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:
The AC Project: To the Ends of the Earth (94m, US) dir. Brandon Lied
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.
The Penguin Counters (67m, U S A) dir. Harriet Getzels and Peter Getzels
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
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
Appalachia – Mountaintop to Moonscape reveals the shocking environmental and social costs of mountaintop removal in Appalachia.
Bereave (100m, US) dir. Evangelos Giovanis and George Giovanis
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.
I Was a Teenage Superhero Sidekick (77m, US) dir. J. Hanna
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.
Finding Jenn’s Voice (1hr 13min, US) dir. Tracy Schott
Finding Jenn’s Voice examines the murder of Jennifer Snyder and her unborn son and exposes the risks of intimate partner homicide during pregnancy.
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
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
A young woman discovers one of her deceased father’s coworkers passed out on the kitchen floor.
Breakage (12m, US) dir. Steve Parys
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
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
One Armed Man (27m, US) dir. Tim Guinee
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.
7 Minutes (84m, US) dir. Jay Martin
Three high school friends are forced to commit a brazen robbery which quickly goes horribly wrong.
Hate Crimes in the Heartland (60m, US) dir. Rachel Lyon
This award-winning documentary film and community outreach project explores the national epidemic of hate crimes through the lens of Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Peace, Daal, & Partition (25m, US) dir. Paisley Smith
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
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
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
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
Five coworkers get trapped in an elevator on their way to a meeting.
Flight Fright (6m, US) dir. James Politano
A nervous airline passenger starts to see strange things after taking nerve medicine.
Lifeline (18m, US) dir. Jeffery Wang
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.
Wildlike (1hr 38min, Canada) dir. Frank Green
An unlikely friendship forms in the spectacular Alaskan wilderness, giving a runaway girl hope and sanctuary in America’s last frontier.
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
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
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
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
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
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
A Roomba meets its match when encountering a new mess to clean up.
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
A Chicago cop finds himself strapped to a ticking bomb around his neck.
A Wake (24min, US) dir. Josh Spiegel
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
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
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
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.
Lady Luck (18m, UK) dir. Jo Lewis
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
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
A story about overcoming addiction by opening up to receive the present world around us.
Prisoner (21m, US) dir. Matthew Edwards
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
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
A hungry actress auditions for a role with both her best friend and worst enemy – herself.
Still Beautiful (8m, US) dir. Min Reid
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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:
Strings Of Colors (11m, India) dir. Sharan Mohanadoss
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
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
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
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.
Wagonmasters (19m, US) dir. Sam Smartt and Chris Zaluski
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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.
Sins (18m, US) dir. Ev Wolff
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
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
After hearing a scary bedtime story, a young boy and girl become convinced they have monsters under their beds. They may be right.
The Boy and The Bus (23m, United Kingdom) dir. Simon Pitts
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
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
The Toothfairy (4m, US) dir. Rachael Sonnenberg
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
An eighty-year-old woman goes on a lone journey after receiving a long awaited letter.
Sheltered Love (10m, US) dir. Alex Italics
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
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.
I Am a Visitor in Your World (82m, US) dir. Miguel Silveira
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.
The Vetters: All We Needed (67m, US) dir. Anne Bruder and Nancy Pokorny
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
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
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
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
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?
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
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.
Hiding Places (15m, Australia) dir. Darren Vukasinovic
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.
Discovering Raku (9m, US) dir. Curtis Pollock
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
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
Inspirational tribute to the work of Ottawa Township High School (OTHS) Choir Director Roger Amm.
Park 51 (21m, US) dir. Christopher Capelluto
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
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.
Made in Pennsylvania – 14 films made in Pennsylvania, including Pittsburgh
Henry Hornbostel: In Architecture and Legacy (59m, US) dir. Mark Fallone
Documentary on the life and work of architect Henry Hornbostel.
Community Starts at Home (7m, US) dir. Benjamin Kanes
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
A documentary about the Apple Castle in New Wilmington, PA.
The Long Good-bye (6m, U S A) dir. Mary Vollero
A personal narrative in response to the demolition of the historic Garman Theater and Hotel, built in 1890 in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania.
The Umbrella Man (93m, US) dir. Michael Grasso
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.
Summer Hatch (29m, US) dir. Ryan Haggerty
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
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
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.
Mount Joy (86m, US) dir. Jack Lewars
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.
A Most Gracious Guest (5m, US) dir. Nathan Mirizio
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
A farmer losing his cornfield and marriage simultaneously must decide which one is worth saving.
Load (10m, US) dir. Paul-Anthony Navarro
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
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)
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
Playing with the Devil (7m, US) dir. Nick Stentzel
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
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
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
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.
The Pittsburgh Independent Film Festival (PIFF) gathers micro-budget and no-budget films from all over the world, showcasing filmmakers who posses an independent vision and create innovative work outside the studio system. From July 14th to July 16th at the Father Ryan Arts Center, the event will screen a diverse variety of feature-length and short works representing everything from narrative to documentary to animation. See complete schedule below:
Broadway’s Finest (88m, USA)
dir. Stephen Marro
Midnight Run meets The Hangover as three struggling actors impersonate New York City undercover cops. They chase down a notorious drug dealer in order to get the authentic material needed to create their own cutting edge police drama. Things are rarely what they seem in the gritty streets of New York.
The Jumblies (4m, United Kingdom)
dir. Robert Duncan
Animator Robert Duncan created this adaptation of Edward Lear‘s nonsense poem about the adventurous and colourful Jumblies who go to sea in a sieve.
Dead Reckoning (14m, USA)
dir. Edward Plumb
Narrative Short / Webisode
Grounded (65m, U S A)
dir. Sean Crowell
The high-flying story of Pittsburgh brothers Jimmy and Terry Dougherty, who became marijuana smugglers in the 1970′s. Jimmy worked the ground crew and Terry was the pilot whose aviation skills helped expand the smuggling operation beyond their wildest dreams. Their adventures stretched from the farmers’ fields of rural Florida and Alabama, to the dirt runways of Colombia and back again.
The Calm (3m, USA)
dir. Carey McKelvey
Haunted by the Holocaust (18m, USA)
dir. Cory Levin
This is the true story of a Holocaust survivor’s determination to live through her horrible situation and the case brought up by her and other survivors to sue the Swiss Banks with lawyers from Cohen and Malad in Indianapolis worth $1.25 billion.
Just Passing By (14m, USA)
dir. Susanne Dollnig
Where do you come from? What was your biggest loss? What makes you smile? And where are you going? An Austrian filmmaker tries to find out how much you can learn about a random stranger’s life in the amount of time it takes to drink a cup of coffee. Quite a bit, as it turns out. All you have to do is listen.
United in Hope: A Global Journey (31m, Canada, USA)
dir. Terry Coyle
Story of three breast cancer survivors and Susan G. Komen’s continuing fight to find a cure.
Reborning (8m, USA)
sub. Helen Hood Scheer
Jean likes to create something out of nothing.
The Bonobo Connection (31m, USA)
dir. Irene Magafan
Doucmentary short about a forgotten relative: the bonobo. Aside from chimpanzees, they are the closest blood relatives to humans, and in the wild they can only be found in one country, the Democratic Republic of Congo in Central Africa. Bonobos were the last of the great apes to be discovered but could be the first to go extinct due to the dangers they are facing in the wild: deforestation, being hunted for bush meat, and getting caught in the middle of a war zone from the country’s political instability. This film will take you on an emotional journey into the lives of these forgotten apes.
Everglades of the North: The Story of the Grand Kankakee Marsh (57m, USA)
sub. Patty Wisniewski
Explores the diverse ecology, illustrates the astonishing history, and unveils the controversial saga of the Grand Kankakee Marsh.
Pole-itics (18m, USA)
dir. Emilee Wilson
Former pole dancer Emilee Wilson has been an advocate for public pole for nearly 9 years. As an artist who has portrayed exotic dancers on stage and screen, Wilson explores the possibility that pole dance may be on its way to the Olympic committee.
Corno (78m, Canada)
dir. Guy Edoin
Documentary film about Quebec painter Johanne Corno, who has lived in New York for more than 20 years. Looked down on by Quebec’s art intelligentsia, she went into self-imposed exile abroad to free herself from her society’s heavy yoke and built an enviable international career.
Love Stuffed (11m, United Kingdom)
dir. Rupert Van Den Broek
A taxidermist’s assistant tries to win the heart of his boss through dance, but can he compete with the memory of her dead husband?
From the Woods (26m, USA)
dir. by Nicolas Wendl
A recently single mother must learn to let go of her fear and obsession about her abusive husband in order to save her son from a mysterious creature in the woods.
The Firebird (25m, Australia)
dir. Antonis Tsonis
As a child Omid is forced to flee his homeland due to political unrest and his father’s revolutionary poetry for freedom. To survive and endure the consequences of mandatory detention and deportation from Australia, Omid trusts in the wisdom of the great poets and his father’s words to avoid internal surrender. From the depths of political exclusion an artist is born.
Changing Reels (6m, USA)
dir. Timothy M. Flaherty
Changing Reels is the story of a projectionist on his last day of employment, as his theater is closing down to change to new digital technology. The film is a reflection of an aging man feeling a disconnect from the world around him.
The Gate Agent (17m, USA)
dir. Damiano Fusca
Life doesn’t end at death. It begins at the gate.
OSWALD (11m, USA)
dir. Alyssa Rallo Bennett
Lee Harvey Oswald meets up with his bother Robert Oswald in a hotel room just before the assassination of JFK.
Black Steps (4m, Canada)
dir. Dan Noah
Spaghetti für Zwei (Spaghetti For Two) (19m, Germany)
dir. Matthias Rosenberger
The likeable but lonesome man is on his way to lunch. Awaiting him, the outside world lurks menacingly: in his imagination it swarms with would-be crooks, hussies and criminals. What should have been a routine stroll develops into a dark odyssey, triggering a troubled conflict against himself and against the world… and ultimately, it is the underdog who is victorious.
Puncture (5m, Australia)
dir. Edward Lyons
When a self reliant business woman breaks down on a dark and isolated country road, she discovers that help can come from the strangest of strangers.
Fancy (13m, USA)
sub. Brian Stone
Paul Andrews has been racing pigeons longer than he can remember. He was once the club’s reigning champion, but he’s been in a slump for several seasons now, winless since his wife passed away. Now approaching the end of his racing career, and with only the final race of the season left, Paul finds faith that he can win one last time.
Intersection (7m, USA)
sub. Dorothea Paschalidou
Intersection is a coming of age drama that involves a single, blue- collar father and his teenage son. Their relationship is edgy and distant because both of them lead secret lives at night: The father is a drag queen performer and the boy has recently become associate with a neo-nazi gang. On the night of the boy’s initiation to the gang, both father and son’s secret lives meet in an intersection.
Pinball Donut Girl (11m, USA)
dir. Don Starnes
Re-discover pinball in this indie comedy about love in a donut shop.
Last Remnants (7m, USA)
dir. Charles Pieper
A young man’s night out at a diner takes a curious turn when he is confronted by a stranger completely removed from the modern era. Based on a newspaper article published by the Chicago Herald in 1901.
Cold Soldier (14m, USA)
dir. Michael DiGiorgio
Two air force pilots crash land in a frozen tundra with no recollection of how they got there.
Get Down (22m, USA)
dir. Robbie Barclay
When a lonely corrections officer in a small town is approached by a young man to retrieve a stolen gun he is sent down a dark path across a rugged and fantastic landscape.
Rain (14m, Australia)
dir. Henry Boffin
An Old Man and a deaf Boy live alone in the middle of a desolate wasteland of a future where it hasn’t rained for 50 years. Their home exists on the outskirts of what, long ago, used to be a civilised town. But now the water is gone and the pair survives off of the last remains of a secret well beneath their home. As the well runs dry and desperate savages roam the countryside there is nowhere left to turn, the Old Man realizes that their days are numbered.
Girls Who Smoke (15m, USA)
dir. Tawny Foskett
Girls Who Smoke is adapted from a Moth story that played on public radio’s This American Life program and is about two women, both with bad boyfriends and bad habits, who connect over a pack of cigarettes.
The Ladder (7m, USA)
dir. Pete Fitz
It’s late on a school night and CB has just been invited to his first romantic rendezvous with a girl in his class. Everything is riding on the shoulders of the boy’s ingenuity and gumption as he struggles to carry a ladder through the hazards of the night before reaching young love’s window.
Driftwood (11m, United Kingdom)
dir. James Webber
Set in London, Driftwood is the story of fifteen-year-old Sam, a swimming prodigy, whose life is split into two very different worlds: a poignant antithesis between talent and achievement at the dawn of his sporting career, and fear and torment in his home and social life.
Any Moment Now (23m, Australia)
dir. Gary Glenn
Two organized crime types meet in a deserted country restaurant. Devon has stolen money from the mob and Jimmy has come to talk him into giving the money back – and save both of their lives at the same time.
Dark Before Dawn (18m USA)
dir. Christina Grozik
Haunted by broken dreams, a writer struggles with his final chapter.
Headcase (88m, Canada)
dir. Ken Simpson
After an ill-advised outburst gets wise-cracking Craig fired from his office job, he ends up agreeing to deliver a package for a man he barely knows. The mysterious delivery quickly turns to horror as Craig finds himself pursued by murder, mayhem and the mob.
DUANE MICHALS: THE MAN WHO INVENTED HIMSELF (85m, France, U S A)
dir. Camille Guichard
A cinematic portrait of Duane Michals, one of America’s masters of photography, who revolutionized the art form and paved the way for other artists who followed. Michals is a witty and cheerful young man of almost 80 years old and, most of all, one of the great American Masters of Photography. As a completely self-taught photographer, Michals was among the first photographers to make innovative use of photo sequences, incorporating handwritten texts which add another dimension to the images’ meaning.
Scarred Lands & Wounded Lives–The Environmental Footprint of War (68m, U S A)
dir. Alice and Lincoln Day
Using on-site and archival footage to illustrate specialist and eyewitness accounts from around the world, Scarred Lands & Wounded Lives shows how war and preparations for war further compromise the environmental health of a planet already stressed by massive population increases, ruinous environmental practices, and unsustainable demands on natural resources. In the context of growing awareness and alarm about global climate change, it shows natural security (the protection and preservation of ecosystems) to be an essential component of any realistic approach to national security.
Walls of Sound: A Look Inside the House of Records (63m, USA)
dir. David Gracon
This documentary video is a case study of the House of Records, a brick and mortar independent record store based in Eugene, Oregon. The store has been in operation since 1972, and it currently struggles to exist in the midst of digital downloading (both legal and illegal) and the corporate consolidation of culture (in terms of corporate chain and big-box stores). The video is an ethnographic study that combines interviews with the owner and employees, as well as various customers of the store and addresses the socio-cultural significance and various folkloric narratives of the store on a number of levels.
Make A Wish (3m, USA)
dir. Hee Jin Kim
This 3D animated film depicts an ordinary girl who wants to be beautiful. The only thing which makes her different from others is that she has a name card of a wily magician. How the girl changes her mind while changing her body is captured with subtle character animations.
Kneejerk (2m, USA)
dir. Jordan Schmelzer
The Worst (16m, USA)
dir. Larry Cohen
Ryan had a bad night. Her phone is dead. And in a moment of indecision, she just left everything on the F train. Desperate, she turns to Nick, an off-duty MTA worker of suspect morals. The two strangers enter into a contentious deal to chase down the subway, before it vanishes with Ryan’s luggage and any chance of her getting home.
Abyssus Abyssum Invocat (9m, USA)
dir. Wes Simpkins
Abyssus Abyssus Invocat is a stop motion animation/ live action mash-up that comes together seamlessly to harness the intrinsic dark qualities of the mediums of stop motion and live action puppetry. It approaches the topic of capital punishment in a satiric and at times grotesque fashion, riffing on classic storytelling aesthetics of the Eastern European masters of the stop motion craft.
Jack & Jill (12m, Australia)
dir. Lloyd Harvey, Spencer Harvey
Jill’s father is stationed in New Guinea during WWII, whilst Jill and her sisters wait at home in Sydney for news from the front line. The women are left to fear the worst, upon learning that an RAAF squadron, near the village where their father is stationed, has sustained heavy casualties. So Jill, armed with her imagination and a map of the South Pacific, takes it upon herself to bring her father home.
Customer Service (11m, USA)
dir. Karin Kelly
The story of Dean, a decent guy who loses his job trying to do the right thing, only to discover that the wheel of karma can turn in your favor as well.
BUILDING A RELATIONSHIP (3m, USA)
dir. Brittany Portman
Red Brick, a dilapidated red brick building, is part of urban blight. Steele N. Glass is a magnificent structure that adorns the skyline and stands next to Red Brick. Red Brick is infatuated with Steele and wishes to win her. Watch Red Brick as his transformation unfolds in this eco-romantic film short.
Make It a Great Day (7m, USA)
dir. Joshua Jones
Mother Nature’s peculiar sense of irony creates a convoluted path of survival for a newborn chick with unfortunate timing.
Let Your Light Shine (3m, USA)
sub. Bridge and Tunnel Communications
Genesis (3m, Singapore)
dir. Isaac Kerlow
Life is created from light and motion. A man and a woman are born and fall in love, but their harmony is short lived. The short combines a variety of animation techniques and includes an original musical score.
MAN AT THE DOOR (30m, USA)
dir. Alan Arrivée
When a middle class white woman, who has recently separated from her husband and moved to Chicago, goes downstairs to her apartment lobby with a UPS slip in hand, she finds an illegal Mexican laborer at her doorstep, bleeding from a stab wound and begging to be let in. The decision she makes forces her to face the dangers of the city and its seemingly alien inhabitants.
Losing LeBron (60m, USA)
sub. Nicole Hart
A feature-length documentary chronicling NBA superstar LeBron James’ first season with the Miami Heat, through the eyes of the fans he left behind.
Kayip (14m, Belgium, Turkey, USA)
dir. Mete Sozer
Gorko! (6m, Russian Federation)
dir. Dmitriy Sergin
An acrophobic man skydives to prove his love to his girlfriend. Before jumping, he asks her to marry him, then, as a joke, tells her marry his best friend if he dies.
B.B.S.B. “Locolotion” Subtitled (3m, Japan)
dir. Yuki Ogura
The Missouri Strain (22m, USA)
dir. Wes Kotansky, Jr.
A small family tries to escape a fast-acting virus that mutates people into flesh-eating zombies. The virus spreads so rapidly that the family has very little options to escape. They turn to their last resort and enter into a deep east coast forest hoping they will be safe. The film focuses much more on the emotions of the family and the impact it has on them rather than the impact of the virus and zombies.
King Tigermore In Strawberry Fields (3m, USA)
dir. Tunde Reid-Kapo
Kimi plays a dreamlike chess game in this fantastical childhood romp in which King Tigermore comes to life.
Lockwood (26m, USA)
dir. Donnie McCormick
Hoping for a big break on the story of a missing girl, newspaper writer Robert O’Dwyer returns to his hometown of Lockwood and must choose between his career and his family in order to uncover the girl’s killer in this 1920s thriller.
JackenJill (24m, Canada)
dir. Frank Forrestall
JackenJill find themselves in a mysterious house at the top of their proverbial hill. This house is a spiritual no-man’s land where those who have fallen can enact one last drama before the ultimate end of their life. Creatures and vagrants roam the halls of the house on the hill. JackenJill learn acceptance but not without pain, spiritual despair, denial and death in this short film about life, death and spiritual despair based on the nursery rhyme.
Surviving Family (87m, USA)
dir. Laura Thies
Terry Malone is smart, beautiful, and about to marry a terrific guy. But life in her dysfunctional family – marred by alcoholism, mental illness, and suicide – has left her unprepared to build the happy life that she yearns for. A visit to her family home forces Terry to face the truth about her mother’s death, her father’s life, and the half sister she never knew she had.
There Are No Goodbyes (99m, USA)
dir. John C. Lyons
Born and raised in a quiet, industrial city, Oliver has grown comfortable, but without direction. He is contacted by a mysterious gentleman who gives him an odd task to complete. Without knowing the man or his motivation, he complies and is rewarded. The tasks continue and provide purpose, but soon he begins to question the man and his intentions. Frustrated and back on his own, Oliver crosses paths with a young photographer named Raina, who introduces new energy to his life. They fall in love and all is well until the man returns with one more task to complete. Will Oliver succumb to his demands and does he have a choice?
Tickets for PIFF are $10 for a One Day Pass, $15 for a Two Day Pass, and $20 for a Festival Pass. Tickets are available for purchase on the PIFF website.