Posts Tagged ‘Three Rivers Film Festival’


Short Films

January 26, 2009

Granted, the film festival was a few months ago, I finally remembered to come back and post a couple short films from the Symposium. These two films are part of the reason that I enjoyed the symposium as much as I did. Neither one is longer than about 4 minutes, and I hope you will take the time to enjoy them as much as all of the attendees did.

Dear, Sweet Emma



Andy Horbal Post

November 13, 2008

From my very esteemed colleague, Andy Horbal of Mirror/Stage:

I’ve lived in Pittsburgh for more than eight years now, which is long enough to have settled into quite a few routines. I walk to work along the same route every day (down Ellsworth Avenue), read the City Paper in the same order every week (Food-On Screen-Savage Love, etc.), and every year I acquaint myself with the lineup of the Three Rivers Film Festival in exactly the same manner. As ruts go, this last one isn’t so bad. The first thing I do is scan the list of titles for movies I’ve been waiting for because I heard good things about them when they played festivals like Cannes, Sundance, or Berlin earlier in the year, like Waltz with Bashir [2008] and Ballast [2008] on this year’s slate. These films take priority when I’m deciding what to see.

Next I look up the showtimes for the special events I’m interested in and the “classic”-type films I’ve never seen on the big screen, like Jazz on a Summer’s Day (1960) at this year’s fest. Whichever screenings I can make it to get added to my list.

Now I have a tentative schedule to work with, which allows me to move on to the last, arguably most important, step: I identify one or two open dates, see what’s playing on them, and pick films I’ve never heard of to see on those days based solely on how compelling their descriptions are. I intentionally avoid reading about these films before I see them and I go into them with an empty, open mind.

Film savvy types have, I think, a tendency to regard anything they haven’t already heard of with suspicion: if it was any good, they would know about it, right? In my experience, though, this argument doesn’t hold up, especially not when we’re dealing with a festival like the 3RFF that uses its strong relationships with talented but unsung filmmakers across the state, country, and even the globe to bring in excellent films that, for whatever reason, aren’t on the critical community’s radar yet.

All year long I look forward to having the opportunity to see the latest work by prominent auteurs like Nuri Bilge Ceylon and Andrzej Wajda before most of my friends; the most memorable screenings I attend each year, though, are invariably the ones where I discover something completely new to me. Last year I was impressed by the potential of Azazel Jacobs, whose newest film Momma’s Man (2008) is at this year’s fest, months before my critic friends were in on the secret; in 2007 I was stunned by the quality of homegrown products like Dodo (2006) and An Independent Portrait (2006); in 2004 I was stymied by a film called Bazaar Bizarre (2004) that was unlike anything I’d ever seen before.

These experiences are all special to me because they’re properly mine. My reaction to each of these films wasn’t influenced by either the response of the critics or by expectations based on their directors’ oeuvres: it was just me and the movies together in those theaters, allowed to meet as strangers for once.

So, from one moderately old hand at 3RFF attending (I have been to a third of them), a little advice: don’t be afraid to let the good people at Pittsburgh Filmmakers do a little bit of the work of deciding what to see for you this year. These films were all chosen for a reason: take a chance on one of them. The potential reward of an unforgettable cinematic experience far outweighs the minimal risks involved.

One film ripe for discovery that you might want to take a flyer on is Twists of Fate (2008). Director Jerzy Stuhr is best known in this country as an actor in Krzysztof Kieslowski films like Three Colors: White (1994) and Camera Buff (1979), but his work behind the camera deserves recognition, too. I first discovered his film Big Animal (2000) (which went on to play the 2004 3RFF) at a 2001 CMA Cinema (RIP) series called “Through Polish Eyes” that made such an impression on me that I registered for an Introduction to Polish class the day after it ended.

All three of his films that I’ve seen (all of which are available on Netflix, including my favorite, A Week in the Life of a Man [1999]) star Stuhr himself as a sort of Everyman character faced with a series of moral questions that challenge us, the audience, to ask ourselves what we would do in his situation. They’re “difficult” in a refreshingly different sort of way.

Jerzy Stuhr, who was here in Pittsburgh at that series in 2001, was at Wednesday’s 8pm screening at Melwood to field questions after the film.

As for me, I’m going to take a chance on either Cherry Blossoms (2007) or Mock Up On Mu (2008), or possibly both. If you know anything about them, don’t tell me!


Deuce, tonight’s Film Kitchen event

November 11, 2008

If you haven’t heard, one of the best deals in entertainment in Pittsburgh is Filmmakers‘ and the Pittsburgh City Paper‘s monthly Film Kitchen. It typically happens on the second Tuesday of each month. And how marvelous is it that the second Tuesday of this particular month also happens to coincide with the 3 Rivers Film Festival?

Film Kitchen, as it implies, is a chance to sit back and eat a little food, see a film, and then grill the film’s makers during a Q&A session. Plenty of blogs describe past events and happenings.

Tonight, it’s rumored that there will be arena-style hot-dogs and hamburgers in honor of the screening of Deuce, local sports nut and statistician. Tickets are still the regular festival price of $8 and can be purchased in advance at the Filmmakers receptionist’s desk, or online. Think about it…for the price of a movie, you get to eat, drink, and be merry with the filmmakers and Deuce himself. Join us at the reception at the Regent Square Theater at 7 pm. The movie starts at 8 pm, so don’t be late!


Additions and Corrections

November 9, 2008

There have been a few additions (and a correction or two) to the lineup for the film festival.

Monday November 10th’s showing of The Speed of Life at the Melwood Screening Room has been canceled.


On Saturday, November 15th, there will be a special 10 pm screening of JCVD at the Regent Square Theater.

Reality TV has finally met up with the big-screen with this fictional story about actor/action star Jean-Claude Van Damme. In the movie, he is himself, an ordinary man and former actor. When he finds himself in the middle of a bank robbery, all eyes fall on him to be the savior of the day. For a man who’s confronted all in the manner of evil (think: aliens, ninjas, bad dialogue), how he handles day-to-day life becomes apparent in this comedic take of reality.

On Sunday, November 23rd, there will be a special surprise screening to end the festival with a bang. The event will be happening at the Regent Square Theater at 8 pm. Tickets will be $9 unless you have a Silver Screenie Pass or have a used Six-Pack ticket. Make sure to hold on to your used Six-Pack passes…there is no need to save a punch on the pass for this screening since it’s a special event. Just use it like a coupon after you’ve seen movies with it. If you have a Silver Screenie pass or used Six-Pack pass, admission will be only $6. The only way to get tickets is to be in line 30 minutes before the show starts.


Opening weekend events

November 6, 2008

Reminder! The festival starts TOMORROW! Get your tickets now!

Now that opening night has been covered, it’s time to move on to the other happenings over opening weekend. Don’t worry…opening weekend is not the only time filled with special events. A special showing or event is happening almost every day throughout the duration of the festival.

At 11 am on Saturday, join us for brunch at the Melwood facility with Steeltown Entertainment and a panel of artists for discussion. Scheduled to attend are:

Adrienne Wehr
— Producer: The Bread My Sweet, Actress, Associate Producer: Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.

David Conrad
— Producer: Tamas: A Portrait; Actor: Ghost Whisperer, Wedding Crashers, Men of Honor.

Laura Davis — Producer: A Shot Felt ‘Round the World; Public Enemies, Miami Vice, Memoirs of a Geisha DVDs

Tjardus Greidanus
— Director of Photography: A Shot Felt ‘Round the World, Public Enemies, Miami Vice DVDs; Editor: My Tale of Two Cities

Mark Knobil — Director of Photography: My Tale of Two Cities, The Bread My Sweet, NOVA’s The Great Robot Race.

Carl Kurlander
— Producer and Director: My Tale of Two Cities, Screenwriter: St. Elmo’s Fire, Writer/Producer: Saved By the Bell.

During the day Saturday, four movies will be shown at the Regent Square. Four will also be shown at the Harris theater, and two at the Melwood screening room. A schedule and synopsis (and a link to purchasing tickets) for each movie can be found here.

Sunday marks the first special event performance of The Passion of Joan of Arc with the Bach Choir at the Regent Square Theater at 2 pm. In addition to Joan, two movies will be shown at each theater. A small preview of this incredible performance can be found on the homepage of the Pittsburgh Bach Choir’s website


Opening Night and Film Teasers!

November 5, 2008

VIP Reception (5:30 pm Fri, Nov. 7–Concept Art Gallery)
The VIP Pass costs $75. It can be purchased here and includes admission to the VIP reception, opening night screening of Tamas: A Portrait, and admission to the opening night Gala/after-party. The reception at Concept Art Gallery is conveniently located next door to the Regent Square Theater!

Gala and after-party
The after-party will be held at the Filmmakers facility on Melwood. It promises to be exciting with the facility all decked out to resemble a classic Hollywood nightclub! We’ll have food, drinks, a DJ and dancing, so come help us celebrate a successful opening night at this one-night-only event! You can be admitted to the gala by one of several methods: purchasing a VIP pass or purchasing a $25 opening night pass to any of the three opening night films.

Tamas: A Portrait
(7:30 pm Fri, Nov. 7–Regent Square Theater)
About 30 miles outside of Pittsburgh in a small town known as Saltsburg, there is a school for boys known as the Kiski School. Here is where a young man from Hungary named Tamas Szilagyi started making a difference back in 1963, when he was appointed as a teacher of history and a coach. Actor, filmmaker, and Kiski graduate David Conrad is scheduled to attend, as is the movie’s star, Tamas Szilagyi.

Bourgeois sculptures in Katz Plaza in Pittsburgh


Louise Bourgeois: The Spider, the Mistress, and the Tangerine (7:30 pm Fri, Nov. 7–Harris Theater)

This film is about innovative sculptor Louise Bourgeois, who has over six decades of work in her portfolio. Her thought-provoking art is even featured here in Pittsburgh (see photo at left).

Bourgeois was the first woman to have a retrospective of her work shown at the Museum of Modern Art. Take a walk with the artist and filmmaker/art critic Amei Wallach as they explore the imagination and process behind the art. Don’t miss a film the New York Times calls “uncommonly elegant and evocative”. Amei Wallach is scheduled to attend.

My Tale of Two Cities
(7:30 pm Fri, Nov. 7–Melwood Screening Room)
We’ve all come to a point in our lives when it seems absolutely necessary to leave home in order to be successful and pursue our dreams. In this story about coming home after a prolonged (and successful) absence, Carl Kurlander searches for meaning in his hometown of Pittsburgh, a city that is in the process of reinventing itself. Join Kurlander (writer and producer of such works as St. Elmo’s Fire and Saved by the Bell) as he tries to find out what the city needs to do to transform.


Call for volunteers! (repost)

November 4, 2008

Before I continue with my special event teasers, I thought I would pass this along. We’re expecting a great turnout this year and in light of having so many viewers, we’re in need of volunteers! The Pittsburgh Filmmakers staff will be there as well as myself and the other interns, but even though we are a mighty bunch, we are small (and only slightly stressed 😦 ). Your help would mean a great deal to us! 🙂

With that, I’ll leave you with the special message from our volunteer coordinator:

Are you interested in the film industry? Want to meet people in your field while having a great time? Now is your chance!

Pittsburgh Filmmakers and the Three Rivers Film Festival need your help! We are currently looking for dedicated and responsible volunteers to help with this year’s film festival. Opportunities are available in special events, Will Call management, sales, and marketing research!

The Three Rivers Film Festival runs from Nov. 7-22. Positions are still open for the entire festival.

As part of the perks for working with us, you will gain free access to many of our movies and get the chance to meet some of the producers and leaders in the field!

If you would like any more information, please visit the festival’s website.

To help out, please email Thank you and we look forward to working with you!