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Arts, Sports & Culture

Pittsburgh is One of the Stars of New Television Documentary

Pittsburgh’s film credits have been steadily growing over the last few years, and the Steel City is the location of a new series called “The Chair,” which premieres on the cable channel Starz this weekend.

It’s about the making of two films – each from the same screen play, but adapted by different directors.

Why Pittsburgh? Executive Producer Chris Moore said the main reason is he loves the city. Moore is the guy behind Project Greenlight and has been a producer on movies such as "American Pie" and "Good Will Hunting." He says filming in Pittsburgh helps give the local economy a boost, in part by generating jobs.

“In a lower-budget project in particular you can’t bring people from other places,” Moore said. “Seventy-one percent of all of our manpower was local. The 29 percent that wasn’t was primarily because the writer, directors and a couple of the actors weren’t from here, but almost all the crews for all three projects were from here.”

Plus, Moore said, it’s fun for the community.

“Movies are fun to make, but they’re also fun to watch and fun to be around, it’s kind of cool to see your neighborhood up on the big screen or whatever, so that part of it is fun,” he said. “The other part of it is money. If you rent your house for a couple of weeks to a movie place, you make money and that’s not money you’d probably make anywhere else.”

A screening of two episodes of "The Chair" will be held in Pittsburgh Thursday night, the two films that are followed in the series will premier later this month. Moore said the idea for the project was born out of conversations that happen on almost every movie set.

“Which is, ‘gee I wonder how this scene would have worked if the other person directed it?’ and ‘What would Good Will Hunting have been like if Tom Cruise was playing Matt [Damon’s] character?’ that kind of thing,” said Moore.

The movies featured in "The Chair" were adapted from an original script by Daniel Schoffer called “How Soon is Now.” Two first-time feature film directors are featured in The Chair; Shane Dawson with “Not Cool” and Anna Martemucci with “Hollidaysburg.”

“The hope is people will get into the show and the documentary and watch the movies, because I think the documentary is better if you’ve seen the movies because you know what they’re trying to accomplish and it’s so fascinating,” Moore said.

"The Chair" premieres on Starz Saturday night, the movies will premiere in Pittsburgh, New York and Los Angeles Sept. 19 and be released digitally the following week.