Promised Land Producer Chris Moore Leads Panel at the Steeltown Film Factory


On May 12, the winner(s) of the ‘12 Film Factory competition will be awarded inaugural  “Ellen Weiss Kander Award” which includes up to $30,000 to make their short film in Pittsburgh.

Pittsburgh, PA (April)— On Saturday, May 12, 2012, the Steeltown Film Factory will award up to $30,000 to the winner(s) of the ’12 Film Factory Competition to produce their own short film in Pittsburgh. This special event will take place at 11 a.m. (doors open at 10:30 a.m.) at Carnegie Mellon University’s Rauh Theater and will also feature the announcement of the first annual Ellen Weiss Kander Award. The Award honors Steeltown co-founder and founding executive director Ellen Weiss Kander, who tireless work towards the unlikely dream of making Pittsburgh a player in the entertainment industry has in many ways come to fruition, and, through the Film Factory is helping the region’s emerging talent achieve their dreams right here in Southwestern Pennsylvania.

This year’s Film Factory final scripts include: Echo Torch, by Chris Preksta, creator of the SyFy web series The Mercury Men and YouTube sensation Pittsburgh Dad; Perils of Being Flat Chested by CMU senior Yulin Kuang, whose 2011 Film Factory submission is now in production; and Escape from St. Quentin’s by Scott Peters and Anthony Poremski, both newcomers to the Film Factory scene. These finalists’ scripts will be read by students from CMU’s prestigious Drama School and judged by a panel of top Hollywood professionals including Good Will Hunting and American Reunion producer Chris Moore, who judged the Film Factory last year and is now in town producing Promised Land, starring Matt Damon and directed by Gus Van Sant. Moore also produced and starred in the Emmy-Nominated HBO series Project Greenlight with Matt Damon and Ben Affleck which gave $1 million to first-time filmmakers. While the Film Factory gives away a more modest $30,000, it has become an increasingly influential force connecting Pittsburgh and Hollywood.

Tickets are $15 for general admission, $5 for students, and are available online at  As the Film Factory panels have become highly anticipated events and previous workshops have sold out, it is advised that anyone interested in attending purchase their tickets soon.

And at 7 p.m. on Monday, April 30, the Hollywood Theater will present a specialcommunity screening of The People Speak, a documentary film produced by Chris Moore and Steeltown Film Factory producer and Dormont native Lisa Smith-Reed. A Q&A with Moore and Smith-Reed will follow the screening.

The People Speak is a moving film inspired by the work of American historian Howard Zinn (A People’s History of the United States; Voices of a People’s History of the United States). The film features Matt Damon, Morgan Freeman, Marisa Tomei, Bob Dylan, and many others. Tickets are $7 for adults, $5 for children and seniors, and can be purchased at the door. Questions should be directed to the Hollywood Theater at: or 412-563-0368.

About Steeltown Entertainment Project

“Entertainment Could Be Pittsburgh’s New Steel” -Ellen Weiss Kander, Co-Founder, Steeltown Entertainment Project

The Steeltown Entertainment Project is a non-profit that was co-founded in 2003 by Wall Street attorney Ellen Weiss Kander, Roseanne and Ellen writer/producer Maxine Lapiduss, and St. Elmo’s Fire screenwriter and Saved By the Bell writer/producer Carl Kurlander with the mission to build a vibrant and sustainable entertainment industry in Southwestern Pennsylvania. In 2003, as founding executive director, Ellen worked to assemble a prestigious group of Pittsburgh expatriate entertainment professionals who joined together at the “Steeltown Entertainment Summit” to discuss how they could give back to the city that had nurtured their talents and dreams. What everyone agreed on and felt passionately about was the idea of hosting Pittsburgh’s own Project Greenlight, a Film Factory of sorts through which they could mentor emerging talent.

The first funds for the Film Factory were raised by Kander Weiss at the sold out Pittsburgh Premiere of George Romero’s Land of the Dead, produced by longtime Steeltown advisers Bernie Goldmann who had met George Romero at the Steeltown Summit. Bernie also was featured in the Steeltown produced “Pittsburgh: Hollywood’s Best Kept Secret” along with Chicago director Rob Marshall, Oscar-winner Shirley Jones, Jim Carrey and Ellen DeGeneres manager Eric Gold, Two and a Half Men director Jamies Widdoes, and many others Pittsburgh expatriates talking about Pittsburgh’s potential to become a player in the entertainment industry. Thanks to the efforts of many, it is obvious that that “secret” is out, as films and television increasingly are produced in the region and Pittsburgh is being called “Hollywood of the East.”

Steeltown’s program and activities continue to strategically help build a creative ecosystem in Southwestern PA to help the region become a a leader of the digital age as it once was of the industrial age. It does this through INFORMING people about the industry through programs like “Take A Shot At Changing The World” a digital media initiative which gives over $10,000 in prizes to middle school and high school students “who make a movie and make a difference”; IDENTIFYING talent and projects by connecting emerging talent in the region to industry professionals through the Film Factory; INCUBATING promising commercial projects through the Pittsburgh Innovative Media Incubator with WQED; and INVESTING in co—productions with Hollywood building on its successful model it did with the Steeltown/Hatchery “R.L. Stine: Don’t Think About It” film which not only shot here, but now has residuals being used to set up a regional investment fund. The ultimate aim is to IGNITE the entertainment Industry in Pittsburgh and beyond. Visit


Carl Kurlander, Executive Producer
Steeltown Film Factory

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