#RatedPGH: The Pittsburgh Film Office had a lot to celebrate on Friday night at J. Verno Studios on the South Side, as the organization gears up for its annual Lights! Glamour! Action! Oscar party. This event is a “thank you” to the sponsors who make the party possible to help raise funds for the film office. “We have had such a fantastic year. The climate in Pittsburgh is amazing. Not only did we film three television series here, but it is the first time since 1990 that a film produced in Pittsburgh was nominated for best picture at the Oscars,” said Dawn Keezer, film office director. She was referring to the film, “Fences,” starring Denzel Washington and Viola Davis and written by acclaimed playwright and Pittsburgh native August Wilson, who also was nominated posthumously for adapted screenplay. Other guests were also buzzing over this film, such as Jonathan Robinson, who said: “I loved this story and how it reminded me of the stories my great-grandparents would tell me. It was so honest, so real.” As partygoers moved through the space, they enjoyed drinks from Big Springs Spirits, all made in Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh-based Blume Honey Water (my new favorite drink), treats from the Ace Hotel Pittsburgh, Social House Seven, and one of my favorites, Istanbul Sofra. (Once you try their desserts, you are hooked for life!) Why is it important to support the film office? “It’s just another way to support Pittsburgh,” said Ms. Keezer. “Bringing films to Pittsburgh generated a record-breaking $150 million spent in our region. We are on track to beat that again this year. It stimulates the local economy and contributes to the arts. It’s a win-win!”
#SEEN: Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald (trying the vegan meatballs from Zenith Cafe, and he loved them) with wife Kathy, event co-chairs Pete and Lori Schoonmaker, Michael Ceoffe, Mike and Melia Tourangeau, Alan and Diane Perer, Toni Chiappini, Sophia Brooks, Philip Ferland, Gail Wrobleski, Matthew Sterne and Melissa McConnell, Simon Boden, Jeb Dunkelberger and Meredith Fitzpatrick, David Haddad, Emilio Cornacchione, Lucas Piatt, Adnan Pehlivan, Christian Simmons, Gina Vensel, and Navin Bhambhwani of Brilliant Nuevo Diamonds, who donated a pair of $11,000 diamond hoop earrings that were out of this world for the silent auction.