Most Pittsburghers are familiar with the narrative of mid 20th century urban renewal in neighborhoods like East Liberty and the Hill District: displacement of longtime residents to make room for large publicly funded projects or revitalization efforts.
For 14 years Oscar nominated director Hanna Polak followed the life of a young homeless girl named Yula who was living in a Russian garbage dump. She chronicles Yula’s experiences and talks about hope in her new documentary, Something Better to Come. Ahead of the film’s screening at the Carnegie Mellon University International Film Festival, Polak spoke with Essential Pittsburgh’s Paul Guggenheimer.
Pittsburgh is no stranger to furry culture. Every summer, thousands of members of the community gather in the Steel City for Anthrocon. But for filmmaker Dominic Rodriguez, he wanted to create a documentary taking a closer look at the Furry population. His film, "Fursonas," has been making rounds at independent film festivals and had its Pittsburgh debut last night at the Regent Square Theater. Essential Pittsburgh's Paul Guggenheimer spoke with Rodriguez about his movie and furry culture at large.
The new documentary (T)ERROR focuses on the role of paid FBI informants in capturing alleged terrorists. The film focuses on a Wilkinsburg man, Khalifa Ali Al-Akili, arrested in 2012 on a gun charge following an investigation in which an FBI informant tried to goad him into conversations about Islamic radicalism. Our guests are David Felix Sutcliffe and Lyric Cabral, directors and producers of "(T)ERROR," winner of the Special Jury Award for Breakout First Feature at the Sundance Film Festival.
According to Sutcliffe, the case against Khalifa, like some other cases the FBI has built, looked strong.
“There are these cases that look impressive, but once you dig beneath the surface there's a lot of issues there,” says Sutcliffe.
The new food documentary The Search for General Tso takes viewers on a gastronomic journey. The film’s producer is New York Times writer and Splendid Table guest host Jennifer 8. Lee. She’ll clue us in on the origins of General Tso’s chicken and other Chinese dishes that enjoy worldwide popularity.
Lee talks about the origin of General Tso’s Chicken :
“ All evidence points to the fact that the general never actually ate the chicken dish. There was a chef in Taiwan in the 1950’s that created it at a banquet for the nationalist government. The chef himself was from the Hunan province, which is where the general [General Tso] is from… so he named the dish in the general’s honor. That dish came to the United States, but the dish we eat today no way resembles the dish that he cooked.”
Yogi Roth has turned a trip with his ailing father into a documentary called "Life in a Walk." Roth, who played football at the University of Pittsburgh from 2001-2003, is now an analyst with the Pac-12 Network.
No No: A Dockumentary is opening in Pittsburgh, Saturday night at the Harris Theater.
The film tells the story of former Pirates pitcher Dock Ellis, who pitched a no-hitter on June 12, 1970 - supposedly while under the influence of LSD. After retiring he became a counselor, helping other addicts in their recoveries. Hear from director Jeffrey Radice and view the film trailer.
Public Herald founders Melissa Troutman and Joshua Pribanic are setting off on a summer tour to call attention to hydraulic fracturing, better known as fracking.
The journalists co-directed the documentary Triple Divide which deals with fracking in Pennsylvania. They’re taking the film to communities throughout the country that are dealing with their own fracking issues. And they're using a vehicle that doesn't need gasoline.
What began as a trip to Ukraine to work on a documentary called "Gennadiy," about drug-addicted street children, turned into a near-death experience for Pittsburgh-based filmmakers Filipp Velgach and Steve Hoover.
Velgach and Hoover were targeted by a pro-Russian mob while filming at the end of a demonstration.
“Shortly after we got there, and the rumors started circulating that we were American journalists as opposed to American documentary makers. And therefore suggesting we probably had some sort of political agenda for being there and filming the rally," Velgach said. "The rumors grew more aggressive and people started approaching us, saying we're Americans, and 'All of the issues in Ukraine are because of Americans,' and 'We don't like Americans.' And that escalated pretty quickly into us being attacked."
Female presidents and prime ministers are currently serving in 18 different countries. Meanwhile, the United States has never had a female president, and is ranked 69th worldwide in women’s representation in national legislatures or parliaments.
What are other countries doing that America isn’t?
This question will be explored this Saturday at 8 p.m. at the Carnegie Museum of Art Theater, when Women and Girls Foundation CEO Heather Arnet premieres her documentary, Madame Presidenta: Why Not U.S.?.
This week, the award-winning documentary, Blood Brother comes to Pittsburgh's Three Rivers film festival. It's about a remarkable Pittsburgh man named Rocky Braat, who has made a drastic change in his life in order to help others.
Rocky made the decision to change his career path and gave up his life in the Steel City to go to India and live with children at an HIV/AIDS orphanage. His best friend from school, director Steve Hoover decided to follow Rocky and chronicle his journey.
Film crews are arriving in Pittsburgh Tuesday to explore American manufacturing. The feature-length documentary, titled “American Made Movie,” highlights 32 United States cities 32 days.
Co-directors Vincent Vittorio and Nathan Thomas McGill are traveling by bus across the nation to stress the importance of supporting small and large companies that contribute to the national economy and manufacturing sector.
In a country with a great history of manufacturing and exporting goods, many believe that the best way to support the American economy is to buy locally. Filmmakers Vincent Vittorio and Nathaniel Thomas McGill are on a 32-day tour with their documentary American Made Movie, in which they highlight companies that produce goods in the United States.