Filmmakers in Residence & Friends Festival

The Tull Family Theater Introduces Filmmakers in Residence & Friends Festival

The Tull Family Theater will host its inaugural Filmmakers in Residence & Friends Festival from Friday, Feb. 18, through Thursday, Feb. 24, as part of the nonprofit’s programming surrounding Black History Month.

The event will feature cinematic works of Filmmakers in Residence and their invited colleagues.

Dates, titles and tickets below, with a description of each work following:

Friday, Feb. 18
4:30 p.m.

Moving with the Dreaming – 29 min
I Am a Man – 6 min
BLACK BALLERINA – 55 min
Black Male Experience – 23 min

Saturday, Feb 19
1:30 pm

Tango Macbeth – 1hr 13min
We Are Free Because of Harriet Tubman – 5min
Black Male Experience – 23min

Sunday, Feb. 20
1:00 p.m.
2:20 p.m. Directors’ talkback

We Are Free Because of Harriet Tubman – 5min
Lost in the Hype – 45min
I Am a Man – 6min
Jewels of Kandahar: The Women Speak – 24min

Monday, Feb. 21
7:00 p.m.

Tango Macbeth – 1hr 13min
Black Male Experience – 23min
Jewels of Kandahar: The Women Speak – 24min

Tuesday, Feb. 22
1:00 p.m.

Lost in the Hype – 45min
We Are Free Because of Harriet Tubman – 5min
Moving with the Dreaming – 29min
I am a Man – 6min

Wednesday, Feb. 23
4:15 p.m.

Jewels of Kandahar: The Women Speak – 24min
Black Male Experience – 23min
BLACK BALLERINA – 55min

Thursday, Feb. 24
4:15 p.m.

Tango Macbeth – 1hr 13min
I Am a Man – 6min
Lost in the Hype – 45min

Lost in the Hype, a documentary produced by Martha Conley and colleague Aisha White, explores Pittsburgh’s legacy at the intersection of race and sport. Completed in 2009, the  film gains renewed relevance in light of former Miami Dolphin head coach Brian Flores’ recent racial discrimination suit against the NFL.

Tango Macbeth, a docudrama/comedy written and directed by Nadine Patterson, follows a rehearsal of a Macbeth staging as the play action dovetails with the cast’s rehearsal.

Moving with the Dreaming illustrates cross-cultural collaboration between African Americans and Aboriginal and Islander Australians in modern dance and social activism. Nadine Patterson directed this winner of a Prized Pieces award of the National Black Programming Consortium 1997.

The 5-minute cinematic haiku We Are Free Because of Harriet Tubman bursts with history and emotion. Directed by Nadine Patterson and featuring footage of her family farm in Eastern Maryland, likely on Tubman’s route North, the work is written and narrated by acclaimed poet and Black Studies leader Sonia Sanchez. The Tull Family Theater was honored to host this artistic film’s world premiere alongside the 2019 Focus Features film Harriet.

BLACK BALLERINA, carried by more than 200 PBS affiliates, is set in the overwhelmingly white world of classical dance. The documentary, directed by Frances McElroy and produced by Nadine Patterson, shares the stories of generations of Black ballerinas who face racism, exclusion and unequal opportunity while pursuing their dreams. Archival images and interviews with Joan Myers Brown, Phildanco founder; Ashley Murphy, Dance Theatre of Harlem; the late Raven Wilkinson, Ballet Russe; and others explore how challenges of the past still exist.

Jewels on Kandahar: The Women Speak, with Kalpana Biswas as writer, director, producer and cinematographer, shares how Afghan widows from war-torn Kandahar, the birthplace of the Taliban, break religious and social taboos propelled by their primordial need to save their children. Biswas shares how they venture into a world fraught with extreme danger, banking on their storied resilience and sisterhood to navigate an uncertain future.

Black Male Experience, directed by Thomas Poole, a montage of recollections by Black men of Pittsburgh, documents the experiences of men of color from different walks of life.

I Am a Man, Thomas Poole’s lyrical 6-minute short, examines how an uncle passes along his wisdom to his nephew in a video adaptation of scholar Jelani Cobb’s essay.

The Theater’s Filmmakers in Residence program launched last spring, funded in part by Arts | Equity | Reimagined, in support of underrepresented independent filmmakers who were hard hit by pandemic shutdowns. Since then, Nadine Patterson and Martha Conley have advanced their work, further developing the script after meeting with the Latimer family, scouting locations, and progressing with the soundtrack for The Unknown Tales of Lewis and Mary Latimer.

Nadine M. Patterson, an award-winning independent writer/producer/director who has taught video production/production management at the University of Western Sydney, and Robert Morris, West Chester, Temple, Arcadia and Drexel universities.

Martha Richards Conley, the first Black woman to graduate from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law and to be admitted to legal practice in Allegheny County; her career as Senior General Attorney for The United States Steel Corp. (now retired) propels her interest in producing justice-driven films.

The Filmmakers in Residence have invited colleagues Kalpana Biswas, long active in Women in Film and Media Pittsburgh, whose work focuses on gender issues; and Thomas Poole, whose work includes the groundbreaking television series Not Channel Zero, a look at the Black arts and social movements of the 1990s.

On Sunday, Feb. 20, the Festival will include a free Talkback and Q&A session at approximately 2:20 p.m. (after the 1 p.m. screening), with Conley and Biswas at the Theater and Patterson joining virtually.

All Festival ticket sales will benefit the Filmmakers’ in Residence latest project in development, The Unknown Tales of Lewis & Mary Latimer, a docudrama about historically omitted Black inventor Lewis Latimer that already has attracted interest from a PBS affiliate.