Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Movie Maker Ready to Teach His Craft

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Movie Maker Ready to Teach His Craft

Article excerpt

A luncheon conversation more than 30 years ago blossomed into a successful film career for friends John Russo, George Romero and Richard Ricci.

Russo said, "Let's make a movie." Romero slapped a hand on the table in agreement, and their effort became the cult classic "Night of the Living Dead."

With it, they turned commercial film careers into independent movie making.

"We learned by doing," said Russo, who was born and raised in Clairton and lives now in Glassport. "Since that time, I have had in my head that it would have been great and much easier to have had a school or course to teach us and others what we learned by doing."

The former schoolteacher, independent filmmaker and author of film industry how-to books took his idea and developed a 16-month diploma program, which teaches all aspects of the film industry.

In February, John Russo's Movie Academy and the John Russo Movie Making Program will open at the home of WRS Inc., a full-service film, video and storage facility on 46 acres in Crafton.

The academy is licensed by the Pennsylvania Department of Education. And the building's labyrinth of hallways and classrooms will provide students interesting film-shooting opportunities.

A six-week pilot workshop was presented last summer in that facility to try out the course.

Filmmaking student Sheldon Higdon of Baldwin Borough, who is considering attending the 16-month movie academy, praised the workshop by contrasting it with another opportunity. …

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