The series for local and independent film and video is highlighted May 13 by the return of Edward Bursch, a Latrobe native who's worked on several Wes Anderson films. Bursch visits to screen "Half Dead," labeled "Part 4" of his own comedic Somersault Waltz trilogy. The trilogy is a sort-of science-fiction thriller as filtered through a self-parodying after-school special. "Half Dead" follows a dimwitted high school student named Tim and his artificially intelligent robot (a talking repurposed desktop computer) as they try to rescue — and hopefully revive — Tim's dead friend, Will, whose body is in the clutches of a villainous science teacher called Prof Terry. The arch comedy — sample dialogue: "Sometimes, to increase science, you need to break the rules of what's morally good" — is winningly perverse. Bursch, who now lives in Pittsburgh, has credits on Anderson films dating back to The Darjeeling Limited; he was formerly Anderson's executive assistant, and most recently did the animated storyboards for The Grand Budapest Hotel.
Also at Film Kitchen, series curator Matthew Day offers diverse work from Michael Pisano, including a partly-animated educational piece on Rachel Carson that explains why pesticides are dangerous, and a trippy music video for the group Goathelper + Austra, made for Pittsburgh's 2011 VIA Festival.
Finally, Film Kitchen takes an unusual approach to writer-director Zachary Cline's Natural Prey, a 72-minute thriller shot in black and white that starts out like a stalker movie but has some twists up its sleeve. The first 20 minutes of the film will screen, then there'll be a break for a filmmaker Q&A, after which attendees can decide whether to watch the remainder of the film.