Pittsburgh Film Maker In Now Festival on My Space

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Lucas McNelly's "gravida" creates a somber yet hopeful mood in a matter of twenty-two minutes with a little music, cinematography and soulful, expressive faces.

Lucas McNelly was born in Maine, came to the Pittsburgh area to attend Geneva College from which he graduated in Broadcasting. He flirted with the idea of sportscasting, but McNelly found his anchor in directing with a short film for a college senior film festival.

He then went to Tennessee for a couple years studying and writing about film. After moving back to Pittsburgh, McNelly starting teaching himself the practical side of film making and film history.

He has done everything from a French Film about coffee to two documentaries: one on moose hunting and the other on civil rights.

"gravida" evolved from an idea that a beautiful photograph could come from a moment that is anything but. The protagonist (Rachel Shaw), McNelly knew, needed to be a talented actress with the looks of a model. Shaw, however turned out to pregnant, so, after consulting with her, McNelly realized that the story would prove to be more interesting if the protagonist was a pregnant woman.

Adam Kukic, plays the guy in the film. He is a Pittsburgh theatre director and actor who shares McNelly's artistic sensibilities. Kukic shot "gravida" during the tech week of a production of his theatre company, Thank You Felix.

McNelly's blog, "100 Films" has caught the eye of Hollywood. It started out as a regular day to day diatribe, but evolved into a review of, first, classic cinema, then micro budgeted independent film.

Critical response for "gravida" has been positive. Paul Clark called it "a serenely confident short film" and a "small film in the best sense, one that's exactly the right size for the story it tells." Cinema Styles called it "a film of understated elegance and thoughtfulness." TalkingMoviezzz.com called it an "excellent short film" that "almost works as a silent film, as the visuals are so strong."

The Now Film Festival is hosted by NOW Casting, the premiere leader in bringing talent to top studios, major agencies, and independent filmmakers. Currently in its third year, the Now Film Festival has seen previous finalists land distribution deals and awards ranging all the way to an Academy Award for Best Live Action Short.

"gravida" is one of 25 semi-finalists for this year's Now Film Festival. The semi-finalists screen on My Space Film and You Tube, one per week for 25 weeks. At the conclusion of the 25 weeks, the general public will vote with the finalists screening at the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences in Hollywood, California and competing for a high-def camera package.

Voting is currently scheduled to end in the middle of April.

People can vote at Now Film Festival. "gravida" can be viewed on My Space TV and You Tube or at the Official gravida web page.

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