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Film Office party attendees say Pittsburgh is photogenic

Feb. 7

Hearts & Hope — Girls Hope

Whim nightclub, Station Square

Feb. 8

Lunar New Year Banquet — Organization of Chinese Americans

Shriners Center, Harmar

Absolute Sock Hop — Dreams of Hope

Rodef Shalom Synagogue, Oakland

The Winter Gala — Community Day School

Omni William Penn, Downtown

Autism Connection of PA Gala

Phipps Conservatory, Oakland

Sunday, Feb. 2, 2014, 9:00 p.m.

By and large, the most talked-about celebrity during the Pittsburgh Film Office's “So You Want to Be in Pictures?” party was the city itself.

“It's an exciting time. Pittsburgh is on the map in terms of feature films,” said Lucas Piatt. “You mix the culture, the architecture and the people, and it's a no-brainer.”

The event, at J. Verno Studios on Jan. 31, is held annually as a pre-game to the film office's Lights! Glamour! Action! Oscar-night party. Heavy hitters — including Pittsburgh Film Office director Dawn Keezer, board chair Russ Streiner, honorary chairs Deb Rice-Johnson and her husband, Blair Johnson, County Executive Rich Fitzgerald, Deb Docherty, Donna Belajac, David and Katy Caliguiri, Tara Rieland, and Sandy and Jeffrey Witte — mingled during the VIP hour. Expecting a crowd of 400-plus, the valet line outside around 8 p.m. indicated that the swell of ticket-holders would be arriving fashionably late.

“You so rarely get the opportunity to get glamorous in Pittsburgh, and this is one of those opportunities,” said Eileen French, who arrived with Patrick Jordan.

Apart from the requisite mix and mingle, guests were being lured behind the scenes for some one-on-one camera time of their own, reciting lines from well-known movies that would then be played for all to see during the Oscar-night party on March 2.

Now in its 15th year, the evening marked the event's biggest pull to date in terms of sponsorships.

“It'll probably keep going for 50 years,” said Emilio Cornacchione. “It's only going to get bigger and better.”

Kate Benz is the social columnist for Trib Total Media and can be reached at or 412-380-8515.




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