Steeltown Film Factory contest selects five semifinalists

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Five semifinalists, including WTAE news anchor Michelle Wright, will make their pitches -- literally -- at the next stage of the Steeltown Film Factory on Saturday. As much as $30,000 is at stake to turn a script into a film short.

The semifinalists are: Ms. Wright with "The Curtain" project along with "Franksgiving" by Stephen Knezovich, Point Breeze; "The Other Man," Anjali Sachdeva, Squirrel Hill; "The Beat Goes On," Randy Kovitz, Lawrenceville; and "Rainy Days," Julie Jigour, Squirrel Hill.

They will be participating in the writers' pitch stage of the competition at 11 a.m. Saturday at the Purnell Center for the Arts at Carnegie Mellon University. They will make their cases to producer Chris Moore, "Good Will Hunting" and "American Pie"; and Carnegie Mellon University grad Corey Moosa, a Before the Door Pictures partner and one of the executive producers of "All Is Lost" starring Robert Redford.

The pair, along with screenplay expert Asher Garfinkel, will give notes to the semifinalists for rewrites and revisions. Industry judges will pick the top three, which will get staged readings at Point Park University on May 17 when a winner or winners will be chosen.

Admission for Saturday's event is $15, with students admitted for $5. Tickets: or at the door.

In a new twist, Steeltown Entertainment Project also plans to launch a Community Showcase.

The top 20 scripts and the filmmakers' crowdfunding reels will be posted on Steeltown's site and it will match up to $500 raised for each short film. That way, projects that don't advance through the competition will have a chance to attract support and money.

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