The event will begin with a social at 5:30pm in the UND Art Collections Gallery at the Empire. Pitts' short films "God I Hope I Get It" and "Step 9" will be screened in the historic theater at 6:00pm, followed by the feature film Manson Family Vacation. Pitts will provide a personal introduction to each film, along with a moderated question and answer session.
Leonora Gershman Pitts was born and raised in Grand Forks, ND. She left Grand Forks at age eighteen to attend New York University's Tisch School of the Arts, where received her BFA in Drama. Leonora appeared in numerous stage productions off and off-off Broadway in New York and in regional productions in New Jersey, including the long-running hit The Donkey Show, directed by Diane Paulus and Randy Weiner. In 2003, she made the move to Los Angeles where she has continued her stage, film, and television career, appearing in plays like Inside Private Lives (Fremont Center Theater, Edinburgh Fringe Festival, East to Edinburgh Festival) and television series like "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia” and "The Grinder.” She also co-starred as Jay Duplass's wife in the film Manson Family Vacation, and guest-starred on the HBO series, "Togetherness."
Leonora's first short film, "God I Hope I Get It," which she co-wrote, directed, and stars in, toured the world appearing in over a dozen festivals, including the prestigious Outfest. Her second short film, "Step 9", starring Mary Elizabeth Ellis and Artemis Pebdani, is just beginning its festival run, premiering at Aspen Shortsfest, and screening at the Vail Film Fest and Athens International Film and Video Festival.
“The Empire Arts Center is incredibly lucky to host a prolific and talented artist like Leonora Gershman Pitts,” says Empire executive director Emily Montgomery. “This is an especially unique and exciting way for the Empire to kick off its renewed film programming after the successful fundraising for and installation of a brand new projector. We are eager to return the Empire back to its roots as a historic movie theater by adding films to our already vibrant arts and cultural programming."
“The Empire Arts Center has cemented itself as an engaging and vital arts institution in Grand Forks,” says Leonora Gershman Pitts. “I’m excited to come home and share a couple of my projects and raise some funds for this beautiful theater. I can’t wait to see you all.”
An Evening of Films with Leonora Gershman Pitts will take place at the Empire Arts Center on July 12 at 6:00pm. Tickets are $15 and can be purchased in advance at www.empireartscenter.com or at the door.