Film

Art by Tony Buba / Miller ICA

Tony Buba is among Pittsburgh’s most acclaimed independent filmmakers. And like so many people these days, he’s admittedly obsessed by the coronavirus pandemic.

Pittsburgh Black Film Network

Citing a lack of diversity in the local film industry, a new group called the Pittsburgh Black Film Network connects directors, actors and crew to resources throughout the city. On Thursday evening, the organization will host a festival of short films made by African-American directors and producers.

Films from the “silent” era were not usually viewed soundlessly; most were accompanied live by a pianist or organist. And it's that sound of a solo keyboardist – playing up-tempo runs for a chase scene, or minor chords for a tragic one – that many people still think of when they imagine music for films from before talkies.

Photo by Maria Scapellato / 90.5 WESA News

The financially troubled group that rebranded earlier this year as Pittsburgh Center for Arts & Media is drastically downsizing again, with major implications for the local arts scene.

Photo by Lacey Terrell / TriStar Pictures

Fred Rogers died in 2003, at 74. He was already beloved, but his death seemed to accelerate a kind of secular canonization. In Pittsburgh, his hometown, he even got his own bronze statue. Erected in 2009, it stands 11 feet tall, overlooking the rivers near another civic shrine, Heinz Field.

Courtesy of the filmmaker

Julie Sokolow first encountered writer and activist Mark Baumer the way most people who’d heard of him did: through the quirky online videos he posted of his quest to walk barefoot across America to fight climate change.

Courtesy of Pittsburgh Center for Arts & Media

It’s been a long way back for the Three Rivers Film Festival.

The festival began in 1982 and for years was a fixture of Pittsburgh’s fall arts season. At its peak, the festival, organized by Pittsburgh Filmmakers, screened two full weeks of independent and art-house films and classics from around the world at multiple venues, including its own three theaters.

Courtesy of Stephen Chbosky / Grand Central Publishing

On today's program: Pittsburgh native and author Stephen Chbosky talks about his latest release ahead of a trip home; an expert weighs in on which Democratic hopefuls have the best plans to address climate change; how the PA Turnpike laid the groundwork for today's interstate highway system; and activists are putting pressure on a coke plant in Erie.

Courtesy of David Bernabo

A picture postcard from the Grand Canyon. A topographical map of India. A T-shirt airbrushed with a gray wolf howling at the moon.

Courtesy of the artist

tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE is a multidisciplinary artist well-known for decades in the local underground scene. He makes experimental films, writes eccentric books, and plays music – lots of music.

Photo courtesy of the August Wilson Cultural Center.

In its third year, the Black Bottom Film Festival is broadening its footprint. The festival, which starts Friday and continues through Feb. 25, features films spotlighting the African-American experience. It’s run by the August Wilson Cultural Center, located Downtown, which hosts the screenings along with a new venue for the festival, Row House Cinema, in Lawrenceville.

Andrew Harnick / AP

Republican changes to the 2018 tax code moved the target for Americans hoping to itemize charitable donations. The higher threshold—now $12,000 for single filers, up from $6,000 in years prior—could result in larger but less frequent donations for higher-income donors, or fewer donations altogether. 

Courtesy of David Bernabo and John Miller

When Americans talk politics these days, it’s almost impossible to avoid the subject of President Donald Trump. And that can be a problem.

Courtesy of Film Pittsburgh

For many of the world’s filmmakers – surely most of them – short films are the way to go, a more affordable way to tell a story or realize one’s vision than a full-length feature. The hard part of the bargain is it’s a lot harder to find an audience. Movie theaters don’t routinely program short films; television stations don’t show them; and online, you’re competing with the whole internet.

Image courtesy of Daliborka Films

In Command and Control, Eric Schlosser’s 2013 book about the U.S. nuclear arsenal, the episode warranted just a paragraph: in 1954 a Japanese fishing boat was showered with fallout from atomic testing in the Pacific Ocean.

Courtesy of Danseur

Dance studios across the United States are brimming with bunheads dreaming of crossing the stage at Lincoln Center, but guests would be hard pressed to find any boys among them. 

Jim Judkis / Focus Features via AP

Tom Hanks is slated to play Fred Rogers in the film "You Are My Friend," which will begin filming in Pittsburgh this fall. 

Keith Srakocic / AP

Sorrow, unrest and anger drove Pittsburghers into the streets this week in grief and solidarity following the shooting deaths of two young black men, Antwon Rose and Jimmy Wopo, as well as a border patrol policy that's left thousands of children stranded far away from their immigrant parents.

City of Pittsburgh

It’s the first full week for the City of Pittsburgh’s annual line-up of free outdoor summer events, including concerts and films.

Folk tales and fairy tales are conventionally viewed as repositories of traditional culture. But they can also be dark, anarchic, and downright weird, full of violence, shape-shifting and magic.

Megan Harris / 90.5 WESA

The Mattress Factory Museum was never meant to be a museum, says Barbara Luderowski. She should know; the artist and designer launched the venture herself in 1977, in a literal former mattress factory on Pittsburgh’s North Side. It began as a multi-story community center that hosted a dance studio, art exhibits, theater performances, film screenings and more, including a vegetarian co-op café where you could get dinner for $2.

Image by David Bernabo

These days, people are largely disconnected from the origins of most of what they buy or use, from the drill rigs where oil is pumped to the factories where electronic devices are assembled. Such places are often also sites of human or environmental abuse. The same goes for food – including restaurant meals.

Wild & Scenic Film Festival

Two local groups dedicated to cleaning up Pittsburgh are hosting a film festival that explores environmental issues around the country.

Chad Pizzello / Invision via AP

Black Panther opens Friday, and it’s expected to be a blockbuster, but for many people, the film is more than just another superhero flick.

This Marvel Comics character, created in the 1960s, is often credited as the first mainstream black superhero. The new film adaptation takes place in Wakanda, a fictional high-tech nation that's never been colonized and is led by T’Challa, who doubles as the Black Panther. It boasts an African-American director, Ryan Coogler, and a nearly all-black cast, led by Chadwick Boseman. 

Gene J. Puskar / AP

A Focus Features documentary dubbed “Won’t You Be My Neighbor” about the life and work of Fred Rogers is coming to the the big screen in June, officials announced Monday.

According to a release, the film will examine how Rogers navigated cultural and social issues in a forward-thinking way.

President and CEO of the Fred Rogers Company Paul Siefken said Rogers was a fascinating man on and off screen.

Quigley Photograph Archives / Georgetown University Library Booth Family Center for Special Collections, Washington D.C.

Silent film director Lois Weber made more than 200 films between 1908 and 1934, including "The Blot" and "Where Are My Children?" She developed some techniques still used in filmmaking today.

But the Pittsburgh native’s legacy has received little recognition. Now, a new documentary looks at Weber’s life. The film “Yours Sincerely, Lois Weber” was produced by Benjamin Alfonsi, a University of Pittsburgh alum who is bringing the movie to the August Wilson Center on Saturday, Oct. 28 at 3:30 p.m. 

Row House Cinema

Organizers for Pittsburgh's International Children’s Film Festival say they want to expand the worldview of children through film and other programs.

The five-day event kicks off Friday morning at Row House Cinema with Drag Queen Storytime followed by a screening of the 1984 movie "Muppets Take Manhattan." The schedule includes other films and activities to promote acceptance and inclusion - all taking place at Row House Cinema and some take place during morning hours or mid-day.

Gene J. Puskar / AP

George Romero, whose classic "Night of the Living Dead" and other horror films turned zombie movies into social commentaries and who saw his flesh-devouring undead spawn countless imitators, remakes and homages, has died. He was 77.

First Black Bottom Film Festival Comes To August Wilson Center

Feb 24, 2017
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.

No Place But Home / Youtube

Examine the life and storied career of Braddock-based filmmaker Tony Buba in a new documentary short produced in partnership between 90.5 WESA and Carnegie Museum of Art. The film, No Place but Home, was produced by Ryan Loew and Matthew Newton. It premiered last week at a CMOA event.

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