AP Photo/Ernest K. Bennett. From Agents of Change by Abby Ginzberg and Frank Dawson (2014).

August Wilson Center
February 2426
Various times

A powerful portrait of a 14-year-old girl living in remote Ghana. A documentary about the pioneering L.A. Rebellion film movement. A seminal, 1970s feature starring renowned comedian Richard Pryor in three distinct roles.

Pittsburgh Cultural Trust
Courtesy Pittsburgh Cultural Trust.

These are just a few of the many compelling films that are on tap for the first-of-it-kind Black Bottom Film Festival (BBFF) taking place this weekend at the August Wilson Center.

Packed with three days of screenings and complementary programming, the first annual event boasts four feature-length films, three documentaries, five shorts, a contemporary podcast, Q&A sessions, and an awards ceremony.

Highlighting African-American contributions to the silver screen, the festival will explore reoccurring themes of spirituality, family conflict, race and working class struggles. These themes, along with accompanying programs, provide a thoughtful parallel to the work of legendary playwright and Pittsburgh native August Wilson.

For its inaugural presentation, the BBFF will also celebrate and honor the life and legacy award-winning filmmaker Michael Schultz, who will lead a Q&A and receive The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust’s Award for Cinematic Excellence. Born in Milwaukee in 1938, Schultz paved the way for directors of color after becoming one of the first African-American directors hired by the major studios. With a highly influential career spanning four decades, Schultz has directed feature films, children’s programs and episodes of hit television’s shows like Blackish, New Girl and Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. The BBFF will screen two of Schultz’s acclaimed films and include a cinematic retrospective.

Two Trains Runnin’
Two Trains Runnin’, Sam Pollard (2016).

With a lineup that includes timeless classics, cutting-edge indies, dramas, documentaries and more, the unique Black cinema festival also aims to spark discussions about “how filmmakers use art to uplift, confront and impact American culture.”

View a complete schedule.

Buy weekend and day passes.

Looking for more events? Check out our 11 Pittsburgh events not to miss in FebruaryTop 10 family events in Pittsburgh this February and our 17 can’t-miss Pittsburgh concerts in 2017 feature stories.

Jennifer BaronArts & Entertainment / Jobs Editor

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.