Filmmakers in Residence

The Tull Family Theater Launches Artists in Residency Program

The Tull Family Theater is honored to introduce a program offering support to individual artists whose work has been interrupted by the pandemic.

This inaugural 12-month Artist in Residency with two experienced filmmakers has been made possible through a grant from Arts | Equity| Reimagined Fund (AER), a regional collaboration of funders supporting the cultural sector.

The Tull Family Theater will host Nadine M. Patterson and Martha Richards Conley, both creatives with impactful bodies of work detailed below. During this residency, Conley and Patterson will advance a docudrama about the under-recognized Black inventor Lewis Latimer, who developed a successful light bulb filament in the 1880s. 

The filmmakers will engage under resourced youth as pre-apprentices in this work, which will layer collaborations with companies in STEM fields. 

“This is how the Theater is responding to the challenges brought by the pandemic,” says Executive Director Carolina Thor. “We are creating initiatives where our support of the cultural sector and the community can intersect.”

Filmmakers in residence are:

Nadine M. Patterson, an award winning independent writer/producer/director with a Master of Arts in filmmaking from the London Film School, focuses on the crossroads of narrative and documentary cinema. She has taught video production/management at many universities, including the University of Western Sydney, Temple and Drexel universities. Her cinematic haiku, We Are Free Because of Harriet Tubman, incorporates the writing and voice of acclaimed poet Sonia Sanchez and made its world premiere at The Tull Family Theater in 2019 alongside the Focus Features production, Harriet

Patterson first worked with The Tull Family Theater shortly after its 2017 opening, organizing the Robert Morris University MoonDocs festivals, which brought Oscar nominated producer Hébert Peck (I Am Not Your Negro) and cinematographer Tom Bergmann (Abacus: Small Enough to Jail) to the Theater. More information on Patterson’s work can be found on the International Movie Data Base, and her documentary Anna Russell Jones: Praisesong for a Pioneering Spirit is part of the new exhibition at the African American Museum in Philadelphia.

The passions of Martha Richards Conley have propelled her into the realms of both law and cinema. The first Black female graduate of the University of Pittsburgh School of Law and the first Black woman admitted to practice law in Allegheny County, Conley has been recognized by the university, the Pitt Law Women’s Association and recently, in a Pittsburgh Post-Gazette commentary. Employed by The United States Steel Corp. for 27 years, Conley retired as the firm’s Senior General Attorney.

Co-chair of Pennsylvanians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty–Pittsburgh, Conley has escorted Nobel Peace Prize Winner and Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu on a death-row visit to Mumia Abu-Jamal. A longtime Official Visitor of the Pennsylvania Prison Society, she discussed this volunteer work in an introduction to Just Mercy, a film about wrongful convictions, at the Theater in 2020.

Conley and Patterson cofounded SIFT 215, the nonprofit collective of Sisters in Film and Television. Conley also served as Assistant Director on Patterson’s 2012 film Tango Macbeth and co-produced Lost in the Hype, a documentary about Pittsburgh’s sports legacy and the impact of stadium financing, particularly on communities of color.

In addition to the Arts | Equity | Reimagined Fund, this initiative is supported by the Raymond C. and Martha S. Suckling Fund of The Pittsburgh Foundation, the A.J. and Sigismunda Palumbo Charitable Trust, the Allegheny County Airport Authority Charitable Foundation and the Theater’s Sustaining Circle.