The Global Shift Festival Comes to Pittsburgh

by    /  September 18, 2014  / No comments

Poster courtesy of Kevin Lovelace.

Pittsburgh will be home to the world this September when the fourth annual Global Shift Festival comes to Point Park University. The festival will consist of four days of films, panels, workshops, selected shorts, and special events, all curated around the theme of “The Future Starts Now.” Held in a different country each year, the event seeks to inspire and build an international community of film and media artists whose work ignites social change.

Sampsonia Way interviewed festival organizer Kevin Lovelace about the origins of the festival, its arrival in Pittsburgh, and what the event hopes to achieve. Since 2001, Kevin has worked with underserved communities, specifically focusing on LGBTQ issues, youth development, and ending homelessness. Kevin brings his passion for uniting people towards a common goal and creating a platform for social awareness to this year’s festival.

How did the Global Shift Festival begin?

The festival began in Bali, Indonesia when founder Cynthia Phillips began working with local NGOs to address the many issues facing communities in India: sustainable food supplies, clean water, micro-lending, and overpopulation. She then realized these issues were universal and began looking for other cities around the world where she could continue her work. Fast-forward four years, after presenting in Rio de Janeiro, Hong Kong, and New Orleans, the festival has made its way to Point Park University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Why did you feel Pittsburgh was a good fit for this festival?

Pittsburgh is experiencing a major resurgence and we feel now is the time to show how much the people of Pittsburgh care about global issues. This is a city of communities, communities that come together to make positive change. It is also a smart city where everyone here has been helpful with the process of putting the festival together. I can’t say enough how thankful I am for the generosity of everyone who has helped out with this process.

Global Shift Festival Associate Director Kevin Lovelace

How does the festival address the issues facing the citizens of the world today?

The Global Shift Festival is part of a global community with a large emphasis on having a local presence. It is a celebration of media, technology, film, ideas, and ACTION! We create spaces for dialogue and promote films, panels, workshops, and special events to inspire. We strive to build a global community focused on expanding the reach of conscious social change with entertainment media, innovative thinkers, and large-scale change makers.

What are you expecting from the inaugural start of the festival in Pittsburgh?

I’m looking forward to meeting other people in Pittsburgh who care about issues affecting our communities, whether it’s a local neighborhood or a community across the globe. I feel this festival will provide an opportunity for discussions about global sustainability and how artists can make positive changes in the world. We offer workshops on screen writing for television and film, with a focus on media that offers solutions. My greatest hope is that students from Point Park University take advantage of the free workshops and movies to expand their understanding of global issues.

What movie would you recommend to Sampsonia Way readers?

On Saturday afternoon the festival will be screening the 2013 short film “The No Name Painting Association,” produced and written by Rene Balcer and directed by Joe Griffin. This truly inspiring documentary focuses largely on the Wuming (translation: No Name) group of renegade Chinese artists who painted forbidden images during the 1966-1976 Chinese Cultural Revolution. Their work pioneered the contemporary Chinese Art Movement that is still prominent today.

THE GLOBAL SHIFT FESTIVAL, September 18 – 21, 2014
All screenings and workshops are at Point Park University,
414 Wood St. Pittsburgh, PA
Find us at

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