Pop Filter Hot Pick: 31st annual Three Rivers Film Festival kicks off Nov. 2nd
The site of the country's first nickelodeon, a breeding ground for experimental cinema during the 1970s, a 21st-century Gotham. With countless feature films, indie flicks and TV shows, being filmed on local turf, Pittsburgh's past and present is inextricably linked to the moving image. But did you also know the city is home to the oldest and largest film festival in western Pennsylvania?
So where to see the best films locally? Thanks to the Three Rivers Film Festival (3RFF)
, you don't have to trek to Park City to experience some of cinema's top new documentaries, critically acclaimed international titles, compelling shorts, and restored classics.
For its 31st annual installment
, the much lauded festival is back with more than 55 films lighting up three city theaters, including premieres, visiting filmmakers, discussion programs, live scores, and not one but three not-to-be-missed opening parties. So for the next 16 days, take a seat for films that span riveting documentary subjects, global boundaries, experimental cinema practices, and homegrown regional projects.
Much more than movies on a screen, 3RFF brings the art and craft of cinema to life, with a robust roster of concurrent programming and festive receptions which will animate Pittsburgh Filmmakers' three venues: Melwood Screening Room, the Harris Theater and Regent Square Theater. Presented by Pittsburgh Filmmakers and Dollar Bank, 3RFF runs Nov. 2nd through Nov. 17th.
New this year are mulitple opening night screenings--with separate receptions--at each participating venue on Nov. 2nd. The films begin at 7:30, with receptions following the screenings.
In the East End, Regent Square Theater will feature a sneak preview of Silver Linings Playbook
, a comedy starring Bradley Cooper, Robert DeNiro, Julia Stiles and Jennifer Lawrence. Downtown at The Harris Theater is Rust and Bone
, a 2012 French romantic drama starring Marion Cotillard (The Dark Knight Rises
, Midnight in Paris
) and Matthias Schoenaerts (Bullhead
) that's already generating Oscar buzz.
Music fans will want to head to Melwood Screening Room in Oakland to see Beware of Mr. Baker
. Winner of the SxSW Grand Jury Prize for Best Documentary, the film profiles rock and roll icon Ginger Baker of (Cream and Blind Faith)--widely considered to be one of the greatest drummers in music history--and features interviews with Eric Clapton, Steve Winwood, Johnny Rotten, Charlie Watts, and Carlos Santana. Directed by Jay Bulger, the film follows Baker's groundbreaking musical accomplishments, as he treks to Nigeria to immerse himself in the Afrobeat sounds of Fela Kuti, descends into drug-induced self-destruction, and eventually settles down in South Africa.
Screen scene: reel highlights
This year's highlights include standouts within independent American cinema, sneak peeks of top fall releases, fresh off the cutting room floor documentaries, restored classics, innovaive shorts, sidebar showcases, critically-acclaimed international films, and live music events.
"This year, we have even more American independent films. Ech year's festival is a concentration of out year-round programming," says Gary Kaboly with PIttsburgh Filmmakers, who hopes that more than 8,000 people will attend this year's festival.
For fans of foreign films, 3RFF is your hot ticket. Five of this year's international films are already Foreign Language Oscar Entries, and are not to be missed: Barbara
(Germany); Caesar Must Die
(Italy); Clandestine Childhood
(Argentina); 80 Million
If you love a moving coming-of-age story, 3RFF has you covered with five engaging films from the genre. Long a staple theme in modern movies, coming-of-age stories are chronicled today by a new crop of emerging talents, including gifted young actors and directors, in such films as: Clandestine Childhood
(Argentina), Ginger & Rosa
(South Africa), and Sister
The festival is once again teaming up with The Polish Cultural Council to bring a selection of films to the public. Leading Polish films featured this year include four new releases and one restored classic: Rose
(Wojciech Smarzowski, 2011), 80 Million (
Waldemar Krzysteck, 2011), My Name is Ki
(Leszek Dawid, 2011), Letters to Santa
(Mitja Okorn, 2011), and The Promised Land
(Andrzej Wajda, 1975). In conjunction with 3RFF, The Polish Cultural Council will host a special reception with the director of the popular film Letters to Santa
, on Nov. 3rd at Melwood Screening Room.
As a follow-up to last week's ymposium about women in independent filmmaking--which served as a prelude to the festival--3RFF is showcasing a sidebar of works by female auteurs breaking new ground within the medium. Featured will be pioneering filmmakers from the 1960s, along with young women whose feature films made their debut in 2012. The impressive roster of women represented includes: Shirley Clarke (The Connection
); Delphine and Muriel Coulin (17 Girls
); Anne Fontaine (My Worst Nightmare
); Ursula Maier (Sister
); Jenifer McShane (Mothers of Bedford
); Sally Potter (Ginger & Rosa
) Lilian Schwartz (experimental short films); and Sophia Takal (Green
No to be missed is a special screening and Q&A via Skype centered on the work of experiemental film legend Lilian Schwartz on Nov. 17th at 7:30 p.m. Known for her pioneering work with computers, video, animation, special effects, graphics, light boxes, and virtual reality, Schwartz was born in 1927, was a member of the Experiments in Art and Technology (E.A.T.) group, and is one of the first women artists to work almost entirely in computer-based media. The 3RFF presentation will feature program of 10 short films, all shown on 16mm, from Schwartz's early days at Bell Laboratories (1970 –1975) where she experimented with image and sound. Her films can be viewed in 3D, as well (glasses will be provided!). Also included will be a short documentary about Schwartz called, The Artist and the Computer
Throughout the history of modern cinema, it's difficult to imagine many films--from Hitchcock to Wes Anderson--without their enduring scores. Inextricably linked within the genre, music and film will converge here at 3RFF during four special live music-with-film events.
Gather the entire clan for the festival's two family friendly matinees. On Nov. 3rd at 2 p.m., The Adventures of Robin Hood
(1938) will feature a live musical underscore by local band Lungs Face Feet at Regent Square Theater. Also at Regent Square will be Boston's famed Alloy Orchestra, returning to 3RFF to accompany a new program of comedy shorts from the silent era, featuring Buster Keaton and Oscar "Fatty" Arbuckle.
Fans of the legendary 1970s-1980s English post-punk band Siouxsie and the Banshees won't want to miss the chance to see the group's co-founder and bassist Steven Severin, a London-based composer, who will perform an original score of dark, etheral, electronic music along with the 1932 film, Vampyr
(Carl Theodor Dreyer, Germany, 1932).
Don't miss closing night on Nov. 17th, always a great bash, featuring a screening of the silent Russian masterpiece The Overcoat
, made by Grigori Kozintsev and Leonid Trauberg in 1924. Presented in collaboration with the Russian Film Symposium, the stunning new print will feature an original live score performed by Alloy Orchestra.
View a complete schedule
. Advance tickets are available through ShowClix
up to two hours before showtime. Remaining tickets will be sold at the door, beginning one half-hour before showtime.
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