Film Notes

Riverside Drive-In plans monster mash weekend

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The Riverside Drive-In outside Vandergrift will stage an April Ghouls Monster Rama this weekend.

It will scare up cars and customers tonight with: "The Town That Dreaded Sundown," the 1976 version of "Carrie," "Suspiria," and 1977's "The Hills Have Eyes." On Saturday, the movies will be: 1978's "Halloween," "The Beast Within," "Phantasm" and "Children Shouldn't Play With Dead Things." All will be 35mm prints.

Gates will open at 7 p.m., movies will start at dusk. Admission is $10 per person per night, children 12 and under admitted free with adult or guardian. See for details.

Steeltown's final three

Steeltown Entertainment Project's Film Factory is down to three contenders, with the winner to be chosen May 17 at Point Park University.

They are: Stephen Knezovich, a fifth-generation Pittsburgher and visual artist who holds a master of fine arts and whose project is titled "Franksgiving"; Julie Jigour, a California native pursuing a master of fine arts in dramatic writing at Carnegie Mellon University, "Rainy Days"; and Randy Kovitz, an adjunct faculty instructor, actor and writer-director of short films whose project is titled "The Beat Goes On."

They emerged from a field of 200, which had been whittled to five a few weeks ago.

On May 17, their scripts will be read in front of an audience and judges Lauren Elmer, head of post-production for A24 Films; Daniel Hoyos, independent film producer and director of the Seattle Shorts Film Festival; and Kristen Bell (not the actress), director of the Austin, Texas-based Fantastic Fest.

The winner of the Ellen Weiss Kander Award will receive up to $30,000 to make his or her short film, a premiere of his or her work at the Three Rivers Film Festival in May and a trip to Hollywood. The honor is named for the Squirrel Hill resident who co-founded the Steeltown Entertainment Project and died in 2012 after battling liver cancer.

A reception for the filmmaking community, along with anyone interested in learning more about the industry, will be held at Point Park immediately after the May 17 event.

In a new twist, Steeltown will hold an open casting call from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday at Point Park's GRW Theatre, 414 Wood St., to find actors and actresses for the May 17 table reads. Hopefuls are asked to be prepared to deliver a one- to two-minute monologue of their choice; they will not be paid for May 17 but will be if later hired.

Another innovation this year: Steeltown's Community Showcase, an online resource allowing the public to vote for the best script for a week starting May 17. The winner will receive a $5,000 grant.

Tickets for the May 17 event, $15 for adults and $5 for students, are available through or by calling 412-251-0890.

This year's competition will coincide with the Women in Film and Television International Summit, attracting such influential players as "Twilight" director Catherine Hardwicke, CNN anchor and correspondent Martin Savidge and "Ghost Whisperer" executive producer Kim Moses.

Free films at library

A free showing of the Oscar-winning "20 Feet From Stardom" will be 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Shaler North Hills Library, 1822 Mt. Royal Blvd., as part of a program called Film Forward: Advancing Cultural Dialogue.

It's an international touring program offering film screenings, workshops and discussions and is designed to foster dialogue and greater cultural understanding.

The movies, which started earlier this month, are Sundance Film Festival selections and free in the library's Community Room with moderated discussions afterward.

Still to come: "Valentine Road," a documentary about the 2008 murder of a teenage boy by a classmate, at 2 p.m. Saturday; "Circles," a look at the wages of war in the Balkans, 7 p.m. Tuesday; and "20 Feet From Stardom," a documentary about the conflicts, sacrifices and rewards of backup singers who harmonized behind the superstars, 7 p.m. Wednesday.

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