By: Scott Holleran
My Date with Adam, a short film which won this year’s Steeltown Entertainment Project’s Film Factory Competition and was recipient of the 2013 Ellen Weiss Kander Award, premiered on the West Coast during an exclusive screening at the Lionsgate studio in Santa Monica, California.
Film Factory writer and director Dennis Schebbetta got to live out the Hollywood dream of having his film screened for top industry professionals providing crucial feedback on his movie, which finished production in July.

More than seventy-five people were in attendance to see the film. Among those attending the screening and the reception that followed were Film Factory advisers producer Chris Moore (American Pie, Good Will Hunting), Hollywood executive and Lionsgate producer John Dellaverson (Diary of a Mad Black Woman), Chappelle’s Show and Movie 43 director Rusty Cundieff, Wilfred showrunner Reed Agnew, Alexander and the Terrible, No Good, Very Bad Day screenwriter Rob Leiber, as well as producer and actress Suzanne De Laurentiis (10th & Wolf), writer, editor and producer Douglas Miller (Modern Marvels) and Steeltown COO Lisa Smith-Reed.

The film scored with the audience in the screening room at the same studio that produces and distributes The Hunger Games series, All Is Lost, and, in Pittsburgh, The Next Three Days, Abduction, and Warrior.

Cundieff, who was mentored by Spike Lee and wrote and directed Fear of the Black Hat and Tales From The Hood, commented that he sees potential in the short as a feature film. Chris Moore, who gave legendary notes to emerging filmmakers in HBO’s Project Greenlight, gave one on one notes to Schebetta after the screening.  “It was a surreal experience to think that a year ago I had this little idea for a movie that I wrote into a short script and then I’m in a private screening room talking to Chris Moore about a feature version of the story–it’s been an educational experience and all very exciting,” said Schebbetta. “It also meant a lot to me to have Rusty, one of the judges, see the final product and hear his thoughts on how it could be developed, and get praise from him about how the characters can fill a longer version. Sitting down with [Steeltown Film Factory Panelist] Chris Keyser of the WGA and getting notes from him in person over lunch was also a highlight of my trip–his thoughts and comments were helpful, as well,” he said.

When asked why Pittsburgh is attracting top creative talent and projects, Pittsburgh native Dellaverson said, “It’s the work ethic. We all love Pittsburgh and the people are so open and helpful. But above all they work hard.” De Laurentiis agreed, enthusiastically endorsing the city where she made the $20 million movie 10th & Wolf starring James Marsden (The Notebook, X-Men). “Pittsburgh has the best food and the best crews,” she said after the screening. Before the film, producer Chris Moore told the audience that, with tax credits keeping show business moving all around the country, Steeltown helps keep the action tethered in Pittsburgh.

The 2014 Steeltown Film Factory Competition is now open. Now in its 5th year, the Steeltown Film Factory Competition is a nationally recognized screenwriting and filmmaking competition which nurtures a new generation of original voices in Pittsburgh’s growing independent film community.  By the end of this year’s competition, Steeltown will have given away over $150,000 to regional filmmakers through Steeltown Film Factory.   Submit a 12 page script for your chance to receive a filmmaking grant of up to $30,000 to produce your short film in Southwestern PA.

Click here read the competition rules, learn more, and to submit your script.

 Regular Deadline: 1/5/14     |     Late Deadline: 1/12/14