Essential Pittsburgh
2:43 pm
Fri January 9, 2015

"The Search for General Tso": The Origin Story of General Tso's Chicken

Credit Ginny / Flickr

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.”

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Essential Pittsburgh
4:11 pm
Mon November 3, 2014

Documentary 'Life in a Walk' Follows Pitt Alum Yogi Roth and his Ailing Father

Credit Life in a Walk / Facebook

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.

When his Dad developed prostate cancer, the two of them decided to take a three-week walk through Portugal and Spain. Yogi joins us to discuss the trip and his documentary.

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Essential Pittsburgh
4:16 pm
Fri September 5, 2014

No No: A Dockumentary Comes to the Harris Theater

Movie poster for No No, which premieres Friday, September 5th at the Harris Theater downtown.
Credit No No: A Dockumentary

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.

Essential Pittsburgh
5:02 pm
Fri June 20, 2014

Reporters Promote Fracking Film by Setting Out on a Gasoline Free Road Trip

Public Herald founders Joshua Pribanic and Melissa Troutman with a TESLA Model S. The two embark on a national tour of their documentary “Triple Divide” about fracking on June 21st. With TESLA’s Supercharger network they’ll cross the country using zero gasoline.
Credit Tod J Xelowski / Public Herald

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.

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Essential Pittsburgh
5:36 pm
Wed March 26, 2014

Pittsburgh Filmmakers Get Caught Up in Ukraine-Russian Conflict

Animal Media Group

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."

Hoover wrote about the experience for Vice Media and included video of the attack taken by a bystander in the crowd:

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3:30 am
Thu March 6, 2014

Film Explores Lack of Elected Female Leadership in the US

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.?.

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Essential Pittsburgh
4:30 pm
Mon January 27, 2014

Not My Life: A Documentary of Slavery in the Modern World

A scene from the documentary about slavery in the modern world titled, Not My Life.
Credit Not My Life / Facebook

Earlier Robert Bilheimer tackled the international spread of AIDS in a well-received documentary.  In his new film, Not My Life,  he takes on human trafficking.

Shot in a dozen countries on five continents, the film looks at a world where children are exploited daily through forced labor, domestic servitude, begging and sexual violence.

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Essential Pittsburgh
2:23 pm
Fri November 15, 2013

Robert Reich Discusses Wealth Gap & the Film Inequality for All

Robert Reich discusses the problems and possible changes that can be made to create widespread prosperity in America.
Credit Inequality for All Film / Facebook

The number of Pittsburgh residents living at or below the poverty level has increased nearly 9% since the fall of 2007, according to the Urban Institute

The documentary, Inequality for All, focuses on the fact that one half of all Americans have zero wealth, no savings, no assets that outweigh their debts, no retirement savings or investments.

The film grew out of the economic lectures of former U.S. Secretary of Labor Robert Reich at the University of California at Berkeley.

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Essential Pittsburgh
2:29 pm
Tue November 12, 2013

Blood Brother Comes Back to Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh native Rocky Braat is known as Rocky Anna by the orphans he lives with in India, Anna is a term of endearment meaning big brother.
Credit Blood Brother Film

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.

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Essential Pittsburgh
2:10 pm
Mon November 11, 2013

What Makes a Child a Gold Star Child?

Gold Star Children, was founded in 2008 to raise awareness about American child survivors whose mothers or fathers were killed or died while serving in the US military.
Credit Gold Star Children

An estimated five-thousand American children have lost a parent to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq since 2001.

Children who have lost a parent to war are the subject of the documentary Gold Star Children: Two Generations Sharing Loss and Healing, premiering today on the Pentagon channel.

The film’s writer, producer and director Mitty Griffis Mirrer, is a gold star child. Mirrer says the documentary is about helping the current group of gold star children.

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Arts & Culture
4:19 pm
Mon July 22, 2013

'Made in America Movie' Documentary Reaching Pittsburgh

  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. 

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Essential Pittsburgh
3:47 pm
Mon July 22, 2013

American Made Movie Reminds Country of Manufacturing Roots

Credit Daniel Horowitz / Life is My Movie Entertainment Co.

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.

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