When Steeltown hosted the 2005 screening of George A. Romero’s “Land of the Dead,” Quentin Tarantino called George the “father of American independent movies.” That screening provided the first funding for the Steeltown Film Factory. Fast forward to November 11, 2013, which will mark the kick-off of the Fifth Annual Film Factory competition. By the end of this year’s competition, Steeltown will have given away over $150,000 to regional filmmakers through the Film Factory Contest, which has lead to the production of over a dozen short films shot here, and helped nurture a new generation of original voices who are part of the growing independent film community in Pittsburgh.
On Monday November 11 at 7 PM the Regent Square Theater, Steeltown will premiere 2013 Film Factory Winner Dennis Schebetta’s “My Date With Adam,” and showcase many of the other success stories that have grown out of the Film Factory. Film Factory alumni have now created films that have been picked up for national distribution, created successful web series viewed by millions of viewers, and created their own places where talent can flourish such as the Arcade Comedy Theater where actors and comedians can hone their skills.
This year, Steeltown will give out up to $30,000 to filmmakers to make their short films. In addition, it will also unveil its new digital media “Community Showcase,” which will post the top 20 script finalists and their crowd funding campaigns and help connect these individuals to others in the local filmmaking community.
“We’ve had the pleasure of seeing so many creative filmmakers, digital media professionals and screenwriters make some of the most inventive entertainment projects right here in our region because of the Film Factory,” said Lisa Smith-Reed, Chief Operations Officer for Steeltown Entertainment Project. “And this year, we are hoping to take things to a new level with even more community involvement which we will announce at the November 11 event.”
Steeltown’s Film Factory Kick-Off Event, the Community Showcase, and the Premiere of Dennis Schebetta’s “My Date with Adam” are part of the Three Rivers Film Festival at the Regent Square Theater. Click here to get your tickets today.
Schebetta’s film is a romantic comedy about a woman looking for the perfect man and she finds him–only it turns out that he’s a robot. It features a number of Pittsburgh actors and locations including Carnegie Mellon University (where Schebetta is a faculty member), Taza D’oro, Grandview Bakery, Celebrity Bridal, Savoy and the streets of Highland Park. The film has cameos from real robots from the CMU Robotics Institute. Schebetta, associate producer Steve Parys, actors Brian Morvant, Tressa Glover and Joulieanne Avolio, and other members of the cast and crew will speak about their experience filming in Pittsburgh. ”I can’t thank Steeltown enough. Not only are they financing the movie, but they are creating opportunities for me to work with amazing people,” said Schebetta. “They gave me the opportunity to have a really good time telling my story. It’s been fantastic.” Steeltown will also put the spotlight on others in the filmmaking community to speak about their experiences with getting films financed, crew development and film distribution. 2012 Film Factory Semifinalist and Arcade Comedy Theater founder Michael Rubino, 2013 Film Factory third place winner and writer of the feature film “Heart of Silence” Heather Gray which came out of her experience writing a Film Factory short which involved the deaf community, and 2012 Film Factory quarterfinalist Robert Podurgiel will discuss their experiences making films in Pittsburgh and their experiences participating in Steeltown’s Film Factory. Steeltown’s Film Factory is a nationally recognized screenwriting and short filmmaking competition, which strives to identify and support emerging talent and connect top producers, directors, and actors with Pittsburgh and its resources. The program includes a series of public workshops and panel discussions. Entrants submit a 12-page script and the winner(s) are supported as they make their short film in southwestern Pennsylvania. The Steeltown Film Factory competition finalists will receive mentorship as they pitch their ideas to a panel of professionals from the entertainment industry. The winner(s) will receive a filmmaking grant of up to $30,000 to produce their short film in Southwestern Pennsylvania, their short film will premiere in the Three Rivers Film Festival in the fall of 2014. The Ellen Weiss Kander prize winner will receive a trip to Los Angeles and meet with some of Steeltown’s network of advisers. The Film Factory prize is amongst the highest awarded for short filmmaking competitions nationwide. Steeltown also plays a larger role in using its megaphone to reach around the country to share the good news about independent filmmaking happening right here in our back yard. ”We know the next George Romero and Fred Rogers are creating new film and digital media works here in our region,” said Carl Kurlander, President of Steeltown Entertainment Project. “Just look at Chris Preksta’s ‘Pittsburgh Dad’ which has over 14 million views and a huge following even beyond Pittsburgh, or ‘Blood Brother’ made by Steve Hoover and Danny Yourd with the support of Animal, this great media company here, which won Sundance and has gotten rave reviews in New York and L.A. We spotlight this community because we know it is creating new jobs and helping build a viable infrastructure to train talent for the Pittsburgh’s growing entertainment industry which we hope will benefit the region here for years to come.” Pittsburgh has always” been a city of creators and craftsman,” said Preksta. “But for a long time, those artists and storytellers have been working in individual pockets, independent of one another. Steeltown has played a large part in drawing creators together into collaboration.”