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Pittsburgh-based filmmaker's documentary on Bitcoin premiers today at Tribeca Film Festival

Local filmmaker Nick Mross and his brother, Dan Mross are gaining national recognition for the documentary The Rise and Rise of Bitcoin, directed by the latter Mross and starring the former.

The Mross brothers were inspired to make the film back in 2011 after Dan’s obsession with the virtual currency piqued his brother’s curiosity. The documentary looks at the broader implications of Bitcoin through the lens of Dan’s preoccupation.

The documentary premiers today at the Tribeca Film Festival.  Check out their interview with Fox Business here.
 

Carnegie Museum of Art hosts controversial Iranian filmmaker

As a part of the 2013 Carnegie International, the Carnegie Museum of Art sponsored the first ever visit of controversial Iranian filmmaker, Kamran Shirdel, to the United States.

“Kamran Shirdel's films have been censored, banned and celebrated for documenting hidden parts of Iranian society — the plight of Tehran's prostitutes, the desperation of female prisoners, and the reality behind false heroes,” writes Kevin Begos for the Associated Press.

Shirdel began his career studying film in Italy under the likes of Roberto Rossellini and Pier Paolo Pasolini. When he returned to Iran in the mid-1960s, he was given a job creating films for the Ministry of Culture and Art, though he was soon expelled for failing to portray the prosperous images the Shah was hoping to propagate. He went on to create several documentaries exposing the margins of life in Tehran.

Until now, Shirdel’s work has not been well known in the United States. A professor of Iranian Film at Northwestern University, Hamid Naficy says his work will be eye-opening for Americans who don’t know much about Tehran.

Though Shirdel’s engagement in Pittsburgh has ended, he will be travelling to California and New York for speaking engagements at Stanford, UC Berkeley, and Columbia University.

Where are the heroes for the August Wilson Center

The failure of the August Wilson Center for African American Culture in downtown Pittsburgh has become the subject of curiosity for many who question why the institution, in a city that favors underdogs, was allowed to fail.

“Where was the voice and the person who was pointing at the Center, saying, 'Yes! No matter what, yes! Oh no, liquidation? No, we've got this, that's who we are,’” Vanessa German, a Pittsburgh artist told NPR.

It seems that financial mismanagement and construction budget overages found the $42 million center in the red even before the building on Liberty Avenue in the cultural district opened.

An article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette suggests that the center alienated Pittsburgh’s African American population by abandoning early pioneers of African American culture in the city and by choosing to open downtown, instead of in a neighborhood such as Homewood or the Hill District.

"There are so many plays contained in this story, he would have a field day," German said of the center’s namesake. "Tragedy, disappointment, betrayal — that's the stuff of August Wilson's plays!"

*Note, this story was written by Pittsburgh's own Larkin Page-Jacobs of WESA.

A guide to Pittsburgh's indie movie theaters

Emma, a blogger for iheartpgh.com, offers up a twist on a familiar summer ritual. "When the weather starts heating up, sometimes the only thing to do is go inside. This season many of us will take to the air-conditioned refuge of our local megaplexes. To switch things up, I offer you a list of local independently owned theaters. Many of the theaters screen the same new releases, but also provide character and unique programming."

To read Emma's sweet guide to Pittsburgh's little guy theaters, click here.

Christian Bale emerges 'Out of the Furnace'

Christian Bale returned to the Pittsburgh area to film another movie, but he won't be playing Batman this time. Bale's character, Russell Baze, is a far more down-to-earth, blue collar guy caught in a difficult situation. "To capture the blue-collar spirit, Cooper insisted on filming in Braddock, Pa., where he set the story. The director was impressed with the way Bale immersed himself, taking none of his own clothing on the shoot — wearing only what Russell would wear. Bale also experienced work on the steel furnace.

"It's long hours, unhealthy conditions and intense heat.," says Bale. "It's dangerous work. The guys had recently lost a friend who had died on the job. But there's a great bond. And they have a love for it, despite the hardships."

Bale and the other actors — the cast also includes Forest Whitaker, WIllem Dafoe, Sam Shepard and Zoe Saldana — were also able to find character role models in the town. Bale recorded a local man at length to get a handle on the tricky Braddock accent."

To read more about what actors call "the process" and Braddock's role in the new movie, "Out of the Furnace." click here.

Pittsburgh the Movie: youtube video goin' viral

It's five glorious minutes of Pittsburgh scenes in a number of movies, from Flashdance to Dark Knight Rising.  See how many you can identify.

Watch it here.

Final Dark Knight Rises trailer is released

With the film's premiere less than a week away, the final Dark Knight Rises trailer has arrived. Watch it here.

Tony Buba, the bard of Braddock

Braddock, PA native Tony Buba once believed he was doomed not to live past the age of 21 as a steel-mill worker.  

So, how did inspiration from his blue-collar home town help him grow and flourish into a incredibly committed, political film extraordinaire with a bizarre comic sensibility? 

Read the full story here.

Take a shot! See kids' entries in this film contest

Check out these great videos from middle school and high school students and vote for your favorites!

Voting goes through May 15th. Then join the fun at the Heinz History Center at 2:00 on May 20 for the first ever "Take a Shot at Changing the World" Film Festival where the winners will be announced. Winning films will be screened, and the films of all attendees who RSVP by May 15th will be featured on the big screen. Get your free seat by e-mailing Rachel@steeltown.org

See videos here.

Is Pittsburgh the new Hollywood?

Is Pittsburgh the Hollywood of the east? With the new film partnerships--the Entertainment Technology Center and Knight Vision Studios--at 31st Studios, not to mention tax incentives and a growing talent pool, the buzz is only growing.

See the news video here.

Miss the Gotham fun? Here's a video of the Batwing in action.

If you missed seeing the Batwing in action this weekend, E! Online has a video of the massive vehicle making its way through the streets of downtown a.k.a. Gotham.  There's also a video of Anne Hathaway's stunt double playing Catwoman.  Get your Batman fix here.

Pittsburgh goes Gotham

Holy Hollywood! Batman invades downtown starting Aug. 6. Get ready for gunfire, explosions, snow and detours!  Read all the latest details. here.

Brother America: Pittsburghers making documentary about Pittsburgher humanitarian in India

Local filmmakers Danny Yourd and Steve Hoover have just returned from India with a new trailer for their upcoming documentary Brother America.  The film tells the story of Rocky Borat, a friend who found his calling working with HIV-positive orphans in India during what was intended to be a brief post-college trip.

Click here to view the trailer.

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Streetfilms walks and bikes the Burgh

Streetfilms, the cinematic branch of global livable street documentary group Streetsblog, recently popped into Pittsburgh to scope out the progress that's being made in creating more inhabitable public spaces and cycle-friendly environments.  Some of the highlights of this short documentary include a chat with the developers of Market Square, a free bicycle commuter breakfast sponsored by Bike Pittsburgh, and a visit to every cyclist's favorite South Side watering hole, Over the Bar Cafe.

Click here to watch the movie.

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From Pittsburgh to Paris(ish): Burgh film student chronicles Cannes Film Festival internship

Cait Murray, a senior at the University of Pittsburgh, has obtained a competitive internship with the Cannes Film Festival, and is blogging the experience over at Cait in Cannes.

After her direct, Pittsburgh-to-Paris Delta flight, Murray will be one of 150 interns at the star-studded international film festival.

"My suitcase is filled with cool Pittsburgh 'swag,' as we say in the entertainment biz. I have Terrible Towels, Penguin Towels, Primanti Bros. T-shirts, Heinz pickle pins and more. Watch out Cannes, I'm coming, and I'm bringing the Burgh with me!" she writes.

Murray has spent the last four years immersing herself in the Pittsburgh film industry. In 2009, she took a one-year hiatus and studied film and French language in Paris at the Sorbonne and the American University of Paris. Murray currently works under Carl Kurlander an associate producer at Steeltown Film Factory.

Read Cait Murray's Cait at Cannes blog.

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