'Umbrella Man' to debut at McKees Rocks film festival

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“The Umbrella Man,” a feature produced by Point Park University, will premiere this weekend at the Pittsburgh Independent Film Festival in McKees Rocks.

The third installment of the festival will open tonight and run through Sunday at the Father Ryan Arts Center, 420 Chartiers Ave. Former Pittsburgher and actor Ronald Quigley founded the event that showcases low-budget movies, some of which have Western Pennsylvania connections. It is not connected to the Three Rivers Film Festival, which will celebrate its 33rd year in November.

“The Umbrella Man,” directed by Michael J. Grasso and screening at 1:45 p.m. Sunday in the center’s Baverso Theater, is about a father who becomes obsessed with conspiracy theories about the assassination of President Kennedy after the death of his 8-year-old son. Set in Pittsburgh, it stars Carter Roy and Rachael Carpani as a married couple dealing with love, loss and the survival of their relationship, along with Abbie Cobb, Rich Williams and John Amplas.

Point Park developed the original material by Michael and Joseph M. Grasso, and the university’‍s professional theater company mounted a staged production at the Pittsburgh Playhouse directed by Robert A. Miller, one of the movie’‍s producers. Much of the movie was filmed in the Pittsburgh area, giving Point Park students a chance to put their classroom skills to work.

Slippery Rock University graduate and athletic standout Juanita Vetter is featured in the documentary “The Vetters: All We Needed” screening at 5:30 p.m. Saturday as part of the festival.

Set in Chardon, Ohio, it tells the story of the six close-knit Vetter siblings, who were between 7 and 14 when they lost their mother. Through the strength of their father and family bond, determination and a combination of cross-country, track and field, and wrestling talents, the Vetters achieved extraordinary success in the 1970s and ’80s.

All told, they amassed 16 state championship awards, 35 All-American awards, 25 national champion awards, 10 American records and three world records.

Anne Bruder and Nancy Pokorny, owners of Wagon Wheel Films in Willoughby, Ohio, directed and produced the documentary six years in the making. They use vintage 8mm film footage, family photos, archival news stories and a musical score with an original song to tell their story. For more information, see TheVettersMovie.com.

See www.pghindie.com for the full lineup and ticket information.

If you plan to go, remember that West Carson Street is closed. The best way to reach the center is to take Route 65 north to the McKees Rocks Bridge, make a left on Island Avenue and then a left on Chartiers.

Movie editor Barbara Vancheri: bvancheri@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1632. Read her blog: www.post-gazette.com/madaboutmovies.

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