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Pittsburgh Filmmakers gearing up for fall exhibits

By Tinamaria Colaizzi
Point Park News Service

The Pittsburgh Filmmakers fall lineup includes educational artist workshops, a Marcellus Shale documentary project and two musical presentations that combine electronic and classic sounds.

“This time of the year always brings the Three Rivers Film Festival, but we also have other events lined up separate from the festival”, said Gary Kaboly, Director of Exhibitions for the Pittsburgh Filmmakers.

The 2012 Artist Workshop series is a new collaboration between the Pittsburgh Filmmakers and the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts (PCA), including four different sessions with local artists Charlee Brodsky and Vanessa German. Brodsky is PCA’s “2012 Artist of the Year”, and is currently a professor at Carnegie Mellon University. Brodsky has produced Emmy Award Winning documentary videos, such as “Stephanie” and has photographic publications that are shown in both national and regional exhibits.

Vanessa German is PCA’s “Emerging Artist of the Year”, and will discuss her background in sculpture and her “spoken word opera”, an interactive performance style that combines traditional African storytelling with theater.

Kaboly believes the series will provide patrons with the opportunity to view the artist’s perspective, such as German’s exhibit on how everyday household items can tell a narrative or Brodsky’s “photobooks” that recreate stories through photographs.

“The workshops will let people connect with the artists and view the pieces they discuss while in the gallery.”, Kaboly said.

Charlee Brodsky will lead the series on Thursday, Oct. 4 at 6 p.m. and Vanessa German will continue the series on Saturday, October 6 at 1:00 p.m. and Thursday, Oct. 18 at 6 p.m. The workshops will be held at The Pittsburgh Center for the Arts, which is located on 6300 Fifth Avenue at Shady Avenue. General admission is $5 or $3 for students with valid ID.

The Marcellus Shale Documentary Project focuses on the local impact of gas drilling, an increasingly debated issue. According to the project’s website, the documentary aims to provide an unbiased look at gas by creating photographs of local communities, inhabitants and landscapes in Western Pennsylvania.

“The project is made up of six photographic images that show the positive and negative effects of drilling, which is a popular item of discussion in Western Pennsylvania”, said Ryan Latusick, Director of Public Relations for the Pittsburgh Filmmakers. He believes that this project will be of interest to local Pittsburgh residents.

The project will be open for viewing Oct. 11th– Jan. 6 at the Pittsburgh Filmmakers Galleries at the Melwood Screening Room, located on 477 Melwood Avenue. This event will be free and open to the public.

As a kick-off event to the Three Rivers Film Festival, Composer Eric Ross, regarded as “Master of the Theremin”, will perform live on his electronic Theremin guitar and synthesize to various experimental films. The pieces are drastically abstract and much different than the average mainstream commercial films.

Ross is a nationally renowned artist known for his talent in mixing musical styles and instruments. Audiences can expect an unusual, electronic mix alongside classic jazz music, as if Daft Punk held a performance with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra.  This event will take place at the Regent Square Theater on September 27th at 8:00 p.m. Tickets for this event are $12.00 and can be purchased at the Regent Square Theater on 1035 South Braddock Avenue and online via the Pittsburgh Filmmakers website.

“We always have a film component in our events, which is a great entertainment factor for regular patrons. The events showcase live music, but they are always accompanied with a film,” said Latusick.

Finally, the Alloy Orchestra will return for a live performance at the Regent Square Theater on Saturday, November 17th. The Alloy Orchestra, a three man musical ensemble, is nationally recognized for performing live accompaniment to silent films. The orchestra uses a combination of old percussion instruments, like loud cymbals, with state of the art electronic equipment, creating sharp, loud, and abrupt sounds without warning.

This year, the orchestra returns to provide background music to “The Overcoat”, an avant-garde silent film based on a short story by Russian author Nikolai Gogol, which breaks away from former literary adaptations that are mostly conservative in nature. Audiences can expect unconventional musical accompaniment, such as a brash percussion sound for climactic moments or a synthesized version of a symphony for more easy-going scenes.

“The Alloy Orchestra plays a part in the Three Rivers Film Festival every year and they are guaranteed to play an energetic closing event,” said Latusick. He predicts a great turnout for this event.

Tickets are $15 and are available in advance through the Pittsburgh Filmmakers website, or you can visit the Pittsburgh Filmmakers main office, located in Oakland on 477 Melwood Avenue.

Kaboly hopes that this year’s fall events will attract a growing number of patrons in the Pittsburgh area. “This year, all of our tickets will be available for purchase online. We really want to increase local students and residents’ accessibility to our 2012 events. ”

For more information on upcoming Pittsburgh Filmmakers events or to purchase tickets, visit

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