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First Black Bottom Film Festival Comes To August Wilson Center

Pittsburgh Cultural Trust

A new film fest is coming to Pittsburgh.

The inaugural Black Bottom Film Festival will showcase contemporary, classic and independent black cinema this Friday through Sunday at the August Wilson Center in downtown Pittsburgh.

Joe Lewis of the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust said there aren't enough platforms for black video, particularly locally produced and independent films. He said the jumping off points for selecting media for the festival, were the themes frequented by famed Pittsburgh writer August Wilson.

“His plays deal with class struggle, family conflict, race, spirituality, so we use that as our canvas, our platform, our litmus test for the films,” said Lewis.

The festival also includes screenwriting and acting workshops and a question-and-answer session with award winning director Michael Schultz.

Schultz is one of the first black directors hired by major studios. He directed films such as Car Wash and Women Thou Art Loosed, plus episodes of contemporary television shows like Blackish. He will be honored with the first Black Bottom Film Festival Award for Cinematic Excellence.

Following his award ceremony, the festival will screen a double feature of his films Cooley High and Richard Pryor’s breakout film, Which Way Is Up?

Virginia reports on identity and justice for 90.5 WESA. That means looking at how people see themselves in the community, and how the community makes them feel. Her reporting examines things like race, policing, and housing to tell the stories of folks we often don't hear from.