Ahead of next week’s deep dive into the George A. Romero Archival Collection (register!), we’ve learned that the late horror master’s birthday is first being celebrated with the online premiere of a documentary titled George Romero & Pittsburgh: The Early Years on February 4.
Produced by Pitt film studies students, George Romero & Pittsburgh: The Early Years was made in Carl Kurlander’s spring 2020 course “Making the Documentary: George Romero and Pittsburgh,” and it will be premiering online at 7pm EST tomorrow. REGISTER NOW! Registration is required and attendees will be sent an access link to the virtual event.
A panel discussion moderated by Day of the Dead star Lori Cardille will follow the film.
Students of Kurlander, a senior lecturer in the Film and Media Studies Program in the Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences, were able to interview a number of key players for the project, including film producer Gary Streiner, Romero’s widow Suzanne Romero, acclaimed local filmmaker Tony Buba and others. They also had access to the George A. Romero Archive within the University Library System. This student film explores Romero’s early creative life in Pittsburgh, his connections to the University of Pittsburgh, his legacy as an artist and his historic casting of African-American actor and Pitt alumnus Duane Jones as the lead in the 1968 horror classic Night of the Living Dead.
Several students continued to work on the film over the summer, despite the ongoing pandemic, and also made two related mini-documentaries that will be shown at the event. One is about Duane Jones, who will posthumously receive the George A. Romero Foundation Pioneer Award, which will be accepted by his sister, Marva Brooks.