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Film festival lineup announced

| Thursday, July 31, 2003

PITTSBURGH: The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust and Pittsburgh Filmmakers announce the 2003 Summer Film Series Featuring Films with The Pittsburgh Connection. This year's edition of the annual series commemorates the city of Pittsburgh and Pittsburgh-related actors, writers, directors and producers, and includes a broad array of Pittsburgh talent--from Singin' in the Rain starring native Pittsburgher Gene Kelly to award-winning Chicago , directed by Squirrel Hill native Rob Marshall.

Films will be shown at the fully air-conditioned Byham Theater, which boasts one of the largest movie screens in the tri-state area, every Thursday to Sunday throughout August.

"Focusing on Pittsburgh-themed films is a great way to let the public see how remarkable our city is and the kind of talent so many famous Pittsburghers possess," says President and CEO of The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust J. Kevin McMahon. "These special screenings will attract diverse audiences of all ages to the heart of the Cultural District, bringing different communities together to celebrate Pittsburgh."

"We're especially excited to share with Pittsburghers the history behind these noteworthy films by adding an educational component to an already enjoyable event," Gary Kaboly, director of programming for the Pittsburgh Filmmakers, said. "The added dimension renders the film-screening experience unique; it's unlike seeing a film at an ordinary movie theater."

He said Lucy Fischer, director of the University of Pittsburgh's Film Studies Program and visiting professor Carl Kurlander are among the speakers who will introduce films, describing the relevance of Pittsburgh to individual movies. Local filmmakers Melissa Martin and Adrienne Wehr will introduce their feature, the popular The Bread, My Sweet. Other additions to the Summer Film Series include special events planned by the organization Pitt in Hollywood

"The Film Series will be a great source of Pittsburgh pride, " says Kurlander, who recently returned to Pittsburgh after working in Hollywood as a screenwriter ( St. Elmo's Fire ) and TV writer/producer ( Saved by the Bell ) for the last twenty years. "Not many people know the rich film history of Pittsburgh that includes the nation's first nickelodeon, built here by John P. Harris, which actually inspired the Warner Brothers to open their first exhibition house in New Castle. We hope the series will show how Pittsburgh is in fact Hollywood's best kept secret and the birthplace of the movie industry."

Films will be shown Thursday through Sunday from Aug. 1-31. Thursday evenings will feature movies filmed in Pittsburgh, Friday nights and double features on Saturdays will highlight films that include special links to Pittsburgh, and Sundays will offer family-friendly matinees with Pittsburgh connections.

General admission seats are $6 for adults and $3 for children under 12, students with I.D., and senior citizens over 65. Members of Pittsburgh Filmmakers receive $1 off regular admission. Passes for the entire series are available for $25 (valued over $100) at the Benedum Center Box office. Individual tickets will be available at the Byham Theater Box Office one hour before show time. General admission fee includes admission to both shows during a Saturday double feature. No child under 17 will be admitted to an R-rated film without a guardian.

The 2003 summer film series lineup includes:

  • Friday, Aug. 1 - "Chicago" (PG-13; original release), 7:30 p.m. Squirrel Hill native Rob Marshall won an Oscar last year for Best Direction.

  • Saturday, Aug. 2 - "To Have and Have Not" (N/R), 7:30 p.m.; "Maltese Falcon" (N/R). The nation's first nickelodeon on Smithfield Street inspired Warner Brothers (the studio behind these two classics) to open their first exhibition house in New Castle.

  • Sunday, Aug. 3 - "Anastasia" (G), 3 p.m. Composer and Dormont native Stephen Flaherty earned Oscar nominations for his work on Anastasia , including Best Song ("Journey To The Past").

  • Thursday, Aug. 7 - "Flashdance" (R), 7:30 p.m. Shot on location here in Pittsburgh, Flashdance features local theater luminary, the late Don Brockett.

  • Friday, Aug. 8 - "Gone With the Wind" (G), 7:30 p.m. Born in Pittsburgh, producer David O. Selznik went on to become a Hollywood legend.

  • Saturday, Aug. 9 - "Animal House" (R), 7:30 p.m.; "Dogma" (R). Jamie Widdoes ("Hoover") is a native of Pittsburgh, and now a successful television comedy director in Hollywood. Dogma was shot all around Pittsburgh, but none of the locations is identified as Pittsburgh.

  • Sunday, Aug. 10 - "Singin' in the Rain" (G), 3 p.m. A graduate of Peabody High School, Gene Kelly taught dance with his brother, Fred, to local students.

  • Thursday, Aug. 14 "Silence of the Lambs" (R), 7:30 p.m. Filmed largely in Pittsburgh, Silence of the Lambs became the third movie in film history to sweep the top five Oscars.

  • Friday, Aug. 15 - "St. Elmo's Fire" (R), 7:30 p.m. St. Elmo's Fire screenwriter Carl Kurlander is a native of Pittsburgh who based the script on a short story about a Winchester Thurston girl he once loved.

  • Saturday, Aug. 16 - "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington" (N/R), 7:30 p.m.; "Vertigo" (PG). Oscar winner Jimmy Stewart grew up in Indiana, Pa.

  • Sunday, Aug. 17 - "Ice Age" (PG), 3 p.m. Pittsburgh native and Shady Side Academy graduate Peter Ackerman co-wrote the screenplay, and Pittsburgh-based Rusted Root produced part of the soundtrack.

  • Thursday, Aug. 21 - "The Bread, My Sweet" (N/R), 7:30 p.m. Local filmmakers Melissa Martin and Adrienne Wehr set The Bread, My Sweet at Enrico Biscotti in the Strip District.

  • Friday, Aug. 22 - "Amadeus" (PG), 7:30 p.m. Oscar winner and Pittsburgh-born F. Murray Abraham played composer Antonio Salieri who seethed with envy at the genius of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

  • Saturday, Aug. 23 - "Scary Movie" (R), 7:30 p.m.; "Dumb and Dumber" (PG-13). This double feature celebrates Pittsburgh native Eric Gold who has overseen the career of the Wayans, served as producer of Scary Movie , and is one of the biggest managers in Hollywood, shaping the careers of stars including Jim Carrey of Dumb and Dumber .

  • Sunday, Aug. 24 - "The Music Man" (G), 3 p.m. Shirley Jones is a native of Smithton, Pennsylvania, and was Miss Pittsburgh 1952.

  • Thursday, Aug. 28 - "Mrs. Soffel" (PG-13), 7:30 p.m. Set in H.H. Richardson's Allegheny County Jail, Mrs. Soffel depicts actual historical events and was shot entirely in and around Pittsburgh.

  • Friday, Aug. 29 - "Stop Making Sense" (N/R), 7:30 p.m. Talking Heads drummer Chris Frantz is a native Pittsburgher and graduate of Shady Side Academy.

  • Saturday, Aug. 30 - "Breakfast at Tiffany's" (N/R), 7:30 p.m.; "Boys on the Side" (R). Originally from Aliquippa, Henry Mancini, the composer of the haunting ballad Moon River , was a four-time Oscar winner. Boys on the Side includes crucial scenes shot in Pittsburgh. Look out for the long lost Conley Motor Inn on Route 22 in Wilkins Township.

  • Sunday, Aug. 31 - " Jurassic Park" (PG-13), 3 p.m. Actor Jeff Goldblum, who plays a mathematician in Jurassic Park , grew up in Homestead.

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