Three Rivers Film Festival returns with movies for all
Published: Thursday, November 1, 2012
Updated: Thursday, November 1, 2012 00:11
Pittsburgh will celebrate modern film this month with the Pittsburgh Filmmakers’ 31st annual Three Rivers Film Festival from Nov. 2 through Nov. 17.
The 16-day festival will feature 59 films and programs from a variety of genres, including foreign films, documentaries, independent films, animated shorts and the works of local filmmakers, according Pittsburgh Filmmakers’ Director of Exhibition Gary Kaboly.
“It’s a celebration of what we do year round, but in a concentrated area,” Kaboly said.
Pittsburgh Filmmakers sponsors classic and independent films at its three local theaters: the Regent Theater in Regent Square, the Harris Theater on Liberty Avenue Downtown and the Melwood Screening Room on Melwood Avenue. The theaters will show films nightly to a total of 8,000 people over the course of the festival, according to Kolby.
According to the manager of the Regent Theater Ted King-smith, this year’s films, chosen by the Pittsburgh Filmmakers programming committee, will appeal to a wide audience.
“It’s eclectic,” King-smith said. “There’s a variety of interesting events that would cover a lot of interest in film.”
He cited local comedy sketches Pittsburgh Dad and Mercury Men as examples of events that will draw public interest.
“That gets some of the local color in,” King-smith said.
Kaboly agreed, stating that families and film connoisseurs alike will find something that they enjoy at the festival.
“If you’re a film buff, over 16 days you’re going to find four, five, six films that you’re interested in,” Kaboly said.
Regent Square’s opening night film, Silver Linings Playbook, features Bradley Cooper and The Hunger Games’ Jennifer Lawrence and will open in theaters this fall. Kaboly expects to be sold out for this screening as well as for the opening night showings of Rust and Bone, starring Marion Cotillard (The Dark Knight Rises) and Matthias Schoenaerts and directed by Cannes Grand Prix winner Jacques Audiard, at the Harris Theater. Beware of Mr. Baker, a documentary on legendary drummer Ginger Baker, will be shown at the Melwood Screening Room.
According to Carol O’Sullivan, media relations director for Pittsburgh Filmmakers, the opening night screenings usually attract most attention from the public.
“Those are the ones that would get the highest attendance,” O’Sullivan said. “They’re a little more mainstream.”
Other attractions this year include Greensburg director Tony Buba’s documentary We Are Alive covering the closing of UPMC Braddock Hospital. The fact that he is a local filmmaker will likely draw in a significant audience, O’Sullivan said.
“He’s well-known, he’s well-liked, and there are a lot of people interested in the issue,” O’Sullivan said.
Another popular draw will be the festival’s five Oscar-nominated foreign films, Kaboly said. Germany’s Barbara, Argentina’s Clandestine Childhood, Italy’s Ceasar Must Die, Poland’s 80 Million and Switzerland’s Sister will play throughout the festival before they compete in this year’s Oscars, Kaboly said.
“We lucked out. We pursued films and were successful,” Kaboly said. “We’ve never had five Oscar nominations presented in one festival.”
Among the festival’s most popular events is its closing night screenings of classic silent films accompanied live by the Alloy Orchestra, O’Sullivan said. This year’s films Not Just For Kids: Keaton and Arbuckle and The Overcoat will play at the Regent closing night.
“There’s a bit of a cult following for those,” O’Sullivan said.
According to King-Smith, the Regent, Harris and Melwood theaters all offer a more intimate movie-going experience that is better suited for a film festival featuring such a variety of films.
“It’s a neighborhood theater. A very welcoming, friendly, our-house kind of theater,” King-Smith said. “It’s more welcoming than your multiplex experience.”
While the Regent can accommodate large events with its 280-seat theater, the Melwood, with 130 seats, is ideal for screenings of less-popular films that may not attract much of an audience, King-Smith said.
According to King-Smith, Pittsburgh Filmmakers’ goal throughout the festival is to expose the public to a wide variety of films that they wouldn’t otherwise encounter.
“Name a genre, and it’s being covered,” King-smith said. “It’s quite impressive.”
Tickets for opening and closing night films and special events can be purchased through ShowClix for $15. Single tickets can be purchased for $10 and a six-event pass for regular showings for $50.