Sunday, September 28, 2008

Pittsburgh Neighborhood Narratives ...

You missed the opening screening, but had you gone, you'd have been SOL. The Regent was packed last Thursday for the first viewing of Pittsburgh Neighborhood Narratives film festival.

Showing again tonight at the Brillobox, and in other venues throughout the city through early November, the 90-minute film is a composite of short narrative films created by filmmakers for distinct neighborhoods within the city. Its well worth the measly $5 door at each show, if you can get in.

Project coordinators Andrew Halasz and Kristen Lauth Shaeffer solicited filmmakers from all over Pittsburgh to make the film shorts they stitched into one piece. "Inspired by the way the neighborhoods of Paris were celebrated in the film Paris Je T'Aime, we thought it would be really cool to see the diverse neighborhoods of Pittsburgh celebrated in the same way."

Nine films quilted together. My favorite was the short produced for The Hill District by Timothy Hall & Marc Neison. Breaking away from the narrative storytelling style of most of the other films, Mr. Hall's photographs were presented photo-roman style. His narrative, an intimate story told like he was sitting on my porch telling me himself, puts the viewer squarely into the protagonists experience growing up in the Hill, departing for greener suburbs, and being called back to the home he grew up in later in life.

Themes of departure, return, reunion, and reconciliation spread across many of the pieces. Justin Crimone's piece for Downtown, Bus Stop, weaves together narratives of 'never left' with 'coming back to care for family'. Downtown becomes the seductive backdrop inviting change into the storyline.

Means of production even echoed the neighborhood identities. The hippest of genres (the zombie flick) was applied to our hip Lawrenceville, wisely poking fun at the fear of a future mommy-hood with Mombie.

Catch it if you can, screening in the neighborhoods they were made in through mid-November. But get there early. Judging from the packed house's enthusiastic response, this show should be standing room every night it screens. for a nicely-dressed flash website with screening schedule.

No comments: