With the recent G-20 Summit casting its light on the story of Pittsburgh as a model for post-industrial rebirth, a small, but heartfelt and hopeful movie,
is picking up some grassroots support at screenings across this country. The film tells the tale not only of Pittsburgh's inspiring comeback, but of a personal journey to which many can relate about coming home and learning from and moving on from our pasts. My Tale of Two Cities
The film, which has received national attention in the
Washington Post, , and on USA Today , addresses themes that many cities and people are experiencing these days --- from why we chose to live where we do, to how both people and communities going through tough times can redefine who they are. The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer is told through the eyes of screenwriter ( My Tale of Two Cities ) and TV writer/producer ( St. Elmo's Fire ) Carl Kurlander, who found himself on Saved By The Bell , for leaving Hollywood to move back to his hometown of Pittsburgh. But soon after Carl and his wife Natalie told Oprah how happy they were raising their daughter in what is quite literally Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, Pittsburgh loses its favorite neighbor, Fred Rogers, and the city itself goes bankrupt. The Oprah Winfrey Show
On an almost Don Quixote quest to help his hometown, Kurlander-- armed with a cranky cameraman, funded by his dermatologist, and often battling his wife, who longs to return to the sunny West Coast--asks his neighbors, from the famous (Steeler legend Franco Harris, Teresa Heinz Kerry) to the not-so-famous (his old gym teacher and the girl who inspired
) how this once great industrial giant, which built America with its steel, conquered polio and invented everything from aluminum to the Big Mac, can reinvent itself for a new age. St. Elmo's Fire
Like Pittsburgh, Kurlander struggles with self-image issues that give the film a charming, self-deprecating humor: Carl's reunites with a girl who beat him up from his childhood; catches a catfish from Pittsburgh's once polluted rivers with his brother (which leads to a visit to famed coroner Dr. Cyril Wecht's morgue to see if they will live); and offers to buy cheese for Teresa Heinz Kerry at a downtown shop only to watch her accumulate a very sizable basket of cheese that threatens to break the film's budget.
But along the way, there is some true wisdom dispensed by the neighbors: Ms. Heinz Kerry quotes her late husband John Heinz about how "sometimes our biggest problems become our biggest opportunities;" Carl's old gym teacher talks about how both people and cities too often try to hold on too long to their old glory days; and Andy Warhol's nephew, Marty Warhola, who owns a scrap yard blocks from the Warhol Museum, speculates about what Uncle Andy would have become if he had stayed in his hometown of Pittsburgh.
Some of the most touching moments come from Fred Rogers' wife Joanne and his longtime delivery man Mr. McFeely who remind us that Mister Rogers' Neighborhood really still exists. But as Pittsburgh and Kurlander's stories become increasingly entwined, it is an honest, raw scene with Carl's mother who had dramatically left Pittsburgh during his childhood, that leads to the film's catharsis--pointing out that sometimes to move on with our futures, both communities and people have to let go of their pasts, and learn to believe in themselves.
This hopeful, timely, and surprisingly feel-good film has delighted audiences everywhere, having premiered at the Sonoma Valley Film Festival, opened the Three Rivers Film Festival, sold out 1300 seats at The Byham Theater (where it received a standing ovation), and played at Tribeca Cinemas in New York, AFI Silver Theater in the D.C. area, the Annual MENSA convention, the International Downtown Association's 55th Annual Convention in Milwaukee, and various theaters across Western Pennsylvania. It has recently been picked up by Panorama Entertainment and hopes to be coming to a theater near you soon.
To arrange a screening in your neighborhood or for your organization, please contact Stephanie at firstname.lastname@example.org.
HELP US SPREAD THE WORD:
Please join this to help us spread the word about the movie. And tell your friends and family about it. FACEBOOK GROUP for "My Tale of Two Cities"
LISTEN TO THE INTERVIEW ON "LAKE EFFECT" on MILWAUKEE PUBLIC RADIO ABOUT "My Tale of Two Cities" and rust belt cities reinventing themselves by clicking here.
The Washington Post mentions "My Tale of Two Cities" in its article on " Also, read this Newsweek article: " Pittsburgh Shows How Rust Belt Can Be Polished Up" " Pittsburgh shows other countries visiting it for the G20 how postindustrial America can still bounce back.
Visit the NEW
Pittsburgh Comeback Story Blog.
DVDS of "My Tale of Two Cities" DVD are also available online at
www.filmbaby.com and at Joseph Beth Booksellers on the South Side, Borders in East Liberty/Shadyside, The Pleasant Present in Squirrel Hill, Kards Unlimited in Shadyside, Dreaming Ant DVD in Bloomfield, The Heinz History Center, HeidiOptics in Downtown Pittsburgh, the Sewickley Public Library, . and online at the PG Store
WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING:
"Whether you're a boomerang, comeback kid, recent transplant, or dyed-in-the-wool Burgher, you won't want to miss "My Tale of Two Cities," the much-buzzed about new film by screenwriter Carl Kurlander, which proves once and for all, that yes, you can go home again. With 1,300 people packing the film's sold-out debut (and delivering a standing ovation!),... ("My Tale of Two Cities" is)... a sort of collective cinematic homecoming for Pittsburghers everywhere... the film stars beloved local icons like Franco Harris and Mr. McFeely, and traces the city's storied role in building America's steel, conquering polio, and inventing everything from aluminum to the Big Mac. A classic comeback tale for a town in transition, the film follows the witty and charming Kurlander as he tosses a football with Franco Harris, shops with Teresa Heinz Kerry, has breakfast with Paul O' Neill, and ponders the time honored question: Can you go home again? Dubbed a "funny valentine to Pittsburgh,"... you know you'll cry black and gold tears as Pittsburghers from Times Square to Beverly Hills to Point State Park sing in unison to the city's anthem, "Won't You Be My Neighbor?" Pop City Media. St. Elmo's Fire
-- Jennifer Baron, Pop City Media
Read the full article here: and check out Love Letter to the Burgh t and he Pittsburgh Post-Gazette articles on "My Tale Of Two Cities" in our NEWS SECTION. USA Today
Talk about a "comeback story." Despite the economic headlines, there are over 20,000 jobs listed in the Pittsburgh region at
RECENT PIECES ON NPR, CNN, THE AP, AND THE NEW YORK TIMES ABOUT THE PITTSBURGH COMEBACK STORY AS A MODEL FOR THE NATION:
Wall Street Journal
Pittsburgh Scores the G20 Summit
"Factory and auto towns shift gears"
"Despite recession, Pittsburgh on a building boom"
Randi Kaye of Anderson 360 on CNN:
"Can Pittsburgh Save Detroit?
New York Times:
The Greening of Pittsburgh
The "My Tale of Two Cities" SOUNDTRACK FEATURING SOME OF PITTSBURGH'S FINEST MUSICIANS, INCLUDING DONORA'S GREAT COVER OF FRED ROGERS' "IT'S SUCH A GOOD FEELING" IS AVAILABLE NOW AT CD BABY.
. CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO SOME SAMPLES
We hope you enjoy this film that proves "it's never too late to come back" and that the whole world really is "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood."