The Pittsburgh Moving Picture Festival celebrates both the art of cinema and the rich motion picture exhibition tradition of Pittsburgh. Early in the 20th century, Pittsburgh was a worldwide manufacturing leader in iron and, later, steel. The labor requirements to produce such output was enormous, with much of the manpower being supplied by the immigrant populations living in and around the mills.

The need to live close to the mills (given the lack of access to public transportation) combined with the onerous demands placed on the workers (including a 72-hour work week) and the low pay, in many ways limited what leisure activities were available to the people. Local movie theaters emerged to offer a brief respite from the mundane mill-to-home routine. By 1914, it was estimated that there were approximately 200 movie theaters in the Pittsburgh region. Michael Aronson, Nickelodeon City: Pittsburgh at the Movies 1905-1929 (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2008), 15. In essence, the theaters became community meeting places by offering an accessible escape from the drudgery of mill life. In much the same way, cinema still serves as that communal experience for people to come together and be entertained.

The Pittsburgh Moving Picture Festival honors that history by providing exhibition for features and short films from around the world in a world-renowned setting that harkens back to the early 1900’s.

The inaugural Thriller Picture Show in 2022 was held at the Strand Theater, a theater was built in 1914 by Gioachino and Rosalia Sapienza, Italian immigrants hoping to find a new life in Zelienople, PA, just north of Pittsburgh. In the early years, it featured both silent films and vaudeville shows. In 2001, the Strand Theater Initiative purchased the building and has revived it as a first-rate theater and cultural center.

For 2024, the Thriller Picture Show returns to the Lindsay Theater and Cultural Center, in Sewickley, PA. In October 2011, a group of civic leaders identified a resource missing northwest of Pittsburgh: an independent cinema. The nonprofit Village Theater Company formed and fundraising began for construction of a brand-new facility. With the support of Sewickley borough and hundreds of families, the nonprofit opened in February 2017 with a gift from The Tull Family Foundation as The Tull Family Theater. On January 1, 2023, the theater changed names, and as a 501(c)(3) Pennsylvania nonprofit, exists to serve the public. Ticket sales are reinvested in programming and operations.

The Pittsburgh Moving Picture Festival aims to provide a theatrical opportunity for independent film in a setting that reflects both the history and the prestige of cinematic exhibition.

Best Narrative Feature & Best Short Film (30 minutes or less) in each category
Individual Acting Performances

Science Fiction
Dark Comedy

There is no limit on the number of films you can submit; however, each film submitted by you must be original and different from any other film submitted by you and accompanied by its own completed submission form and participant agreement. Films must be in English or subtitled in English and must be submitted via the FilmFreeway platform. All eligible entries received by The Pittsburgh Moving Picture Festival will be judged by The Pittsburgh Moving Picture Festival selection committee. The Pittsburgh Moving Picture Festival reserves the right to disqualify or reject any film that it determines, in its sole and absolute discretion, to contain prohibited content or is offensive, inappropriate or otherwise unacceptable.

By submitting your film for consideration to The Pittsburgh Moving Picture Festival, you agree that you possess the rights to all visual elements and sound, including music, in your film and you allow The Pittsburgh Moving Picture Festival to screen your film, if it becomes an official selection of the festival.

The festival reserves the right to postpone or cancel the event at anytime for any reason with no obligation to offer refunds or reimbursement of costs for any expenses filmmakers may have had associated with the festival including but not limited to travel, marketing materials, DCP and movie files delivery, and ticket purchases.

Employees (and their immediate families (parent, spouse, child, sibling and their respective spouses, regardless of where they reside) and those living in their same households, whether or not related) of The Pittsburgh Moving Picture Festival and any of their respective parents, affiliates, subsidiaries and advertising and promotion agencies or festival sponsors, are not eligible to enter films for competition.

Not every picture selected as an Official Selection will be screened during the live event.

It is the responsibility of the filmmaker to clear all rights before your film screens at the festival. By submitting a film, the filmmaker acknowledges that they have secured all applicable licenses and waivers of copyrights, moral rights, trademarks and any intellectual property rights.
The individual or corporation submitting the film hereby warrants that it is authorized to commit the film for screening and understands and accepts these requirements and regulations.
The submitter shall indemnify and hold harmless the PITTSBURGH MOVING PICTURE FESTIVAL: THRILLER PICTURE SHOW from and against any and all claims, liabilities, losses, damages and expenses (including but not limited to attorney's fees and costs of the court) which may be incurred by reason of any claim involving copyright, trademark, credits, publicity, screening, and loss of or damage to the screening videos entered.

Overall Rating
  • Thank you for including our film in the festival, although we were unable to attend the festival, the communication was great and the organizers were responsive and kind. Thanks again!

    March 2024
  • Malcolm Goodwin

    Thank you Pittsburgh Moving Picture Festival Committees for selecting our film and representing on our behalf - Krause Cruz

    December 2023
  • Thank you for the nomination!

    November 2023
  • Ted Barnette

    I am honored my short film, The Devil's Tromping Ground, received a nomination from this festival.

    October 2023
  • Ben Zuk

    While I unfortunately could not personally attend the event, my mother and assorted family members did and said they had a great time. They said the technical presentation was great and that the lineup of films was strong. Thank you so much to the festival programmers for giving us four awards (Best Horror, directing, cinematography, and editing). Looking forward to hearing about next year's event.

    October 2023