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Pittsburgh's rich film history has resulted in an abundance of international, independent and family film festivals within the city each year.
Plan your visit around one of these Annual Film Festivals:
Held at The Parkway Theater in McKees Rocks, the Pittsburgh Independent Film Festival prides itself on screening a huge variety of films across three days and keeping the focus on micro- and no-budget films created outside of the Hollywood system. The event features also features an awards ceremony and in-depth discussions between filmmakers.
The ReelAbilities Film Festival presents award-winning films through the lens of individuals living with disabilities. In addition to impactful films, the festival also features artwork and special guests to bring the themes of community and shared human experience to the forefront. ReelAbilities is a program of Film Pittsburgh.
The Pittsburgh Silent Film Society will host the first Pittsburgh Silent Film Festival in Sept. 2023 with nine films screening at eight venues around the Pittsburgh area. The festival aims to honor Pittsburgh's legacy in the silent film genre, and has a unique twist of having live musicians playing the accompaniment as festival goers watch!
The Black Bottom Film Festival celebrates African American filmmaking pioneers of recent decades and examines how Black filmmakers use art to inspire, challenge, confront and influence American culture. Black Bottom Film Festival is hosted by the August Wilson African American Cultural Center.
One of the largest film festivals in the region, the Three Rivers Film Festival will celebrate its 42nd year this November. The event showcases a curated slate of 25–30 independent feature films in a variety of genres, including dramas, comedies and documentaries. In addition to film screenings, there are Q&As with cast and crew, receptions and more.
Pittsburgh Shorts features the newest and best short films domestically and internationally at the Harris Theater, with an extra focus on films with a local connection and that promote inclusivity. The fun and engaging films include many that go on to be Oscar® nominees and winners. Pittsburgh Shorts also hosts a short script competition in partnership with Carnegie Screenwriters.
Internationally acclaimed filmmaker Tony Buba has launched an all new film series at the Carnegie Museum of Art! Over the next eight months, 17 films and 24 directions will be showcased at their Theater and outdoor Sculpture Court. Whenever possible, brief introductions by the filmmaker or related party will help introduce the film pairings or provide context to the audience.
The annual Reel Q film festival in October is the sixth oldest LGBTQ+ film festival in the world and the longest-running film festival in Pittsburgh. Reel Q spans 10 days with a variety of programs, panels, parties and community activities. The festival screens approximately 20 locally first-run feature films and 50+ short films spanning multiple genres.
Pittsburgh is also host to such festivals as the Pittsburgh EU Film Festival and Projecting Hope Film Festival in winter and Banff Mountain Film Festival and CMU International Film Festival in the spring.
The Harris Theater will be showcasing six spine-chilling films over the course of six days, including Slash/Back, Kids Vs. Aliens, Huesera, Satanic Hispanics and an Abbot & Costello Double Feature. If you dare, create your own film festival pass of all five films and receive an exclusive enamel pin and Pittsburgh Cultural Trust membership, and be sure to book early for the Pennsylvania premiere of Thrust! on Jan. 7 when writer and director Victor Bonacore will be in attendance and do Q&A.
Row House Cinema and Carnegie Museum of Art are teaming up for the 58th Carnegie International Film Festival. Films from Algeria, Morocco, Senegal, Lebanon, France and the U.S. will be showcased around the geopolitics of the Cold War. All films selected are meant to challenge the audience and provide additional context to the themes of "It it morning for you yet?" on display through April 2 at CMOA.
The Pittsburgh Japanese Film Festival is a two-week celebration of the unique and exciting films coming out of Japan. Hosted at Row House Cinema, the festival features an amazing lineup Pittsburgh-exclusive premieres, anime, a look at Japanese gameshows as well as themed activities and tea tastings.
In 2023, they're bigger than ever with a subtheme of we're Kaiju films — aka GIANT MONSTER MOVIES - with a lineup that includes "Godzilla" (1954), "Destroy All Monsters," "Shin Godzilla" and "Mothra" as well as movies from anime, samurai and other film genres. Tickets are available now.
The annual JFilm Festival presents international Jewish-themed films that deepen audiences' understanding of the stories, history and commonalities that connect us all. The eleven-day festival is complemented by visiting filmmakers, guest speakers and collaborative events with other local organizations. JFilm is a program of Film Pittsburgh.
The Pittsburgh region has always been at the center of the film industry. On June 19, 1905, some 450 people attend the opening day of the world's first nickelodeon, located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and developed by the showman Harry Davis. The storefront theater boasted 96 seats and charged each patron five cents. In addition, many modern film production studios have their roots in Pittsburgh, including Warner Brothers and MGM. The modern horror film “Night of the Living Dead” was created and filmed in Pittsburgh, and dozens of famous actors, directors and film professionals are from the region.
The Pittsburgh Film Office (PFO) was founded in 1990 to promote the greater southwestern Pennsylvania region as a great location for movie, television and commercial productions. Since its inception, the PFO has assisted in bringing more than 200 feature films and television productions to southwestern Pennsylvania: creating thousands of jobs and countless business opportunities with film industry projects and generating nearly $2 billion in economic impact to our region.
Some of the most notable productions filmed in the Pittsburgh region include: The Silence of the Lambs, The Deer Hunter, The Dark Knight Rises, Jack Reacher, Fences, The Fault in Our Stars, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Flashdance, Wonder Boys, Mindhunter, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, The Next Three Days, Love and Other Drugs, Unstoppable, and Out of the Furnace. View an extensive list of films shot in the Pittsburgh region.
Film Pittsburgh presents independent films from around the world, deepening audiences’ understanding of various cultures, expanding acceptance and recognizing our common humanity. Film Pittsburgh presents four film festivals: Three Rivers Film Festival, JFilm, ReelAbilities Pittsburgh and Pittsburgh Shorts, and Teen Screen, a free education program for middle and high school students.
WQED has two unique programs for filmmakers. WQED Filmmakers offers enrichment opportunities for filmmakers in the region, providing networking and project promotion within Pittsburgh's independent film community. WQED Film Academy is student-focused, offering middle and high school students classroom experience using the latest technology, where each class produces their own short film by the end of the classes.