Film Society Movies; Will they support Outrage?

Two upcoming movies sponsored by the Film Society.  They state “PLGFS is always happy to support gay-themed movies…  “

I hope this means they will be working with Magnolia Productions and the Pgh Filmmakers to promote Outrage the Movie which is absolutely gay-themed and promise to be a powerful, dialogue-generating documentary.  I would love to see a panel discussion after opening night, but I've had no response from the Filmmakers about that possibility. 


Showing at the SouthSide Works Cinema
Thursday, June 18th at 7:30 P.M.
Pedro The Pittsburgh Lesbian and Gay Film Society is proud to bring you this extraordinary film:

In 1994, Bunim/Murray Productions made the groundbreaking decision to cast openly gay, HIV-positive Cuban-American Pedro Zamora as part of MTV's The Real World: San Francisco. Zamora's time in the Real World house on Lombard Street brought a face to the AIDS crisis; and U.S. President Bill Clinton credited Zamora with personalizing and humanizing those with the disease.

In BMP Films' first scripted project, PEDRO celebrates the extraordinary life of Pedro Zamora, a young man who when he found out he was HIV positive at 17, made the courageous decision to dedicate the rest of his life to speaking out about his condition in an attempt to raise awareness about the disease in his community, even testifying before the United States Congress to argue for more explicit HIV/AIDS educational programs aimed at youth of color before auditioning for The Real World in 1993. His appearance on The Real World brought his story and his message to MTV's youthful audience and beyond, and when Zamora's health began to deteriorate in late 1994 (after he left the show), it became front page news nationwide, and his death at age
22 provoked a worldwide outpouring of grief.

PEDRO is a film by Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland (“Quinceanera”) and was directed by Nick Oceano and written by Dustin Lance Black (“Milk”) with story by Dustin Lance Black and Paris Barclay. PEDRO stars Alex Loynaz as Pedro, Justina Machado (“Six Feet Under”) as Pedro's sister Mily, and Hale Appleman (“Teeth”) as Pedro's roommate from The Real World, Judd.


Presently Showing at the Manor Theater in Squirrel Hill
1729 Murray Avenue, 412-422-7729
Valentino PLGFS is always happy to support gay-themed movies…especially ones that are as well done and colorful as this film is.
*From the FIRST 50 people who send an e-mail to with PLGFS Giveaway in the subject line, two people will be randomly chosen from a drawing to receive free tickets!!

Valentino: The Last Emperor

Rated PG13, 96 minutes

One of the world's most celebrated fashion designers, Valentino Garavani developed an interest in design as a teenager and entered the world of haute couture in the early '50s, working under Jacques Fath, Balenciaga and Jean Desses. In 1959, Valentino opened his own house of fashion in Rome, and he soon became one of the leading lights in European design, known for his trademark shade of red and his clean, stylish lines. With Giancarlo Giammetti, who has been Valentino's business partner and significant other since 1960, the designer built an empire that remained one of the most prestigious in the fashion world until Valentino announced his retirement in the fall of 2007. Filmmaker and journalist Matt Tyrnauer, who has written about Valentino for Vanity Fair, examines the public and private lives of the fashion icon in his documentary Valentino: The Last Emperor. Granted unprecedented access to Valentino's home and office, the film offers an unusual look at his relationship with Giammetti, how his creations are made, his lavish lifestyle, and how changes in the world of haute couture have impacted him. Featuring an original score by Nino Rota, Valentino: The Last Emperor received its North American premiere at the 2008 Toronto Film Festival. – Mark Deming, All Movie Guide


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  • The Film Society is uncomfortable with the Outrage movie because the topic is controversial. They prefer to stick to love stories. Don't expect them to step up on this one.

  • The Film Society supports ALL forms of LGBT film and tries to bring a balance to the Pittsburgh area, mainly through the film festival. The producers of Valentino requested that we help to promote their film and we gladly complied. We were not asked to promote Outrage, nor we we even made aware of the fact that Outrage was coming to Pittsburgh. I have, in fact, been trying to contact the producers about bringing it to the festival in the fall, but they have not replied.
    It is not up to the Film Society to schedule a panel discussion for this film. It is up to the sponsors. If they would like our help, I would be more than glad to lend it. I encourage everyone to go see this film. My understanding is that it is quite controversial and quite good.
    It seems to me that some people have too much time to sit around and complain and maybe should try adding to the community, instead of detracting from it.
    Furthermore, the Film Society has, in fact, already responded to the first post.
    – Mitch Leib
    Programming Director

  • Mitch,
    If you could clarify which of my statements constitute sitting around and complaining, I'd appreciate it. I think my comment was fairly positive — great film, hope it gets support, etc. Your email message used the phrase “chosen to slam the Film Society.” Please elaborate.
    I think that's unfair from an organization whose projects I've promoted dozens of times over the past 3.5 years. Yes, I've offered some constructive criticism, but that hardly constitutes slamming.
    Frankly, I'm tired of individuals who take umbrage with my commentings claiming that I contribute nothing to the community, only detract, etc. That's getting tiresome to read.
    It is also disheartening on my part that a film society would take such a dim view of the free exchange of ideas in mediums other than film.

  • Sue,
    First off, let me say that I was not referring to YOU as a detractor, but the person who was commenting on your post. I know it probably seemed as if I meant you, but that was not the case.
    I also want to publically apologize for some comments in my personal email. I truly misunderstood the spirit of your post and thought you were saying that WE had not responded to you, when in fact, we had. In reality, what you said was that the film makers had not responded. I think I let the other persons comments color what I was reading.
    I greatly appreciate the hard work that you put into your blog and the boost that it gives small organizations like ours. That is why I was so distressed at what I THOUGHT I was reading.
    Like you, I work very hard at my job with the festival and take it very personally when we are criticized. Sometimes this criticism is warranted and we can learn from it – other times, I think it is just mean spirited. And, like you, I get tired of the mean spirited comments. While I have only been program director for a year, I feel that the film festival has done a great job over the years of covering controversy, documentary, drama and comedy. We try to cover ALL of the bases.
    I applaud Pittsburgh Filmmakers for acquiring Outrage. I wish we had gotten there first! I encourage everyone to see the film and we will certainly do our part to promote it. Pittsburgh is a very small town and all of us need to support each other. The negativity just detracts from the work that we are doing.
    I hope that you understand and accept my apology. I think we are really on the same side.
    I have also learned one other thing – and that is to take my own advice and not fire off an email in anger. They are always misinterpreted and rarely effective.
    Mitch Leib
    Programming Director

  • Sue's suggestion about a panel discussion is good. Why can't the Film Festival contact the producers and ask them to put something together? Would it hurt to try? Outing is something I feel iffy about so I'm looking forward to this film. It would be interesting to hear the perspective of Sue and maybe Betty Hill.

  • I think the panel discussion is a great one. I have tried to get in touch with the producers to no avail. I would be willing to try again. I also have to run this past Pgh Film Makers. It is kind of their baby and I would need their permission; though I don't think they would object. This is a very hot subject and I have personal feelings about it both ways. I would be interested to hear more “professional” opinions.
    – Mitch

  • Mitch,
    This is a great idea. Think about inviting someone from the old days of Act UP like Billy Hileman or Jim Fischerkeller to participate. Another interesting person would be a young queer activist like Eli Kuti or Ehrrin Keenan. Rick Allison from the GLCC would be good for mainstream perspective.

  • Shelly,
    That is a great idea for Jim and/or Billy and/or Rick and then some younger people. I do not know Eli or Ehrrin, but I am old!!
    Gary Kaboly of Film Makers and I have been playing phone tag. He said the film runs from the 19-25 at the Harris and if it is successful, it could be held over at Melwood Screening. I am hoping that is the case, because I will be out of town the 19-25. He seemed to be open to the idea of a panel discussion. I am going to pursue this.
    This really is a very charged subject matter and quite an exciting film.
    – Mitch

  • This entire conversation is a good example of how blogs can connect the average person with people who make decisions. Instead of just a movie coming to town, there might be more promotion in the gay community. There might be a panel. There might be people on the panel who were suggested by the community instead of the usual talking heads.
    Yes, people have commented anonymously and I am sure they have good reasons for doing so. But no one turned vicious. Mitch apologized for his mistake, but the conversation wasn't derailed by it.
    Good for the Film Festival and Mitch for making lemonade out of lemons. Consider me impressed with your maturity and your willingness to try something new.
    Note: I would love to see Billy and this sounds like a great topic for him. We need to reconnect with real community leaders. Hope it works out.

  • This doesn't belong here but I can't figure out where to get my answer. Now that the primary is over, will Steel City Democrats endorse Luke Ravenstahl? What happens with the endorsement after the primary? Do they have any meetings coming up?
    I don't mean to be rude, but I mean meetings that are not in a bar. I want to get involved, but I don't go to Cattivo or 5801 for personal reasons. Do they have actual meetings? I looked on their website, but I did not see anything.
    Who do I ask about the endorsement? I would really like that information before I join. I'm not spending $50 to endorse Luke Ravenstahl. He has plenty of money and doesn't need mine.
    If anyone can help me find out this information, thanks.

  • Mitch,
    You are very gracious. Not many people have the consideration to come back and address their original comments.
    I can empathize with the frustration of being criticized. I've had my share of anonymous critics. 🙂 I agree with you about the negativity, but I also think that it taps into frustratons that have no other outlet in the community. We don't have community meetings or opportunities for people to share their concerns. I think that's a big challenge for leaders and organizations — to get people invested in a meaningful constructive way.
    Bringing Outrage to Pittsburgh is a win-win. I am pleased to see some of your ideas for getting involved. The suggestions for a panel discussion are interesting and I think you all would be well positioned to do something constructive in that vein. The Film Society is an important local resource. May I suggest you adopt Twitter as a promotions tool?
    Thanks for reading, Mitch. And thanks for the important work you do with the Film Society. After our telephone conversation, I am looking forward to this year's festival. I may be biased, but I wish other organizations would comment more often at to give the public a chance to engage them in some form.

  • I forwarded your comment to the Steel City board and asked them to respond. I'll publish their response in a separate post. Good questions and, I think, constructive feedback on how to engage the larger community.

  • I spoke to Film Makers and they have agreed to let us schedule a panel discussion after one of the week night showings. The weekends will be diffictult because it will tie up the theater. They also offered a discount to those who mention the film society who come to that showing (not all showings). I really like a lot of the suggestions of men & women and young & older activists – a nice blend and exchange of ideas and perspectives. This could be really great. I'm bummed out that I will have to miss it.
    I will discuss this at our board meeting on Sunday and update everyone.
    – Mitch
    Thanks for the nice words Cindy.

  • Mitch,
    Maybe you could have it filmed and put up on YouTube? That would be a very film society thing to do. I am glad to read about a Pride activity that takes our community back to some of the fundamental political issues of Stonewall. This conversation makes me look at the Film Festival in a new light. I would not have thought you the torch bearers of Stonewall, but it is actually somewhat true, isn't it?

  • I brought up “Outrage” at our board meeting today and while everyone agreed that, whether you are for or against outing, it is was a film worth supporting. Everyone liked the idea of a panel discussion as well. But we also felt that with only a week and a half to go, we really didn't have time to pull this together and make it a good event. Contacting panelists, choosing a moderator and publicizing it and trying to get media coverage would just take more time than we have.
    We will be sending an email blast to all of our patrons telling them of the film and its schedule. Personally, I'm hoping that it is very successful and is held over.
    I know that some of you may be disappointed in our response and some of you may be saying “I told you so”, but I really think we would have made this happen if we had been given more notice.
    – Mitch

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