Steeltown Film Factory down to 3, sets April 26 auditions for staged readings

Written by Barbara Vancheri on .


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And then there were three. 
Steeltown Entertainment Project’s Film Factory is down to three contenders, with the winner to be chosen May 17 at Point Park University. 
They are:  Stephen Knezovich, a fifth-generation Pittsburgher and visual artist who holds a master of fine arts and whose project is titled “Franksgiving”; Julie Jigour, a California native pursuing a master of fine arts in dramatic writing at Carnegie Mellon University, “Rainy Days”; and Randy Kovitz, adjunct faculty instructor, actor and writer-director of short films whose project is titled “The Beat Goes On.” 
They emerged from a field of 200, which had been whittled to five a few weeks ago.
On May 17, their scripts will be read in front of an audience and judges Lauren Elmer, head of post-production for A24 Films; Daniel Hoyos, independent film producer and director of the Seattle Shorts Film Festival; and Kristen Bell (not the actress), director of the Austin-based Fantastic Fest. 
The winner of the Ellen Weiss Kander Award will receive up to $30,000, a premiere of their work at the Three Rivers Film Festival and a trip to Hollywood. The honor is named for the Squirrel Hill resident who co-founded the Steeltown Entertainment Project and died in 2012 after battling liver cancer.
A reception for the filmmaking community, along with anyone interested in learning more about the industry, will be held at Point Park immediately after the May 17 event. 
In a new twist, Steeltown will hold an open casting call from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday (April 26)  at Point Park’s GRW Theatre, 414 Wood St., to find actors and actresses for the May 17 table reads. Hopefuls are asked to be prepared to deliver a one- to two-minute monologue of their choice; they will not be paid for May 17 but will be if hired later. 
Another innovation this year: Steeltown’s Community Showcase, an online resource allowing the public to vote for the best script for a week starting May 17. The winner will receive a $5,000 grant. 
Tickets for the May 17 event, $15 for adults and $5 for students, are available through or by calling 412-251-0890. 
This year’s competition will coincide with the Women in Film and Television International Summit attracting such influential players as “Twilight” director Catherine Hardwicke, CNN anchor and correspondent Martin Savidge, and “Ghost Whisperer” executive producer Kim Moses. 


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