Three Rivers Film Festival to Feature International Films, Romero’s ‘Creepshow’

That the Trois-Rivières Film Festival still exists is a small wonder. In recent years, the venerable event has been repeatedly scaled back, canceled entirely, resurrected, and then forced through the pandemic.

But the four-decade-old festival continues to evolve. As a result, its programmer, the nonprofit Film Pittsburgh, trimmed the 2022 edition to just 18 features over seven days, down from 32 films last year.

“We were very mindful not to overload people with choice,” said general manager Kathryn Spitz Cohan.

Adrienne Barbeau is one of the stars of George Romero’s “Creepshow,” which premiered on her 40th birthday.

Still, the festival remains a showcase for viewers of Pittsburgh arthouse-style indie films that they can’t see anywhere else (yes, even via streaming). These 18 feature films hail from 10 countries, including France, Argentina, the UK, Italy, Mexico, Ireland and Germany, and they include Oscar nominees for Best International Feature Film. from Belgium and India.

Spitz Cohan said fewer selections means the lineup has the most essential offerings. “The movies we considered overall this year were really strong,” she said. “It was really difficult to reduce this programming to 18 films.”

Most will screen at the Harris Theatre, with several getting a second run at the Tull Family Theatre.

The opening night movie is “Pinball: The Man Who Saved the Game,” a comedy set in the 1970s based on the true story of how pinball was legalized in New York ( where, as in many places, it was once banned as a form of gambling). The film is directed by Austin Bragg and Meredith Bragg; it screens Thursday, November 10 at the Pittsburgh Playhouse and is followed by a party with free-play pinball machines.

Another special feature is the closing party, 40e-anniversary screening of the cult film “Creepshow” by George Romero. Filmed primarily in Pittsburgh (by the guy who made the city synonymous with zombies), this is a comedic horror anthology of five gruesome vignettes, scripted by Stephen King and inspired by legendary EC comics from the 1960s. 1950 as “Tales from the Crypt”.

“George was a big, big fan of comics, so for him to collaborate with Stephen King and do that kind of style really appealed to him,” said Romero’s widow, Suzanne Desrocher-Romero. Desrocher-Romero directs the George A. Romero Foundation, which is co-sponsoring the screening.

“Creepshow” – which briefly claimed the top spot at the box office in 1982 – featured King himself and such luminaries as Hal Holbrook, Adrienne Barbeau, post-“Airplane” Leslie Nielson, and even the Carnegie Institute of Technology Ted Danson (a few months before the premiere of “Cheers”). Pittsburgh effects maestro Tom Savini will be among the film’s cast and crew attending the screening at The Harris for a Q&A with the audience.

Between two feature films like “Last Film Show,” Pan Nalin’s drama about an Indian boy who becomes obsessed with movies and begins a relationship with a projectionist, and “Close” by Belgium’s Lukas Dhont, about the friendship between two young boys.

Other offerings include ‘The Last King’, the latest from acclaimed filmmaker Stephen Frears, starring Sally Hawkins as the real-life writer who has dedicated himself to finding the remains of King Richard III. Another Pittsburgh-related film is Morissa Maltz’s “The Unknown Country,” produced by Pittsburgh-based Laura Heberton, about a grieving young woman on a road trip through the American Midwest.

Four of the 18 films are available for paid online viewing, two of which are only online.

More information about the festival is available here.

Incidentally, the festival is immediately followed by Film Pittsburgh’s annual Pittsburgh Shorts Festival, which features 114 short films from 24 countries. The festival, which runs Nov. 17-20 at the Harris Theater, features three days of sessions for working filmmakers, including a keynote address by Pittsburgh-born actor Joe Manganiello. More information about the Shorts fest here.

Darcy J. Skinner