Dangerous Acts Starring the Unstable Elements of Belarus

Carlow, CMU, Harris Theater, Melwood Screening Room, Regent Square Theater

Through April 11
Various times

Each March, Carnegie Mellon University kicks off its award-winning International Film Festival, which pairs independent works with engaging programming.

Running March 19th through April 11th, the festival’s ninth season turns its lens to the concept of work, with 18 international narrative features, documentaries and shorts exploring this rich and universal theme. This year’s featured films hail from the U.S., Venezuela, India, U.K., China, Poland, Croatia, Sierra Leone, Egypt, Czech Republic, Australia, Belarus and Korea.

Launched in 2006 as a project of Carnegie Mellon’s Humanities Center, the festival serves as a non-academic bridge to the greater Pittsburgh community, presenting contemporary world cinema that focuses on an annual rotating theme and current social issues. Venues for 2015 are: Carlow University, the Harris Theater, Carnegie Mellon, Melwood Screening Room and the Regent Square Theater.

Not to miss are the opening day and night festivities on March 19th, which kick off with a Q&A featuring world-renowned director Jonathan Demme at CMU’s Purnell Center at 4:30 p.m. The festival’s opening screening later that night features Demme’s 2013 film, A Master Builder, at Regent Square Theater. Starring Wallace Shawn, Julie Hagerty and Andre Gregory, the compelling film presents a contemporary twist on Henrik Ibsen’s 1892 play, The Master Builder. Demme will also attend the screening.

Sure to be a highlight is a live performance and Q&A on March 26th at CMU’s McConomy Auditorium. The event focuses on Ryan Murdock’s new film, Bronx Obama, which follows the intriguing story of Obama impersonator Louis Ortiz. Attendees will hear from the director and star and can even pose for a photo with “Obama.”

On Thursday, April 9, the festival welcomes program host Oleg Sidorchik, an actor from the Belarus Free Theatre who currently lives in London after escaping political oppression in his home country. The night will feature a 7:15 p.m. screening of Madeleine Sackler’s 2013 documentary, Dangerous Acts, at  McConomy Auditorium. Incorporating smuggled and uncensored footage of the 2010 Belarus political protests following the re-election of Alexander Lukashenko (dubbed Europe’s last dictator), the powerful film will provide festival-goers with a front row seat to a resistance movement as it unfolds on stage and in the streets. Sidorchik will participate in a post-screening Q&A with the audience.

Additional highlights include Frédéric Tcheng’s 2014 film, Dior and I, which presents a behind-the-scenes look inside the storied world of the famed Christian Dior fashion house. In Peter Fudakowski’s 2014 film, Secret Sharer, viewers will be transported to the South China Sea for a contemporary romantic thriller, while Abhay Kumar’s Placebo chronicles the pressures faced inside one of India’s finest medical schools.

View a complete film festival schedule.

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Jennifer has worked at the Mattress Factory, Brooklyn Museum of Art and Dahesh Museum of Art and is co-author of Pittsburgh Signs Project: 250 Signs of Western Pennsylvania. She also is co-coordinator of Handmade Arcade. Musically, she is in a band called The Garment District and is a founding member of Brooklyn's The Ladybug Transistor.