Three Rivers Film Festival returns for 32nd year of movies

By: Sam Fatula | The Duquesne Duke

Eighty movies, 16 days, one city.

The 32nd annual Three Rivers Film Festival continues its tradition of being one of the area’s largest and most anticipated events, showcasing everything from feature films to live music.

The festival, which began Friday, Nov. 8, goes through Saturday, Nov. 23, and is offering four different locations spread throughout the Pittsburgh area for all of its feature films.

Harris Theater in the Cultural District, The Mellwood Screening Room in Oakland and the Regent Square Theater in Edgewood and the Waterworks Cinemas will be showing films.

These theaters will mainly be showing independent films, each one appealing to different audiences.

“There’s kind of a broad spectrum of films,” said Gern Roberts of Pittsburgh Filmmakers’ public relations department. “There’s a lot of American independent films, foreign films, classic films.”

The idea of having a number of different films versus a specific theme may surprise the people that have already attended a number of festivals, but by doing this people may have the opportunity to see something that may appeal to them more.

“A lot of these films tend to be international,” said John Fried, film studies professor at Duquesne. “Those types of film, whether they are international films, documentaries or even animation, normally don’t come to Pittsburgh. But by having this festival can create more of a community in film.”

Tickets vary for some of the movie titles, but will usually cost anywhere from $5 to $10 dollars, according to Roberts.

All tickets can be purchased online up to two hours before the movie screens, and the rest will be sold at the door 30 minutes before the films begins.

The festival also showcases local artists in micro-cinemas, smaller venues that show films, including The Shop in Bloomfield, and Brillobox in Garfield, among others.

The micro-cinema locations, include films that are viewed as more “experimental” and are centralized on a program that the festival has that shows competitive short films, according to Roberts. A couple of local entertainment groups like the Pittsburgh Extreme Radical Video (PERV) and publication group INCITE will be featured in these micro-cinemas.

The end of the festival will be special, according to Roberts.
“The closing night will be pretty amazing,” Roberts said. “There’s going to be a silent classic film, and then there’s going to be group called the Alloy Orchestra that will be performing live.”

All films that will be played this month can be found on the festival’s website, and although there are many to choose from, a few definitely stand out amongst the rest.

One film that may draw a crowd is The Armstrong Lie. This film displays former cyclist Lance Armstrong’s fall from grace as being the greatest cyclist who ever lived, to an alleged doper. The film also includes interviews from his former teammates and Armstrong himself. The film will be shown Friday evening at the Harris Theater.

Another film that has proven itself already as an anticipated title is Philomena, starring Judi Dench and Steve Coogan. Initially screened last weekend, Philomena will be playing again this week and depicts a retired nurse (Dench) searching for her long lost son.

Gary Kaboly, director of exhibition for the film festival, said last week’s screening of Philomena “sold out,” but those types of results cannot always be expected.

“In every festival there are films that are well-known or there’s knowledge based on it from other films fests,” Kaboly said. “Sometimes 10 to 15 people may show up, sometimes you have 300 people lined up outside of the door…but usually, weekends are the prime spots and are most available for people.”

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