FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Eric Sloss
Steeltown Entertainment Project Pays Tribute Co-Founder Ellen Weiss Kander During its Short Film Competition Final, May 11
Pittsburgh, PA - May 2, 2013 - Steeltown Entertainment Project will pay tribute to its co-founder, the late Ellen Weiss Kander in a world premiere short film during Steeltown Film Factory's final winner announcement on Saturday, May 11 at Carnegie Mellon University's Phillip Chosky Theater. The event begins at 11 a.m. with doors opening at 10:30 a.m. Tickets are $10 for general admission and $5 for students. Tickets will be available at the door.
"It is fitting to pay tribute to Ellen with a film and an award in her honor at the Steeltown Film Factory. This competition is one of the many successful and innovative initiatives she started for the Steeltown Entertainment Project," said Carl Kurlander, President and CEO of the Steeltown Entertainment Project. "Because of her, the Film Factory has been a driving force connecting top Hollywood film and television writers, actors, and executives with Pittsburgh's emerging talent and original voices in this region."
The three Film Factory finalists will have their scripts performed by CMU drama students and another all-star panel of judges including Steeltown co-founder and writer/producer Maxine Lapiduss ("Roseanne", "Ellen") and her writer/producer sister Sally Lapiduss, ("Mad About You", "Hannah Montana"), "Somewhere" producer Youree Henley whose new film "Bling Ring" written and directed by Sofia Coppola and starring Emma Watson premieres at Cannes next week, and Michael Killen, owner of Animal, a leading visual effects and media company in Pittsburgh which also produced the film "Blood Brother" which won the Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award at Sundance.
The finalists (and their films) are listed in alphabetical order: deaf-interpreter Heather Gray ("Life After Deaf"), CMU faculty member and playwright Dennis Schebetta ("My Date With Adam"), and Point Park graduate and graphic artist Glenn Syska ("The Sketch"). (Their scripts can be read at www.steeltownfilmfactory.org) They will win either a portion or the entire $30,000 prize and one will be awarded the 2nd Annual Ellen Weiss Kander Award.
The tribute film features Steeltown co-founder Maxine Lapiduss and longtime Steeltown advisers, Rob Marshall, director ("Pirates of the Caribbean", "Chicago" and the upcoming "Into The Woods" with Meryl Streep and Johnny Depp); Eric Gold, entertainment industry manager for Jim Carrey and many other A-list actors; and actor David Conrad, ("Ghost Whisperer") discussing Ellen's remarkable and inspiring leadership role in helping Pittsburgh create a vibrant and sustainable entertainment industry.
"Ellen was magnetic, she had the ability to pull people together from all types of sectors to build the foundation for Pittsburgh's thriving entertainment industry as we know it today," Kurlander said.
Now in its fourth year, the Steeltown Film Factory competition successfully connects top Hollywood film and television professionals with local, emerging talent. The Film Factory has mentored more than 1,300 aspiring filmmakers through workshops and panels with Hollywood professionals; inspired local writers to submit over 660 short scripts to the competition; facilitated production of at least eight short films by local talent, some of which have been picked up for distribution, screened at national film festivals and at Lionsgate and purchased by major production companies; and engaged over 125 industry professionals in Los Angeles, New York City, and Pittsburgh as Film Factory advisers.
As a direct result of this engagement these professionals have pitched more than 20 projects for production in Pittsburgh, six of which have been produced or are currently in pre-production. On May 11, when the 2nd Annual Ellen Weiss Kander Award will be announced, Steeltown Film Factory will have given away $120,000 to promising filmmakers in Pittsburgh.
For more information about the Steeltown Entertainment Project and the Film Factory competition, visit steeltownfilmfactory.org. Steeltown Entertainment Project's mission is to build a thriving, sustainable entertainment industry in the Pittsburgh region. The Film Factory is one of many programs initiated by the Steeltown Entertainment Project, others include educating youth, discovering talent, building connections with industry professionals and investing in media projects.