuster. Working out of his cramped apartment, Travis Hardacre literally never leaves the office. As he juggles demanding clients, hostile managers, stacks of files, and his own mounting anger, he begins to wonder if his destructive efforts to regain control aren’t just one more way he’s become trapped in a life with no future.

Sam’s Box (14min, US) dir. Felipe Gon
Narrative Short


Due to tragic events, two really lonely guys hatch a series of plans to take their own lives. But do they really stick to their plan and commit suicide?

The Brief-Case (12min, US) by Vijay Adireddy
Narrative Short


On the night of their first anniversary, a couple celebrates, until a briefcase gets caught in the middle.

Clean Cut (5min, US) dir. Andrew Hunt
Narrative Short

A Roomba meets its match when encountering a new mess to clean up.

4 p.m.

Companion (3min, US) dir. Sean O’Neill


A stray puppy suddenly appears to brighten up a lonely boy’s world.

Strapped (17min, US) dir. Joe Farina
Narrative Short


A Chicago cop finds himself strapped to a ticking bomb around his neck.

A Wake (24min, US) dir. Josh Spiegel
Narrative Short


A group of friends who band together to bring their friend back from the dead in order to figure out the reason for his suicide.

Eighty-Sixed (7min, US) dir. Alex Kohnstamm
Narrative Short

A woman working in a mafia run bar discovers a secret about the proprietor and has to take matters into her own hands to protect her own.

Oh Crappy Day (17 min, US) dir. Jon Bacon
Narrative Short


On a blind date with a charming young woman, a film student struggles to keep his OCD on the down low.

One Left Turn (17 min, US) dir. Glenn Pack
Narrative Short


A pair of young opportunists attempt to impress two provocative high school girls, which triggers a ripple effect that tragically alters the innocent lives of an elderly couple.

5:30 p.m.

Lady Luck (18m, UK) dir. Jo Lewis
Narrative Short


Inspired by the DH Lawrence short story ‘The Rocking Horse Winner,’ Lady Luck is about a young boy’s attempts to win back his mother’s love.

A Fight To Propose (5m, US) dir. PJ Gaynard
Narrative Short


Kevin and Jen love each other very much. Now it might be time to take the next step.

Broken Crystal (13m, US) dir. Jackie Marie
Narrative Short


A story about overcoming addiction by opening up to receive the present world around us.

Prisoner (21m, US) dir. Matthew Edwards
Narrative Short


The German border, 1944. Left for dead behind enemy lines, a war-weary American wakes up in a graveyard of a battlefield. Wounded and alone, with no clear way back to his lines, the American takes a young German soldier prisoner and forces him to lead the way. Forced together by necessity, the two men fight their own personal war for survival.

21 Things (20m, US) dir. Andrew Anthony
Narrative Short


After a one night stand, two people from different backgrounds spend their last day learning more about each other than either of them expected.

The Audition (11m, US) dir. Philece Sampler
Narrative Short

A hungry actress auditions for a role with both her best friend and worst enemy – herself.

7 p.m.

Still Beautiful (8m, US) dir. Min Reid
Music Video

I Have Decided To Be No One (3m, US) dir. Dom Portalla
New Media Short


A man sheds his skin of the default world.

First Degree (25m, US) dir. Roger Weisberg
Documentary Short

The expression “sent up the river” was coined by convicts who were sent up the Hudson River to do their time at the infamous Sing Sing Prison in Ossining, NY. First Degree finds hope in this seemingly hopeless place by investigating an unusual college behind bars that is successfully preventing Sing Sing inmates from being sent back up the river after their release. Nationwide, over half of released inmates return to prison within five years, but for the past 14 years, less than one percent of the inmates that received a college degree at Sing Sing returned to prison. The film takes viewers inside this notorious maximum security prison and introduces them to some unforgettable inmates.

Zizi And Honeyboy (15m, US) dir. Brett Donowho
Narrative Short


When bestselling author Gerald Celente is blackballed after 9/11, he seeks the witty and wise company of his Italian aunt.

Ever Eve (6min, US) dir. Jill Sachs
Narrative Short


Lovely young Evelyn prepares to be the belle of the ball, but when she glances in the mirror she finds the shocking reflection of herself as an old woman. Is she a young woman having a nightmare, or an old woman living the nightmare?

Fun Bible Facts! (4min, US) dir. Mike Kopera

Three true, untold stories of Noah and his Ark.

Heavenly Peace (5min, US) dir. Andreas Wessel-Therhorn


A quarreling gay couple gets a bit of unexpected help for Christmas

Without a Doubt (6min, US) dir. Gerald Guthrie


This digital animation illustrates one variation of the 17th century philosopher Rene Descartes’ view of the world.

Enfilade (10m, Australia) dir. David Coyle

A man awakens in a white room with two doors. Each door loops into the other. The only objects within the room are a red ball and a revolver containing a single bullet.

Knock, Knock… (3m, US) dir. Anthony Lund
Narrative Short


On a dark, rainy night, eight-year-old Aidan  hears a strange knocking from inside his closet. Channeling the Norse heroes he worships, Aidan armors himself with his prize helmet and sword, and approaches his unseen foe. Unfortunately for him, plastic weapons will do nothing against what’s hunting him from the darkness.

Tick Tock (9m, Turkey) dir. Zeynep Kocak


The beautiful thing is not the goal you achieve, it is the road that takes you there with hope.

Stay (4min, USA) dir. Yining Yan
Narrative Short

The Dark Side (51min, US) dir. Richard Ledes


When the lights go out during Hurricane Sandy, Dan falls and butt-dials his ex-girlfriend. Her name also happens to be Sandy. He takes it as a sign to visit her. Mimicking the hurricane’s capacity to cross boundaries, interviews with firefighters who lost their homes during Sandy are intercut with this romantic comedy. The resulting clash of genres creates unexpected juxtapositions that illuminate both the global and local dimensions of the storm.

The Pittsburgh Independent Film Festival will take place at the Father Ryan Arts 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.

Film And Video Schedule For 2014 VIA Festival


Since 2010, the Pittsburgh-based creative collective VIA has provided a platform for emerging music, new media art, and technology with numerous concerts, performances, installations, and exhibitions. The entity also organizes film events, and this year, as part of its annual festival, VIA will showcase screenings that examine basketball, punk music, and the Internet.

October 2nd

From Deep 


Filmmaker Brett Kashmere documents the presence of basketball within the sociocultural landscape of contemporary America. Combining self-shot “moving snapshots” of the game in its everyday form with a wide array of archival footage, highlight reels, movie clips, commercials, music videos, video game recordings, and found material, this audiovisual essay offers a layered, non-linear perspective on the merger of basketball and hip hop culture, focused through the wide angle lens of the game’s history. From Deep will screen at Row House Cinema at 7 p.m. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. A Q&A with Kashmere and a special guest will follow the screening. Tickets are $8 and are available for purchase at Ticketfly.

October 3rd

She Said Boom: The Story of Fifth Column


“All Women Are Bitches” was not a chart topper, but it represented a significant thread in Toronto’s musical tapestry thanks to the all-female art punk band Fifth Column. Former band members recall the 1980s queer art punk scene and their progressive efforts to unite music, film and zine culture to challenge conventional art practice, gender roles and femininity. Archival films from the influential alt-cinema/production collective the Funnel complement present day interviews with Caroline Azar, Beverly Breckenridge, GB Jones and Bruce la Bruce. The band’s memories of the fun and feuds that fueled their creativity and built their reputations connect to the later Riot Grrrl movement. Most enlightening may be what was Toronto’s first zine war, where rivals battled it out through handcrafted photocopies. Three decades may heal old wounds but clearly a few scars remain. Director Kevin Hegge pays homage to a bygone era while keeping the indie spirit alive. She Said Boom screens at Row House Cinema at 7 p.m. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. A Q&A with director Kevin Hegge and panel discussion will follow the screening. This event is co-presented by Queer Video Vault. Tickets are $8 and are available for purchase at Ticketfly.

 October 4th

Hybrid Theory


Works by video and new media artist Jennifer Chan and artist Theodore Darst, employing a variety of practices to respond to the incessant flows of information on the Internet. Hybrid Theory will be shown as part of the AV Showcase at the historic Union Trust Building (501 Grant St, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15219). Featured acts at the event include Blue Hawaii, Zebra Katz, L-Vis 1990, Traxman, Cities Aviv, Diode Milliampere, Troxum, and Cakes Da Killa. See the VIA website for more information. Doors open at 7 p.m. Tickets are $20 in advance, $25 at the door, and are available for purchase at Ticketfly.

The 2014 VIA Festival runs from October 1st through October 5th. Guests can purchase Weekend or All-Access Passes at Ticketfly. Prices range from $42 to $100.