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Made-in-Pittsburgh reality TV series finds a home on Starz

| Thursday, April 10, 2014, 3:27 p.m.
Sarah Cunningham | Point Park University
Anna Martemucci (far right) with cast and crew on the set of “Hollidaysburg,” one of two films that will be featured in the documentary 'The Chair.'
Sarah Cunningham | Point Park University
Zachary Quinto and Neal Dodson, executive producers of “The Chair,” at Point Park University to discuss “The Creative Side of Filmmaking: Building a Lasting Career” earlier this year.

The made-in-Pittsburgh reality TV series about making movies, “The Chair,” has a home on the Starz network, starting this fall. It will be the first unscripted television show for the channel, which has had some success with scripted shows like “Party Down” and “Spartacus.”

“The Chair” chose two young filmmakers, Anna Martemucci and YouTube star Shane Dawson, to both make their own movies, based on the same screenplay. They were given access to the same resources, same budget and the same city (Pittsburgh) to shoot in. The series follows both filmmakers as they assemble their movies. Audiences will vote for their favorite, deciding which director wins the $250,000 prize. Both filmmakers' films will eventually screen in theaters as well.

“The Chair” was created by Chris Moore, executive producer of “Good Will Hunting” and the similar-themed “Project Greenlight.” The show also will feature actor Zachary Quinto, who is helping produce “The Chair” with his partners Corey Moosa, Neal Dodson and Sean Akers. Quinto graduated from Central Catholic High School and Carnegie Mellon University. He has played “Spock” in the recent “Star Trek” films and starred on TV in “24” and “Heroes.” His production company, Before the Door Pictures, produced the Academy Award-nominated film, “Margin Call,” in which Quinto also starred, and last year's critically acclaimed film, “All is Lost,” starring Robert Redford.

Dawson is currently one of the biggest stars on YouTube as a result of his comedy channel. He recently sold a half-hour sitcom based on his life to NBC. Martemucci is a writer, actress and producer.

The Steeltown Entertainment Project played an essential part in bringing the project to Pittsburgh, and Point Park University students provided much of the crew.

Shooting in Pittsburgh wrapped up in March. The script is a coming-of-age comedy called “How Soon is Now.”

Mike Machosky is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7901 or mmachosky@tribweb.com.

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