Let's Talk About Art: Stink bug art

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This is a biweekly series about art and artists in the region. Pittsburgh Filmmakers/Pittsburgh Center for the Arts serves the community through arts education, exhibitions and artist resources.

You are in a movie theater. On the screen is a hideous infestation. Swarms of khaki-colored bugs are dropping from the sky. They're infiltrating neighborhoods and destroying crops. Is it the newest sci-fi blockbuster? A teen horror flick? An environmental documentary?

No, it's the Annual Film Kitchen Contest Show!

Next Tuesday at the Harris Theater, Downtown, we finally get to see what local amateur filmmakers have come up with for this year's theme: stink bugs.

Film Kitchen is a program of Pittsburgh Filmmakers. It's a year-round series created to showcase local independently made short films, often providing budding artists with their first public exhibition. Normally held the second Tuesday of each month at the Melwood Screening Room in Oakland, the contest is held Downtown each June during the Three Rivers Arts Festival.

Filmmaker Matthew R. Day, who has served as host and curator of Film Kitchen since 2008, selects a theme each year for the contest. This year he chose stink bugs, knowing the invasive species (originally from Asia) was a universally reviled pest sure to inspire a variety of cinema. The films are all less than four minutes long. "I promise, they won't stink," he jokes.

It's an informal event, but Mr. Day will emcee wearing a full tuxedo and encourages competitors to dress up. "For many participants this is their first experience watching their film with an audience. It's exciting to see how people react to your film," he says. Like any competition, it's a big deal for those who have entered. There are guest judges, and cash prizes -- first, second and third place -- are awarded that evening. In addition, there's an Audience Choice award.

Among the guest judges this year is television producer Minette Seate, host of WQED's locally produced "Filmmakers Corner," where each week she interviews regional filmmakers and presents their films.

The Film Kitchen Contest Show begins at 7 p.m. with a hot dog reception outdoors -- weather permitting; the films start at 8. An invitational show with examples of short films by more established film and video artists is included in the program. Admission is $8; tickets are available at the door only.

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First Published May 29, 2012 4:00 AM


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