YERT Film Screens at Heinz History Center to Launch Steeltown’s “Take a Shot” Contest – 1/29/12


Contact: Rachel Shepherd, Steeltown Entertainment Project, Project Manager, 412-622-1325


Pittsburgh, PA (January 2012) – In celebration of the 50th anniversary of Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, and to kick off the 2012 “Take A Shot At Changing The World” Digital Media Contest, Steeltown Entertainment Project and the Senator John Heinz History Center are screening YERT: Your Environmental Road Trip, a film that is keeping Carson’s dreams alive. This movie follows a trio on their cross-country road trip and quest for the sustainable lifestyle, departing from the birthplace of the environmental movement—the Rachel Carson Homestead.

The screening takes place at the Heinz History Center on January 29th at 2:30 P.M and is free and open to the public. Filmmaker and star Mark Dixon will speak after the event along with other special guests including Dr. Patricia DeMarco, Director of the Rachel Carson Institute at Chatham University, Carl Kurlander, Executive Producer of Steeltown Entertainment Project, and Andy Masich, President and CEO of the Heinz History Center. Tickets are first come, first serve. To reserve free tickets, people are encouraged to call Steeltown’s offices at 412-622-1325 or email

The “Take a Shot at Changing the World” contest is open to middle school and high school students in Southwestern PA, and gives kids the chance to make movies and make a difference. Students can win cash prizes by making short films that tell stories of how Pittsburgh and Pittsburghers have changed the world, the $2500 Innovation Prize in conjunction with the Heinz History Center, or by making movies that feature their own personal plans for social action, the $2500 Globechangers Prize. Additionally, there is a $2500 environmental movie prize, and a $2500 polio movie prize. The winner of the polio prize will get their film posted on the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation website and the winner of the Globechanger Social Action Award will receive a trip to the Jefferson Awards in Washington, D.C. and mentorship to implement their ideas.

The contest is a collaborative effort put forth by Steeltown Entertainment Project, The Jefferson Awards, The Heinz History Center, The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Allegheny Intermediate Unit, and WQED.

Teachers and students are invited to stay after the screening to find out more about the “Take a Shot at Changing the World” contest and how they can get involved, and also to attend a movie-making brainstorming workshop with Mark Dixon and other experts.

The acclaimed film YERT is a fun and compelling environment road trip where the filmmakers cover 50 States in one year living on only one shoebox of trash a month. With their planet in peril, three friends hit the road – traveling with hope, humor, and all of their garbage – to explore every state in America (the good, the bad…and the weird) in search of the extraordinary innovators and citizens who are tackling humanity’s greatest environmental crises. As the YERT team layers outlandish eco-challenges onto their year-long quest, an unexpected turn of events pushes them to the brink in this award-winning docu-comedy. The film features Bill McKibben, Wes Jackson, Will Allen, Janine Benyus, Joel Salatin, David Orr, and others. The YERT Feature Film received a plethora of noteworthy awards including the Audience Award at the Environmental Film Festival at Yale, tying with Oscar-nominated Waste Land. To find out more about this feature film visit

The YERT screening is the first of the “Make a Movie, Make a Difference” series that will culminate in April with The Shot Felt ‘Round the World, a film that tells the story of Jonas Salk and his team at the University of Pittsburgh pulling together with a city and a nation to conquer what was once the most feared disease of the 20th Century—polio. The screening will mark the 57th anniversary of the Salk Polio Vaccine being declared safe and effective, as well as the recent declaration of India becoming polio-free. The Shot Felt ‘Round The World was recently selected as the Opening Night Film for the San Luis Obispo Film Festival and has been picked up for distribution by Mercury Media.

The “Take A Shot” competition builds on last year’s success, where students created movies that connected the development of the Salk Polio Vaccine in Pittsburgh to current eradication efforts around the world, raising awareness about a largely forgotten disease and inspiring a new generation to care and to act. 265 students participated, and their films received 12,500 votes from the general public.

To find out more about Steeltown’s “Take a Shot at Changing the World,” the contest topics and prompts, and how you can get involved, visit

Steeltown Entertainment Project is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit whose mission is to help build a vibrant, responsible, and sustainable entertainment sector in Southwestern PA by connecting entertainment professionals with regional ties to local projects, people, and partnerships to create commercially viable and socially meaningful film and media. For more information, go to

The Senator John Heinz History Center is an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution and the largest history museum in Pennsylvania. The Western Pennsylvania Sports Museum is a museum within a museum, comprehensively presenting the region’s remarkable sports story through hundreds of artifacts and interactive experiences for visitors of all ages. The History Center and Sports Museum are located at 1212 Smallman Street in the city’s Strip District, and are open every day from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. More information is available at

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