by Lucy Leitner
Those whose attention has been captured by the epic coverage of last month’s Film Factory Writer’s Pitch will be thrilled to hear about next weekend’s Producer’s Pitch that will surely warrant another “November Rain”-esque write-up.
On April 14th, Chris Moore, Peter Ackerman, and Rusty Cundieff will provide feedback to the six semi-finalists of the Film Factory’s annual screenwriting contest. While the defiantly not-Irish St. Patrick’s Day event featured direct criticism of the scripts themselves, next weekend’s will focus on the feasibility of adapting these short screenplays to film.
Next weekend’s event moves downtown to the George Rowland White Theater at Point Park University where it is less likely of being evacuated due to a bomb threat.
Ackerman has been involved in Steeltown since its inception in 2003, adding to his list of multi-discipline achievements, that include writing screenplays (Ice Age, Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs), plays, radio plays (I’d Rather Eat Pants), and picture books (The Lonely Phone Booth), along with winning a Tony for reviving The Pajama Game on Broadway.
Cundieff, a North Side native, has been on the forefront of racial satire since his appearance as Slave #1/Zombie Pimp in Hollywood Shuffle (the 1985 cult film that apparently connects all Film Factory panelists). He’s also directed hip-hop’s Spinal Tap, the funny and underappreciated Fear of the Black Hat, along with The Wanda Sykes Show and the dearly departed Chappelle’s Show.
Moore is already here to produce the Gus Van Sant-directed Promised Land that stars Matt Damon and Jim from The Office. He has experience in hearing amateur film pitches as he sat on the Film Factory panel last year and served a similar role in HBO’s Project Greenlight.
The finalists are, for the most part, not particularly surprising after the reactions of the Writer’s Pitch panelists. Yulin Kuang’s The Perils of Being Flat Chested seemed a shoo-in, as did Christopher Preksta’s wordless Echo Torch. Scott Peters and Anthony Poremski’s Escape from St. Quentin’s is a welcome, lighthearted addition to the finalists while Nathan Hollanbaugh’s Duplex provides a much-needed psychobitch infusion to the day’s proceedings. Mason Radkoff’s Beginning Chemistry is a bit of a surprise entry, as it did not receive the near-universal praise of the aforementioned finalists. And since Michael Rubino was asked to cut one of the primary characters from his script, Last Will and Laundromat has been presumably much improved prior to advancing.