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Ross Thomas Winner of Steeltown Entertainment's Film Factory Contest

After Months of competition the winners have been announced and the grand prize of $25,000 has been awarded to two very talented and different filmmakers....one of whom is ROSS THOMAS for his script, Anywhere But Here. He will be directing and producing the movie this summer!!!!!! The premier will be at The Three Rivers Film Festival in October 2010.
It started with filmmakers submitting their short scripts to a panel of Hollywood luminaries who have one thing in common...they were all brought up in Pittsburgh PA. Odd you might say, but not really. Pittsburgh has nurtured more creatives than most other cities. See The Pittsburgh List.

Pittsburgh List http://www.steeltown.org/pittsburgh_list.pdf.

So, In order to encourage these notables to come back to Pittsburgh and nurture production there, a wonderful screenwriter, producer, director and man of all seasons decided to do it first. Carl Kurlander moved his family from a very lush Hollywood lifestyle to Pittsburgh, started teaching Film Studies at the University of Pittsburgh and founded, with Ellen Weiss Kander and Stephanie D'Engle the Steeltown Film Organization. What has followed is nothing short of phenominal. Carl wrote and produced My Tale of Two Cities, a movie recounting Carl's and Pittsburgh's comeback stories and birthed the Steeltown Film Factory

As reported in Forbes, USA Today, Reuters, Hollywoodindustry, streetinsider and other publications:
The Steeltown FILM FACTORY Is Now Open!

Film Ideas, Learn From Pros

PITTSBURGH, Nov. 18 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Everyone dreams about writing that big Hollywood movie, but now Pittsburghers are getting their chance thanks to the Steeltown FILM FACTORY. Aspiring filmmakers can win a $25,000 production prize by submitting a 10-12 page Pittsburgh-inspired screenplay and learning how the film business truly works from some of the top producers, directors, executives, editors, and actors working in film and television. The deadline for submissions is December 31, 2009.

On November 7, 2009, the first panel discussion for the FILM FACTORY was held at Pittsburgh Filmmakers' Melwood Screening Room and was moderated by Steeltown's co-founder, Pitt professor and screenwriter Carl Kurlander ("St. Elmo's Fire," "My Tale of Two Cities"). Amidst Oscar buzz, panelist Geoffrey Fletcher, screenwriter for "Precious," gave an inspiring account of the many years he struggled before this breakthrough project and reminded the audience of how important it is to write from your own unique voice. This message was reinforced by fellow panelists including working Hollywood screenwriter Rob Lieber ("Septimus Heap: MAGYK"), who described selling his first screenplay out of his NYU college dorm and learning the ropes of being a studio writer; University of Pittsburgh alumna Lauren Elmer of Sony Pictures Classics Acquisitions, who gave the prospective screenwriters an idea of what studios look for in scripts; as well as local screenwriters Stephanie Lord (Academy Award winner of the Nicholl's Fellowship in Screenwriting) and Janyce Lapore, Action on Film International Film Festival's Best Screenplay award winner for "Screaming My Heart Out."

For the Steeltown FILM FACTORY, local students and aspiring filmmakers are asked to submit screenplays and take their shot at winning the $25,000 total prize package. The prize will be used to produce the selected one to three short films, with the funds being divided and awarded at the discretion of the judges. Applicants are required to submit a 10-12 page screenplay for consideration through the competition website at www.SteeltownFilmFactory.org by December 31, 2009. The winning film or films will be produced in the SWPA region during Summer 2010 and screened at the 2010 Three Rivers Film Festival.

The Steeltown FILM FACTORY seeks to connect talent in Southwestern Pennsylvania with entertainment professionals from LA, NY, and Pittsburgh. The ever-expanding list of talented, well-known entertainment professionals, many with SWPA ties, who have signed on to review the submissions and participate on panels includes:

-- Peter Ackerman, Writer, "Ice Age"
-- David Conrad, Actor, "Ghost Whisperer," "Wedding Crashers"
-- Doug Crise, Editor, "Babel"
-- David Dalessandro, Writer, "Snakes on a Plane"
-- John Dellaverson, Lionsgate Executive, Producer, "Diary of a Mad Black
-- Faith Dickinson, Executive Director, Women in Film and Media Pittsburgh
-- Todd Eckert, Producer, "Control"
-- Lucy Fisher, Director of Film Studies, University of Pittsburgh
-- Asher Garfinkel, President, Readers Unlimited, Author, "Screenplay Story
Analysis: The Art & Business"
-- Bernie Goldmann, Producer, "300"
-- Rick Hawkins, TV writer/producer, "The Wayans Brothers," "Carol Burnett
Show," and Point Park University screenwriting professor
-- David Hollander, Writer/Producer, "The Cleaner," "The Guardian"
-- Charlie Humphrey, Executive Director, Pittsburgh Filmmakers
-- Dawn Keezer, Executive Director, Pittsburgh Film Office
-- Mark Knobil, Cinematographer, "The Bread My Sweet," "My Tale of Two
-- Rob Leiber, Screenwriter, Universal Studios, Paramount Pictures, New
Line Cinema, MGM
-- Melissa Martin, Writer/Director, "The Bread My Sweet"
-- Jeff Monohan, President, 72nd St. Films
-- Shirley Saldamarco, Owner, Interactive Media Productions
-- Harish Saluja, Executive Director; Silk Screen Film Festival,
Writer/Director "The Journey"
-- Marty Schiff, Actor, "Dawn of the Dead," "Creepshow"
-- Minette Seate, Senior Producer, WQED Pittsburgh's "OnQ"

-- John Yost, CEO/President, Mogul Mind Studios, Actor; "The Korean"
The competition will continue to grow as more advisors sign on and screenplays begin to come in. After submissions are received and reviewed by the judges, Carnegie Mellon University's School of Drama students will perform staged readings of the ten (10) semi-finalist works on Saturday, January 30, 2010 during the FILM FACTORY'S next public event. This event, and others planned for February and March, offers the public, as well as the competitors, the opportunity to learn from entertainment professionals how to navigate the process of creating a well-received and commercially viable short film.


"The Steeltown Entertainment Project connects entertainment professionals, with Southwestern Pennsylvania (SWPA) ties, to projects, people and partnerships in order to support and invest in the socially and commercially significant film and media industry of the Pittsburgh region."

Steeltown accomplishes its mission by educating emerging talent through intensive mentoring experiences, and fostering economic development by nurturing and seeding entertainment projects that will provide employment and investment opportunities. By connecting local resources with filmmakers and agents active in the national film industry, Steeltown is helping to establish Southwestern Pennsylvania's entertainment economy. This economy will help to market the region in a unique and powerful way, attract and retain talent, and jump-start a dynamic industry that will ultimately provide a robust return on the region's investments.

Since its formation, Steeltown has recruited over 40 former Pittsburghers who are now successful filmmakers in New York and Los Angeles to serve as Steeltown advisors. Steeltown has endeavored to have them bring their film and television productions to the Pittsburgh region, and has, in collaboration with the student organization, Pitt-in-Hollywood, presented over 30 speakers from the entertainment industry at local events.

A BRIEF HISTORY From Steeltown Film Factory

2003 - Steeltown produced the first ever Pittsburgh Entertainment Summit, which was held at WQED and the Andy Warhol Museum. Steeltown's advisors from the national film industry met with local civic leaders and the cultural community to discuss Hollywood's decision making processes in order to identify strategies to make this region more competitive for their film and television productions. Entertainment expatriates who participated in the Summit included Chicago director Rob Marshall, Jim Carrey's manager, Eric Gold, director Jamie Widdoes ("Two and a Half Men"), producer Bernie Goldmann ("300"), and television series creator Terri Minsky ("Lizzie McGuire"). The Summit included public events at WQED and the Andy Warhol Museum that were attended by more than 500 people from a diverse cross-section of the region.

Steeltown also worked with WQED/OnQ to co-produce a Mid-Atlantic Emmy-nominated one-hour television special, "Pittsburgh: Hollywood's Best Kept Secret," which allowed a wider audience to witness the dialogue that occurred at the Summit. It explored the region's rich cultural history and included interviews with the Summit's expatriate attendees, including producer John Wells ("E.R.") and actress Shirley Jones ("Oklahoma," "Carousel"). The Summit and the television special utilized the volunteer efforts of over thirty film students and local filmmakers.

2005 - With the help of producers Bernie Goldmann and George Romero, Steeltown hosted a premiere of Romero's "Land of the Dead," which sold out the Byham Theater and raised funds for the Steeltown Film Factory. The event attracted such prominent filmmakers as Quentin Tarantino ("Pulp Fiction," "Kill Bill") and Robert Rodriguez ("Sin City," "Spy Kids"), and was declared by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette to be "as close to a love-fest as Pittsburgh gets without sports being involved."

2006 - Supported by special effects wizard and Steeltown adviser, Greg Nicotero ("Land of the Dead"), Steeltown attracted The Hatchery, an LA based entertainment company, to Pittsburgh to film best-selling author of "Goosebumps", R.L. Stine's "Don't Think About It." Steeltown raised over $900,000 for this project with one-third equity interest. The production, available on DVD, aired on Cartoon Network, resulted in over $2.16 million of spending in SWPA, employed 115 local residents, and used of support services such as catering, wardrobe, equipment rentals, hotels, and restaurants. To date, Steeltown has earned back over $250,000 from its partner with Universal Studios, California-based production company The Hatchery, making this a model of non-profit sustainability.

2007 - Steeltown brought New Castle native John Dellaverson, Chairman of Lionsgate Entertainment (Hollywood's premier independent studio), to Pennsylvania to meet with film students, government officials, foundations, and potential investors. Dellaverson, through Cinegate and Lionsgate ("Crash," "American Psycho"), had helped to spur growth in tax incentivized film productions in Canada, and New Mexico which lead to increases from $5 million to $450 million a year. He then helped to convince Governor Rendell to pass similar Film Industry Tax Incentive legislation in Pennsylvania, a measure that has had significant economic impact on the region. It has increased film related spending in SWPA to over $78 million since July 2007 and has contributed to the growth in jobs and ancillary services.

2008 - Steeltown partnered with Visit Pittsburgh & 1905 Productions for the premiere of "My Tale of Two Cities" produced by Steeltown's Carl Kurlander at the Sonoma Valley Film Festival. Its Pittsburgh premiere at the Byham Theater during Homecoming Week sold out, raising much-needed funds for Steeltown's Youth and Media Initiative and its pilot program at Holy Family Institute. It organized a fundraiser for the Pittsburgh premiere of "Bottle Shock" produced by Pittsburgh native Marc Lhormer, and partnered with Allegheny Conference on Community Development to celebrate "Pittsburgh 250."

2009 - Steeltown Entertainment Project and Pittsburgh Filmmakers began collaborating to launch the Steeltown Film Factory. As part of this collaboration, Pittsburgh Filmmakers will provide Steeltown with editing facilities, office space, library access, and screening rooms to further the goals of the Film Factory and premiere the Film factory as part of the 2009 Three Rivers Film Festival.

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