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Wilkinsburg native producing star-studded 'Sibling' in Pittsburgh

With three Pittsburgh films currently in theaters, a sibling rivalry could be forming.

"Sibling," a horror movie being filmed almost exclusively at the former Knoxville Middle School, started shooting last week. It stars Michael Clarke Duncan ("The Island," "Planet of the Apes," "The Green Mile"), Mischa Barton ("The O.C." television series, "The Sixth Sense") and Devon Sawa ("Nikita" television series, "Final Destination").

Duncan, who arrived Monday in Pittsburgh, plays a principal. Barton is a guidance counselor, and Sawa is a local police officer. They both arrived last week.

"It's sort of a whodunit," said producer Brian Hartman, a Wilkinsburg native who moved back to Pittsburgh to make films after working in Los Angeles.

"Sibling" is Hartman's 10th producer credit and third project to be shot in the area in the past year. The others were "Riddle," starring Val Kilmer and directed by local filmmakers Nick Mross and John Hartman, and "Mafia," with Ving Rhames and Pam Grier. Both of those films are expected to be released next year, the same as "Sibling," Brian Hartman said.

Directing "Sibling" is Matt Orlando. Joining Hartman as producers are Phillip Glasser and Aaron Levin. Amanda McBride is co-producer.

Hartman came back to Pittsburgh to make "The Bridge to Nowhere" in 2008, because he thought the script fit the city. Pittsburgh's film industry has boomed recently, with recent major motion picture releases such as "Unstoppable," "The Next Three Days" and "Love & Other Drugs."

"I came back when it started to get busy here," said Hartman, 43, of Collier. "Now, it's like a dream come true."

Pittsburgh offers things that make filmmaking easy, including a film-friendly environment and an existing film-crew infrastructure, Hartman said.

And projects such as "Sibling" help sustain the local film industry, said Dawn Keezer, executive director of the Pittsburgh Film Office.

"All film projects are important to the local film industry," Keezer said. "It keeps everyone working and helps to train the newer members of our film crew."

And that is good news for Pittsburgh Filmmakers/Pittsburgh Center for the Arts, said executive director Charlie Humphrey.

"First, it means jobs for students, faculty and members," he said, "and second, it raises awareness about filmmaking as an art form."

Soon to join "Sibling" will be the production of "Locke and Key," a Fox television pilot to start filming early next year.

"Silbing" will wrap filming around Christmas, with about 20 shooting days total, Hartman said.

The producers plan to sell the movie in May at France's Cannes International Film Festival.

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