Film Notes: Italian Film Festival will feature 7 local premieres


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Seven movies, including one from "Cinema Paradiso" director Giuseppe Tornatore and starring Geoffrey Rush as a world-famous antiques auctioneer, are coming to Pittsburgh for an Italian Film Festival.

All movies are free, Pittsburgh premieres and, with the exception of Mr. Tornatore's English-language "The Best Offer," in Italian with English subtitles. They mainly will screen on the University of Pittsburgh campus, with one event at the Carnegie Museum of Art Theatre.

Each will be introduced by a roughly 10-minute presentation by Pitt faculty, graduate students, alumni or, in the case of "Women Workers' War," director Massimo Ferrari, who will also field questions afterward.

Scheduled to be shown:

• "Reality" -- From director Matteo Garrone, a darkly comic look at a charming, affable fishmonger (Aniello Arena) whose obsession with being a contestant on the reality TV show "Big Brother" leads him down a rabbit hole of skewed perceptions and paranoia. Opening night sponsor: University of Pittsburgh Film Studies. 7 p.m. March 27, Frick Fine Arts Auditorium, 650 Schenley Drive.

"First Snowfall" -- A fatherless 10-year-old boy and an immigrant who just lost his wife learn to listen to each other and heal as they prepare for winter in the Italian Alps. 7 p.m. March 29, Frick Fine Arts Auditorium.

"Balancing Act" -- When a husband and father of two has an affair, his wife cannot forgive him. He moves out, promising to support the family financially despite his meager salary. But he plunges into poverty in a story about the thin line between having it all and having nothing. 7 p.m. April 4, Frick Fine Arts Auditorium.

"The Best Offer" -- A world renowned antiques auctioneer, who leads a solitary life, is appointed to oversee the sale of a beautiful heiress's art collection. He is soon engulfed by a passion that rocks his bland existence. 7 p.m. April 5, Carnegie Museum of Art Theatre, 4400 Forbes Ave.

"The Women Workers' War" -- Documentary about two women, one who leads the longest factory sit-in by women in Italy and another who operates a factory encouraging cultural growth among the workers. 7 p.m. April 10, Room 24, ground floor, Pitt's Cathedral of Learning, 4200 Fifth Ave.

"The Venice Syndrome" -- Documentary suggesting Venice is becoming uninhabitable even though, or because, it attracted 20 million foreign visitors in a recent year. The pool of residents is shrinking, due to rising real estate prices, for starters. 9 p.m. April 11, Wesley W. Posvar Hall, Room 1700, 230 S. Bouquet St.

"Long Live Freedom" -- When the leader of the most important political opposition party mysteriously disappears, his wife and assistant turn to his identical twin brother. He was recently released from a psychiatric hospital but will anyone notice the switch? 7 p.m. April 12 at Frick Fine Arts Auditorium.

See www.italianfilmfests.org for more information, including sponsors. (Barbara Vancheri, PG movie editor)

Arts & Entertainment Guide

Looking for a comprehensive list of Pittsburgh's ever-growing number of film festivals? A guide to concert venues or event producers or media links or theater facilities?

James A. Richards, a local author and arts entrepreneur, has put together a new edition of "The Pittsburgh A&E Book." It is the sixth edition of the directory, first published in 2001, and is available through bookstores and devices such as tablets and e-readers.

"Traditionally, the directory is paid for entirely by sponsors and advertisers and distributed for free," Mr. Richards said in a statement about the project. "But the costs have risen so much and the economy is still a bit challenging, that it now must be sold through retailers."

The 167-page directory is divided into six categories of resources: general; event and festival; film and video; music; theater; and visual arts. Suggested price is $19.95 and it's available through Barnes & Noble. See www.pittsburghaebook.com for more information. (B.V.)

'Chasing Ice' program

Adventurer and nature photographer James Balog will provide commentary and field questions after an April 4 morning showing of "Chasing Ice" on the campus of Duquesne University.

The documentary shows how man-made global warming has sped up the movement and melting of glaciers in Greenland, Iceland, Alaska, Montana and Canada. It's based on the "Extreme Ice Survey," a project started by Mr. Balog in 2007 to produce a detailed multiyear photographic record of the world's shrinking glacial landscapes.

Registration begins at 7:45 a.m. for the 8 to 11:30 a.m. event in the university's Power Center Ballroom, 1015 Forbes Ave. fifth floor. Cost of $45 or $25 for students includes breakfast buffet, and the event is open to the public. To register, www.duq.edu/chasingice. (B.V.)

Mark your calendars

Pittsburgh will host the 2014 Women in Film and Television International Summit May 16-18. The event typically draws hundreds of women from 40 global chapters for panels, discussions and screenings.

A packed preliminary schedule includes sessions on trends in children's television, understanding profit participation in the movie industry, creating unforgettable scenes, gender disparity in the media, documentary and unscripted programs, and women directors.

Most of the programs will be held at the Westin Convention Center Pittsburgh, with some events at Point Park University.

The summit will coincide with the Pittsburgh chapter's presentation of its Opal Awards to women who have contributed to the artistic and economic development of Pittsburgh's motion picture industry and the community through their work and service, or who have succeeded in bringing film productions to Pittsburgh.

Awards will be given to Deborah L. Acklin, president and chief executive officer of WQED Multimedia, and Dawn Keezer, director of the Pittsburgh Film Office.

WIFTI is dedicated to advancing professional development and achievement for women working in all areas of film, video and other screen-based media. Go to www.wiftisummit.org for more details. (B.V.)

Disney CEO dishes

The new "Star Wars" has an official time line and one confirmed returning character: robot R2-D2.

Director J.J. Abrams will begin shooting in May on "Star Wars: Episode VII," which is set three decades after 1983's "Return of the Jedi," Disney CEO Bob Iger said this week.

Speaking at the company's annual shareholders meeting in Portland, Ore., Mr. Iger said the movie would feature "some very familiar faces along with a trio of new young leads." Mr. Abrams has a penchant for secrecy, and Mr. Iger said R2-D2 was the only "official cast member" he would announce.

"Episode VII" is set for release in December 2015.

Mr. Iger also said Pixar plans a third "Cars" movie and a sequel to 2004's "The Incredibles." (Associated Press)


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