Pittsburgh Filmmakers Announces January Programming

For Immediate Release

December 27, 2011

Contact: Carol O'Sullivan


Pittsburgh Filmmakers Announces January Programming

(Pittsburgh, PA) – The following are descriptions of Pittsburgh Filmmakers Film Exhibition program for January 2012. The films are screened at Harris Theater, 809 Liberty Avenue (Downtown), the Melwood Screening Room, 477 Melwood Avenue (in North Oakland) and the Regent Square Theater, 1035 S. Braddock Avenue (in Edgewood). For admission prices and current showtimes call 412-682-4111. All titles and dates are subject to change, due to film availability.


The Harris Theater – 809 Liberty Ave.

Jan 1 - 8: Being Elmo: A Puppeteer's Journey

Millions of kids tune in to Sesame Street everyday to see a furry red monster named Elmo. Yet the man behind the Muppet is able to walk down the street without being recognized. Meet Kevin Clash. As an average teenager, who grew up in Baltimore in the 70s, Kevin always wanted to be part of Jim Henson’s team of Muppeteers. With a supportive family behind him every step of the way, Kevin made those dreams come true. Combining archival footage with new material, his amazing story is told in vivid detail, chronicling the meteoric rise of Henson’s Muppets in the process. A magical film. (Constance Marks; USA; 2011; 76 min)

Three Top Docs

These exceptional docs were recently “short-listed” by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. An honor in and of itself, this is a list of titles from which five will be nominated for Best Documentary Oscar.


Jan 9 - 12: We Were Here

"An extraordinarily moving, beautifully edited documentary.” - NY Times

It was called the “gay plague” in the early 80s. In this historical account the filmmakers focus on individuals whose lives changed in unimaginable ways – caregivers, activists, researchers, friends and lovers of the afflicted, and those with AIDS – as they share their stories. This uplifting film speaks to our capacity as humans to rise to the occasion, and to the power of a community coming together with compassion and support. (David Weissman, Bill Weber; 2011; 90 min)


Jan 13 - 15: Battle for Brooklyn

A gripping David and Goliath story, it was an audience favorite from the Three Rivers Film Festival. No matter your opinion about eminent domain, historic preservation, or public dollars going to support private development, you'll love this story about fighting for what you believe in. While it could be about any city where individuals raise their voice against the wrecking ball, this film covers the very public and passionate fight waged by owners and residents facing condemnation of their property to make way for the controversial Atlantic Yards project, a massive plan to build skyscrapers and a basketball arena in the heart of Brooklyn. (Suki Hawley, Michael Galinsky; 2011; 93 min)


Jan. 16 – 19: Semper Fi: Always Faithful

This searing environmental exposé centers on Master Sergeant Jerry Ensminger, who devoted nearly 25 years to the US Marine Corps, and his quest for truth into the death of his nine-year-old daughter. Following their motto “Always Faithful” as a way of life, Ensminger would make a shocking discovery: the organization to which he had pledged his loyalty was responsible for one of the largest water contamination incidents in US history. Ensminger’s mission was to make the Marine Corps live up to its own motto and be accountable for exposing thousands of soldiers and their families to carcinogens. (Rachel Libert, Tony Harmon; USA; 2011; 73 min)


Jan. 20 - 26: Tomboy

This charming coming-of-age tale features an astonishing performance from young Zoé Héran as the title character, a 10-year-old girl who convinces her new friends that she's a boy. She and her family have just moved to a new neighborhood, where she wins admirers for her soccer skills. But how long can she keep her secret? Touching, funny and heartbreaking, Tomboy explores questions of gender and identity with great warmth and insight. With subtitles. (Céline Sciamma; France; 2011; 82 min)


Regent Square Theater – 1035 South Braddock Ave

Thru Jan. 12: Take Shelter

Two amazing actors, Michael Shannon (Boardwalk Empire, Revolutionary Road) and Jessica Chastain (The Help, Tree of Life) star in this brooding, atmospheric drama set in rural Ohio, about a young family with a deaf six-year old. Though money is tight, Curtis and Samantha are in love and happy. Then Curtis begins having terrifying dreams about an encroaching, apocalyptic storm. He chooses to keep this to himself, channeling his anxiety into the obsessive building of a storm shelter in their backyard. The resulting strain on his marriage, and tension within the community, doesn't compare to his private fear of what his dreams might signify. The brilliant performances in this thriller are earning award nominations and making year-end critics' lists. (Jeff Nichols; USA; 2011; 120 min)


Opens Jan. 13: The Mill and The Cross

“Visually ravishing!..a unique, immersive museum-meets-cinema experience.” – Variety

The highly imaginative Polish filmmaker Lech Majewski finds a perfect subject in the famous Flemish painting, The Way to Calvary, from 1564. He uses a combination of location shooting, green-screen techniques, and a vast matte backdrop he painted himself. He also re-staged the painting, magnifying each cluster of characters and elaborating on their stories. The end result is just as awe-inspiring as the original work by painter Pieter Bruegel, which depicts the crucifixion of Christ. And it just may be the closest a film has ever gotten to becoming a painting. Stars Charlotte Rampling, Rutger Hauer and Michael York. In English. (Lech Majewski; Poland/Sweden; 2011; 91 min)


Opens Jan. 20: Le Havre

“No other contemporary filmmaker manages to blend deadpan, ironic humor with social commentary in quite the same manner as Finnish master Aki Kaurismäki. In Le Havre, the moody, retro ambiance of the French port city enhances a tidy plot that blends the noir-ish elements of a Jean-Pierre Melville film with the gentle humanism of Jean Renoir at his best”- Piers Handling, Toronto International Film Festival. The story follows an elderly bohemian couple who find themselves harboring an African boy – an illegal immigrant. When a tenacious local police inspector becomes suspicious, a cat-and-mouse game ensues. Insightful, ironic, relevant and funny. With subtitles. (Aki Kaurismäki; Finland/France; 2011; 93 min)



Sunday Night Series:Beautiful Black & White: Art Cinema Classics

Tired of all the computer-generated effects in the current crop of movies? Enjoy these gorgeous black & white classics on the Big Screen. They helped shape the concept of cinema as art.


Jan 1: The Seventh Seal

What better way to start the new year than to watch Max Von Sydow attempt to cheat Death in a game of chess! This film vaulted Bergman to the top tier of international directors. Set during the Middle Ages it begins with a knight who's returning home from the Crusades, and its beautiful, haunting images are some of the most famous in the history of cinema. With subtitles. (Ingmar Bergman; Sweden; 1957; 96 min)


Jan 8: Diabolique

Before Psycho, Peeping Tom, and Repulsion, there was Diabolique.

This French thriller is the story of two women – the fragile wife and the willful mistress of a sadistic headmaster of a boys’ boarding school – who hatch a daring revenge plot. With unprecedented narrative twists and some terrifying images, Diabolique still grabs the audience. With subtitles. (Henri-Georges Clouzot; France; 1955; 114 min)


Jan 15: Jules and Jim

Truffaut’s poignant love story traces a ménage-a-trois over the course of many years. Arguably the most influential French New Wave film, it’s also an allegory for the fractured state of Europe between the wars. Stars Jeanne Moreau as the manipulative and coveted Catherine. “There is joy in the filmmaking that feels fresh today...” -Roger Ebert. With subtitles. (Francois Truffaut; 1962; France; 105 min)


Jan 22: The Third Man

Starring Joseph Cotton and Orson Welles, this classic British noir follows pulp writer Holly Martins as he travels to shadowy, postwar Vienna to investigate the mysterious death of an old friend, black-market opportunist Harry Lime. A brilliant and suspenseful tale of deception and murder, it features a wonderful zither score, razor-sharp dialogue, and Oscar-winning noir-drenched cinematography. (Carol Reed; UK; 1949; 104 min)  


Jan 29: Women in the Dunes

An entomologist has been collecting beetles on the dunes all day. At sunset he's lowered into a sand pit where he's surprised to find a woman who's been living there. When he is ready to leave the next morning, he cannot get out. This moody, existential film won the Special Grand Jury Prize at Cannes the year of its release, and nominations for both Best Foreign Film and Best Director at the Oscars. With subtitles. (Hiroshi Teshigahara; Japan; 1964; 123 min)

Melwood Screening Room – 477 Melwood Ave.


Jan 10: Film Kitchen

Held the second Tuesday of every month, this series highlights regional, independently-made short films and videos.  Reception at 7:00; films at 8:00.  Co-sponsored by the Spak Brothers Pizza and Mellinger's Beer Distributer.


Jan 12: Women On the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown

Though Almodovar's over-the-top characters are evident in this dark comedy – almost a quarter of a century old – at its heart it's a slamming-door farce in the grand theatrical tradition. Distraught over being dumped by her lover, Pepa (Carmen Maura) puts sleeping pills into her gazpacho. But she gets distracted by her best friend who's in trouble and needs a place to stay. In the midst of the chaos, her ex-lover's son (Antonio Banderas) comes to visit with his fiance. With subtitles. (Pedro Almodovar; Spain; 1988; 90 min) Informal discussion after the film. Co-presented with PittArts.