Save Pittsburgh Filmmakers!!!

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Dear friends in Pittsburgh, 

We are about to lose a very important cultural, professional and creative resource. Pittsburgh Filmmakers was built in 1971. We have been blessed for over 40 years to have one of the oldest and largest media arts centers in the United States. It was built by the community, for the community and was run as a co-op for the greatest part of its proud history. We had access to a top notch educational program, a membership program which made access to professional equipment, cameras, lighting packages, sound studio space, editing bays, dark rooms and more for a very affordable rate. It's not easy or cheap to break into this business. The first movie theater ever in the United States was in Pittsburgh. We have a rich legacy of showing and creating movies here, and the movie industry has thrived here in part of the work Filmmakers has done over the decades educating our community. A smart phone does not a cinematographer make! 

In 2006 Filmmakers made the poor decision to merge with the struggling Pittsburgh Center for the Arts. The City of Pittsburgh owns the building which houses the Center for the Arts, but it is the merged organization that is now Pittsburgh Filmmakers and Pittsburgh Center for the Arts DOES own the property which houses Pittsburgh Filmmakers. So, the decision has been made to sell off the Filmmakers property in order to fix up the Center for the Arts property. The city does not pay any money to maintain the Center for the Arts property, even though they own it. 

I bear no ill will to anyone currently in charge of Filmmakers and the Center for the Arts, I think they were given something broken and told to fix something that should have never been put together. However, my point that I am trying to make is that Filmmakers is a place where our citizens can learn how to create digital media and tell stories. These skills are what is going to help our community navigate the future of art, commerce , and communication. The educational facility will be gone, the sound stage will be gone, the equipment office will be gone and so will our community's access to the ability to learn how to make professional level work at an affordable and accessible level. 

The reason I care so very much about this institution is that I learned how to shoot video there. I learned about 3 point light and multiple camera angles and how to tell my story. I have spent so much time and energy shooting video for Pittsburgh based musicians, dancers, and artists. Our stories are important and if we can't control our narrative, we will either be erased or someone will tell it for us. Our stories matter, our journies matter, and for over 40 years Filmmakers has been an intrinsic part of telling them and we can't let it just fade away and be sold to more developers and more car salesmen. 

We the undersigned demand that Mr. Germaine Williams who is the current leader of Pittsburgh Filmmakers and the Center for the Arts, the Mayor's Office, the Office of Public Art, and the Pittsburgh Foundation, along with Filmmakers faculty members along with concerned artist members both past and present, come together to find a workable solution to save Filmmakers and to rebuild it into something that functions and protects future Pittsburgh's access to learning how to communicate via the media arts in the 21st century and beyond.