Friday, November 11, 2011

Premiere of My Tale of Two Cities, Pittsburgh's Transformation on Thanksgiving Day on WQED

NOVEMBER 8, 2011



Maria Pisano



"A movie that is timely, moving, and – above all – entertaining.  You can't get an entire city into therapy –but this film is the next best thing.”

-- Mitch Teich, Milwaukee Public Radio

“A wry, funny tale of the fulfillment found moving back home. A cross between Woody Allen and Fred Rogers, (Kurlander) reminds us that our cities are the real "Real America" in which we can best renew ourselves, our country, and our hope for all humanity.”

-- Howard Fineman, Newsweek

PITTSBURGH – Hot off being named one of National Geographic’s top 20 places in the world to visit (along with Iceland and Mongolia), the city of Pittsburgh has another starring role in the film My Tale of Two Cities. This inspirational and feel good Pittsburgh comeback story tells a tale of coming home and how this once great industrial giant-- the city that built America with its steel, conquered polio, and invented everything from aluminum to the Big Mac-- has reinvented itself for a new age.

After playing in over 25 cities across North America, including on Capitol Hill, My Tale of Two Cities will make its broadcast premiere on WQED-TV Thanksgiving Day, November 24, at 8 p.m., just in time for those coming home for the holidays!

Preceding the film, a special guest panel including the stars of the movie, former U.S. Secretary of Treasury, Paul O’Neill, Steelers’ legend Franco and his son businessman Dok Harris, and filmmaker Carl Kurlander will discuss the city’s remarkable resurgence since the filming. This special edition of WQED’s 4802 program that will air at 7:30 p.m. will be co-hosted by the president of The Pittsburgh Foundation, Grant Oliphant, and WQED’s Michael Bartley.

Armed with a cranky cameraman, funded by his dermatologist (a scene shown in the film), and often battling his wife who longs to return to the sunny West Coast, Kurlander and his film crew explore whether you really can go home again and how post-industrial cities like Pittsburgh can transform themselves. Tale producer Stephanie Dangel Reiter said they used Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood as a metaphor, to represent neighborhoods everywhere that are trying to find common ground, and to inspire each neighbor to think of how they can make a difference in their own communities.

In My Tale of Two Cities, Kurlander goes cheese shopping with Teresa Heinz Kerry; plays catch with Pittsburgh Steelers great Franco Harris and his son, Dok Harris; endures the wrath of comic Louie Anderson; chats with Mr. McFeely; visits with Andy Warhol’s nephew at his scrap yard by the Warhol Museum; and goes fishing with the late mayor Bob O’Connor. Kurlander also visits with his old gym teacher and the girl who inspired St. Elmo’s Fire, asking each how the city can once again become the city of champions.

A special edition of My Tale of Two Cities is available on DVD for $19.95 (and includes unseen footage & special features) from SHOP WQED at or by calling 1-800-274-1307.

WQED Pittsburgh has a proud history of honors, including 128 National and Mid- Atlantic Emmy® Awards, an Academy Award, and many, many others, including two Emmy® Awards for Station Excellence. WQED was founded in 1954 as the nation’s first community-supported broadcaster. The people of WQED create, produce and distribute quality programs, products and services to engage, inform, educate and entertain the public within their community and around the world. WQED Pittsburgh is one of the first broadcasters in the country to be fully high-definition (HD) in its studio and field production capabilities. It is the parent company of WQED-TV (PBS); WQED: The Neighborhood Channel; WQED: The Create Channel; WQED Showcase; Classical WQED-FM 89.3/Pittsburgh; Classical WQEJ-FM 89.7/Johnstown; local and national television and radio productions; WQED Interactive ( and The WQED Education Department.

My Tale of Two Cities was produced by Stephanie Dangel and Janet Smith. Tale features some of Pittsburgh’s favorite neighbors including Franco Harris, Dok Harris, Teresa Heinz Kerry, Paul O’Neill, David Newell, Joanne Rogers, the late Mayor Bob O’Connor, Dr. Thomas Starzl, Dr. Cyril Wecht, and Bill Strickland. The film also features Pittsburghers from Times Square to Beverly Hills to The Point, singing the city’s unofficial theme song, “Won’t You Be My Neighbor” for the film’s uplifting finale.

For more information, visit


Journalists are invited to attend the Friday, November 18, 2 p.m. taping of the 4802 special at WQED. To RSVP please contact Steeltown Entertainment Project at 412-622-1325.

Director Carl Kurlander is available for interviews. To schedule and interview with him please contact George Hazimanolis at 412-622-1366 or DVD screeners of My Tale of Two Cities: A Comeback Story are also available by request.

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