Film

Film Censorship in Pittsburgh: A History

Jan 23, 2015
Wisconsin Center for Film and Theater Research / Wikipedia

Last month the motion picture "The Interview," garnered headlines due to terroristic threats. This led Sony pictures to withhold the movie's release. The saga of "The Interview" is the latest story in the history of film censorship. A legacy with ties to Pittsburgh as pop culture contributor Joe Wos explains.

"The Interview" might be a recent example of self-censorship, but the film industry has a long history of both bowing to government pressures and constructing its own rules and standards. According to Wos, this can be traced back to the premiere of the controversial film "The Birth of a Nation" in 1915. Wos says Pennsylvania was on the forefront of the film censorship movement.

Pittsburgh’s newest film studio is open for business – sort of.

Studio C, located in a 120,000-square-foot facility in Robinson, opened its doors to location scouts and studio representatives Monday as part of a soft opening, according to Cyndi Casteel, vice president of business development.

The studio won’t be open to the public for at least another week due to construction, but Casteel said the preliminary opening gives scouts a chance to plan their schedules for the upcoming year.

Does Pennsylvania's Film Credit Cap Limit Local Industry?

Sep 5, 2014
Joel Hay / Flickr

Film production in Pennsylvania, and the Pittsburgh area in particular is an important economic driver.

The Pittsburgh Film Office has reported more than $100 million brought into the region each year, for the past 4 years.

10 years ago, Pennsylvania was at the forefront of the film industry tax incentive program, which has made the commonwealth a more enticing place to shoot movies and TV shows.

But with annual limits to the tax credits available, how competitive does the region remain? Dawn Keezer, Director of the Pittsburgh Film Office joins us to talk about the state of movie production in the region. 

Entire Warhol Film Collection To Be Digitized

Aug 15, 2014

Pop artist Andy Warhol is famous for his Campbell’s Soup and colorful Marilyn Monroe screen prints. However, many do not realize Warhol also directed and shot hundreds of films and videos over a decade-long period.

The Andy Warhol Museum (The Warhol) is partnering with the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) and digital effects company MPC to restore and digitize almost 600 films made by Warhol, many of which have never been seen by the public.

Row House Cinema / Facebook

For generations theaters have been an important part of thriving cities and towns across the country. In recent years more people are seeing how theaters can be an economic engine of development.

The Conclave Theater tour is held every year in a different city. This year Pittsburgh hosts the tour, showcasing the region's contributions to theatrical architecture.

Blumenthal: The Story of Harold Blumenthal

Apr 2, 2014
Blumenthalmovie.com

The film Blumenthal is a comedy that follows the relatives of Harold Blumenthal, a legendary playwright who made his career parodying his family in his work, and died laughing at his own joke.

The film was developed and produced by Carnegie Mellon University graduate Alexander Cendese who also co-stars in the movie. It was written and directed by fellow Carnegie Mellon University graduate Seth Fisher.

Kyle Huff / flickr

From film festivals, to movies and TV shows, Pittsburgh has become one of Hollywood's leading locations for motion picture and television production.

This week contributor Rebecca Harris looked at the business of filmmaking in the Steel City.

Pittsburgh has a variety of organizations that help bring Hollywood the the city, which are listed below. These organizations work with different groups and people in the community to make it possible for films and television shows to come to life in Pittsburgh.

The Chair: One Movie Script, One City, Two Directors

Feb 18, 2014
Brook Ward / flickr

One feature film, two directors, a pool of equal resources and the city of Pittsburgh.

This is the premise of a new documentary series titled The Chair starting production this month.

Chris Moore, creator of Project Greenlight and producer of movies such as Good Will Hunting and Promised Land, developed the idea for the series.

Moore has reached out to directors Shane Dawson and Anna Martemucci to see what direction a single production can take under different directors

Keith Reimink / No Horizon

When Keith Reimink graduated from film school in New York City it was just a year after 9/11, and there was no film work to be found anywhere in the city.

His solution? Get as far away as possible and work as a cook in the interior of Alaska. This job spawned fifteen years of cooking and traveling.

Reimink's travels eventually lead him to the South Pole in 2009 and resulted in the self-directed, self-funded documentary No Horizon Anymore: A Year Long Journey at the Bottom of the World

Tom Savini Master of Special Effects Make-Up

Oct 31, 2013
Tom Savini / Savini.com

Celebrated as the "King of Splatter" and "Wizard of Gore," Tom Savini is a legendary special effects makeup artist who has worked on dozens of films from Dawn of the Dead to Friday the 13th.

Now he passes along his passion with his Special Effects Make-up Program at Douglas Education Center in Monessen, PA.

The Bloomfield native recounts his early horror movie influences, his relationship and work with George Romero, and how his experiences in Vietnam shaped his work as an artist.

Brian Albright / Regional Horror Films

Low-budget horror and sci-fi films terrify and entertain audiences despite their anti-Hollywood feel.

Author Brian Albright documented the best and worst of these flicks as well as their shooting locations in his book Regional Horror Films, 1958- 1990: A State-by-State Guide with Interviews. He says many of the films were crafted by producers without extensive horror movie experience.

“Their take is a lot more interesting with a lot more melodrama,” he explains, specifically in reference to The Blob.

Celebrating Hilarious Forgotten VHS Moments

Oct 23, 2013
yeswekern / flickr

With the rise of DVDs and BluRay, the American population disposed of their useless VHS tapes en masse, and dropped them off at Salvation Army and Goodwill thrift stores everywhere.

To Found Footage Festival curators Nick Prueher and Joe Pickett, the tapes are a comedic gold mine. They are providing people everywhere with videos and laughs that can’t be found anywhere else.

Old School Media & Modern Muckraking on Film

Aug 30, 2013
RKO/Turner Entertainment / Wikipedia

Sunday, September 1st kicks off a month long media focused film series sponsored by Pittsburgh Filmmakers and PublicSource.  Pittsburgh City Paper’s Film Critic, Al Hoff says the series brings classic investigative journalism back into the spotlight with films that demonstrate, “news gathering, how media works and how media is a cultural force across decades.”

The series begins with Citizen Kane, a film that is often considered the greatest movie of all time, followed by His Girl Friday starring Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell, Ace in the Hole with Kirk Douglas, Medium Cool directed by Haskell Wexler.

The 2-Minute Film Festival returns to the Carnegie Museum of Art this summer with a child-like image.

This year’s theme, “At Play,” encourages applicants to test boundaries, take risks and bring out their childhood creativity.

The 2-Minute Film Festival showcases more than 30 of the best two-minute movies submitted by people from around the country. Judges are looking for the briefest films that best capture the idea of play. Each movie shown at the festival is eligible for the People’s Choice and Juror’s Choice awards.

31 Street Studios / Facebook

In recent years the number of movies shot in Pittsburgh has some people calling us "Hollywood East."  However, it appears the city and state have become victims of their own success.

Filmmakers have gravitated to Pittsburgh over the years for a number of reasons, including affordability. But Pennsylvania's current tax credit allotment is capped at $60 million a year.  That money dries up quickly in the film industry. So how can Pennsylvania keep up with states like Louisiana, and Georgia, which have no tax credit limit? And what more can be done to lure film and television production to the state?

Guest

Chris Breakwell CEO of 31st Street Studios.

Game Changers Project

 

"Black Men on a Hero's Journey."

Armed with cameras as weapons, 10 black men are chosen each year for the Game Changers Project, a fellowship which highlights positive black male images in the media by promoting some of America's emerging documentary film leaders.  And many of those leaders come from Pittsburgh.