A long dark corridor
Is meant to be explored
With creaking floors
And thick wooden doors
Clicking of locks
With a turn of the skeleton key
What lies behind them
Remains to be seen
"Skeleton Key" © (2021) Ginger Lee. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
The Pittsburgh Moving Picture Festival celebrates both the art of cinema and the rich motion picture exhibition tradition of Pittsburgh. Early in the 20th century, Pittsburgh was a worldwide manufacturing leader in iron and, later, steel. The labor requirements to produce such output was enormous, with much of the manpower being supplied by the immigrant populations living in and around the mills.
The need to live close to the mills (given the lack of access to public transportation) combined with the onerous demands placed on the workers (including a 72-hour work week) and the low pay, in many ways limited what leisure activities were available to the people. Local movie theaters emerged to offer a brief respite from the mundane mill-to-home routine. By 1914, it was estimated that there were approximately 200 movie theaters in the Pittsburgh region. Michael Aronson, Nickelodeon City: Pittsburgh at the Movies 1905-1929 (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2008), 15. In essence, the theaters became community meeting places by offering an accessible escape from the drudgery of mill life. In much the same way, cinema still serves as that communal experience for people to come together and be entertained.
The Pittsburgh Moving Picture Festival honors that history by providing exhibition for features and short films from around the world in a world-renowned setting that hearkens back to the early 1900’s. The Strand Theater was built in 1914 by Gioachino and Rosalia Sapienza, Italian immigrants hoping to find a new life in Zelienople, PA, just north of Pittsburgh. In the early years, it featured both silent films and vaudeville shows. In 2001, the Strand Theater Initiative purchased the building and has revived it as a first-rate theater and cultural center.
The Pittsburgh Moving Picture Festival aims to provide a theatrical opportunity for independent film in a setting that reflects both the history and the prestige of cinematic exhibition.
THEME: "THRILLER PICTURE SHOW"
Special Categories (Fantasy, Comedy, Documentary)
Best Narrative Feature & Best Short Film (30 minutes or less) in each category
Individual Acting Performances