Wednesday, October 1, 2008

‘Greetings from Pittsburgh: Neighborhood Narratives’ Premiers to a Sold-Out Audience at the Regent Square Theatre

The Regent Square Theatre welcomed a full house on Sept. 25, 2008, when “Greetings from Pittsburgh: Neighborhood Narratives” made its much-anticipated debut. Neighborhood Narratives is a collection of nine short films – written, directed and produced by Pittsburgh’s own – highlighting the city’s unique neighborhoods through creative storytelling.

“This was a project that emerged after Kristen and I saw ‘Paris Je t’aime last year,'” Andrew Halasz, project co-creator along with Kristen Lauth Shaeffer, told the audience before the show began. (“Paris Je t’aime” is a compilation of 18 short films celebrating the neighborhoods in Paris, France.) “We thought, ‘Why don’t we do this in Pittsburgh?’”

Audience members were glued to the screen as Neighborhood Narratives took them on a sometimes amusing, sometimes dramatic, but always interesting ride through neighborhoods such as Bloomfield, Oakland and the Strip District.

Following the premier was a reception at the Concept Art Gallery where audience members had the opportunity to meet some of the filmmakers and actors involved with the project.

“This was the biggest thing that I was ever a part of,” said an excited Timothy R. Hall, whose short film, “What Green Could Be,” told the story of a young man who grew up in the Hill District.

Hall was right – if its sold out premier was any indication, Neighborhood Narratives was going to be huge.

“We had such a great turnout,” said Shaeffer, referring to the crowd that gathered for the premier. “It made us so happy to see that Pittsburgh supported our film because that’s really who this was for.”

An hour and forty minutes long, the film opened with a story about the South Side and ended with the hosting neighborhood, Regent Square. Bloomfield, Downtown, the Hill District, Homestead, Lawrenceville, Oakland, and the Strip District were also featured.

Each story had its own unique style, and each successfully captured the personality of its characters and setting. At more than one point, the audience erupted into raucous laughter or enthusiastic applause. “Mombies,” filmed in Lawrenceville, was a mock-horror tale about the contagious nature of motherhood. The audience was in stitches as the main character went screaming down Butler Street with stroller-pushing mommies in pursuit. “Notes in the Valley,” on the other hand, had its viewers on the edge of their seats as a mysterious letter opened the door to an emotional past.

“I thought they did a really good job of pacing the movie to showcase the variety of genres touched on by the different films,” said Jason Sox, who attended the premier. “The drama was mixed between the humorous movies in a way that enhanced them both.”

The next screening of Neighborhood Narratives is scheduled to take place Oct. 3 at The Pump House in Homestead. Tickets are $5 each.

“We’re looking forward to sharing these stories with the rest of Pittsburgh,” said Shaeffer.

1 comment:

Alissa said...

Will former Pittsburghers who live outside the area be able to see the film? Online at some point, perhaps?