First Annual Black Bottom Film Festival to take place at the August Wilson Center







Pittsburgh, PA – The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust is pleased to announce the first annual Black Bottom Film Festival (BBFF). The BBFF features films ranging from age-old classics to contemporary, independent Black Cinema, showcasing African-American contributions to the silver screen. The festival will take place at the August Wilson Center, 980 Liberty Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15222, February 24 through 26, 2017.

The BBFF fosters an examination and discussion of how filmmakers use art to uplift, confront, and impact American culture. The first annual festival showcases films that parallel the reoccurring themes of spirituality, family conflict, race and working class struggle that serve as the foundation for August Wilson’s award-winning and internationally renowned Pittsburgh Cycle plays. “August Wilson’s work illustrated the multi-layers and nuance of Black life in America. The films we selected parallel these distinctions and give the region an opportunity to see Independent films that they might not have a chance to see otherwise, while celebrating classics that helped shape African-American culture,” says Janis Burley Wilson, Vice President of Strategic Partnerships and Community Engagement at the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust.

This year’s festival will feature local and nationally renowned filmmakers, and celebrate the creative contributions of Michael Schultz. As one of the first African-American directors hired by the major studios, Schultz opened the doors for directors of color with such features as Cooley High, Car Wash, Which Way is Up?,  Krush Groove and The Last Dragon.  In 2004, Schultz directed the award-winning film Woman Thou Art Loosed, which won The Image Award at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival and garnered numerous other awards and nominations.  Schultz’s influential career has spanned more than four decades during which he has directed feature films, movies for television, children’s programming and episodes of television’s most popular series including Blackish, Star, New Girl, My Crazy-Ex-Girlfriend, Arrow, and more.

The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust will present Mr. Schultz with the Black Bottom Film Festival Award for Cinematic Excellence on Saturday, February 25, 2017 at 7:30 PM. After the award ceremony, there will be a double-feature of Cooley High and Richard Pryor’s breakout hit –Which Way is Up?.

Tickets ($15 for a single-day pass and $35 for a festival pass) go on sale January 30 at 9:00 a.m., and can be purchased online at, on the phone at 412-456-6666 or in person at the Theater Square Box Office. Tickets will also be sold, based on availability, 2 hours before the event time at the August Wilson Center’s box office located at the venue.

A complete schedule of screenings, speakers and special events can be found online at

Screenings will include:
Feature Length Films
Chapter & Verse, directed by Jamal Joseph
Like Cotton Twines, directed by Leila Djansi
Destination Planet Negro, directed by Kevin Willmott
Cooley High and Which Way is Up? directed by Michael Schultz

Spirits of Rebellion: Black Cinema from U.C.L.A, directed by Zeinabu Irene Davis
Two Trains Runnin’ directed by Sam Pollard
Agents of Change, directed by Frank Dawson and Abby Ginsberg

“Dream,” directed by Nijla Mu’min
“A Day in the Life of a Hashtag” and “African in America,” directed Njaimeh Njie
“Ghetto Steps,” directed by Emmai Alaquiva
“Father’s Day,” directed by Demetrius Wren

Special events will include:
Podcast: Post Racial Cinema: Black Film in The Obama Age
Reelblack Podcast co-hosts Mike D. and Charles Woods survey Black films released from 2008-2016, identifying trends and milestones.

Question and Answer Sessions with Directors
30-minute Q&A’s will take place after each screening throughout the festival weekend with an hour-long session with Michael Schultz on Saturday afternoon at 2:30 PM.

Black Bottom Film Festival Award for Cinematic Excellence Ceremony
The ceremony will be held on Saturday, February 25 at 7:00 p.m. The event will Honor Michael Schultz for 40 years of creative contributions.

Please Note: The award given to Michael Schultz is a commissioned work created by renowned Pittsburgh based artist, Thad Mosley.

August Wilson Center
The sleekly modern August Wilson Center, located in Pittsburgh’s Cultural District, 980 Liberty Avenue, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15222, offers multiple exhibition galleries, a 472-seat theater for performances in all genres, an education center for classes, lectures and hands-on learning, and dazzling spaces for community programs and events.

The African American Cultural Center is the non-profit organization that owns the August Wilson Center. The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust operates the Center on behalf of the building owners. For August Wilson Center rental inquiries, visit or email Devonne Goode, Program Manager-Pittsburgh Cultural Trust at

For more information and a calendar of events presented by the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust taking place at the August Wilson Center, visit or call 412-456-6666.

Pittsburgh Cultural Trust
The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust has overseen one of Pittsburgh’s most historic transformations: turning a seedy red-light district into a magnet destination for arts lovers, residents, visitors, and business owners. Founded in 1984, the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust is a non-profit arts organization whose mission is the cultural and economic revitalization of a 14-block arts and entertainment/residential neighborhood called the Cultural District. The District is one of the country’s largest land masses “curated” by a single nonprofit arts organization. A major catalytic force in the city, the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust is a unique model of how public-private partnerships can reinvent a city with authenticity, innovation and creativity. Using the arts as an economic catalyst, the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust has holistically created a world-renowned Cultural District that is revitalizing the city, improving the regional economy and enhancing Pittsburgh’s quality of life. Thanks to the support of foundations, corporations, government agencies and thousands of private citizens, the Cultural Trust stands as a national model of urban redevelopment through the arts. For more information about all gallery exhibitions featured in the Cultural District, please visit

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