See Where Local Films Are Getting The Red Carpet Treatment

At Sewickley’s Lindsay Theater, young filmmakers are given gala-style premieres.
Red Carpet Guy


If you walked by the Lindsay Theater and Cultural Center during an Emerging Filmmakers Showcase, you’d likely stop to look for celebrities.

All the trappings are present — the red carpet, the step-and-repeat, the gala atmosphere. Yes, these are movie premieres. They’re not, however, local fetes to mark the release of a locally filmed Hollywood production; they’re celebrations of regional independent films.

Because at the Lindsay (, it’s the work of local filmmakers that gets the red-carpet treatment.

Red Carpet Audience

The Emerging Filmmakers Showcase series offers regional, independent filmmakers the opportunity to host gala-style premieres at the Sewickley cinema, which opened in 2017 as the Tull Family Theater and was renamed The Lindsay earlier this year. While many such films only see the light of day via streaming or DVD releases, the Showcase treats completing a film as the major achievement it is.

Carolina Pais-Barreto Thor, the Lindsay’s chief executive officer, says it’s a program that benefits audiences as well as filmmakers. “Not only are we supporting filmmaking and local filmmakers in the region, but we’re also offering the audience a fantastic connection with emerging talent.” The series began in mid-2021; since then, Thor says they’ve hosted more than 20 such premieres, roughly one every month.

“We understand how meaningful it is to share that with their friends, with their families,” Thor says.

Where many venues would be content to rent the space to an aspiring filmmaker and let them handle the details, the Lindsay works with each artist throughout the process — from logistical details such as handling reservations for the evening to ultra-technical touches, such as preparing the finished film for projection.

Red Carpet Group

In many cases, that also involves adding a touch of glamour to the proceedings. “We really work with them to create the evening that they’re envisioning,” Thor says. “Some of them have never had a premiere; they want that celebratory night. We unroll the red carpet.”

Xayne Allen is a filmmaker and the writer/director of the psychological thriller “Hiraeth,” a locally filmed drama about memory and trauma (with a name borrowed from the Welsh term for homesickness). The film debuted through the Emerging Filmmakers Showcase in May 2022.

“It was very amazing. It was awesome — the first red carpet we ever did,” Allen says. “It came out better than even we could’ve imagined it to be. Having them host us was unbelievable.”

Allen heard about the Lindsay’s programs via associates involved with the local branch of the 48 Hour Film Project. Now, he says, he won’t premiere a film anywhere else.

“We want to try to make it bigger than the [“Hiraeth” premiere] … I can’t wait to do it again.”

Red Carpet Screen

The Emerging Filmmakers Showcase also offers the Lindsay’s space free of charge — provided that filmmakers agree to make their premieres free to the public, if any seats remain after friends and family snatch them up.

Thor says offering these events fits the theater’s mission to foster a love of film and filmmaking in the city’s northwestern suburbs. Being a part of the filmmaking process brings “this very strong creative energy” to the area, she says.

Primarily, though, the evenings are a memorable celebration of a landmark achievement.

“Most of the time, they’ve never had the opportunity to see their work on the big screen. That’s the most exciting part.”

Categories: Arts & Entertainment