As Pittsburgh continues to grow as a hub for film and television production, it will also continue to grow as an epicenter for young film talent. A local filmmaker, Xayne Allen is set to make his mark with the debut of his latest film. Hiraeth.
Hiraeth, a dramatic thriller produced by Allen’s company GWA Productions, premieres at the Tull Family Theater on Wednesday, May 25. The film is the first feature film to be produced under GWA Productions in association with 3BT Productions, the merger of GWA Productions, Fernando De La Cruz Films and Gray Matter Productions.
Screening during Mental Health Awareness Month, Hiraeth is an honest and courageous story about the impact of mental illness on a person’s life. Titled after the Welsh word for homesickness, the film tells the story of a young man whose abuse at the hands of his mother has shaped his entire reality. After believing he witnessed a murder, the trauma he suffered causes him to question his own memories.
“The working title was A man named Malcolmand we’ve been told that’s not strong enough,” says Allen Pittsburgh City Newspaper via email. “So I was looking for a word. Malcolm never really got over what he lost with his mother and I found that (Welsh) word to be perfect. We renamed it that day.”
Shot entirely in Pittsburgh with an all-local cast and crew, the film is a labor of love for Allen. A filmmaker since he was 12, he currently writes, directs and produces short and feature films throughout Pittsburgh and Hiraeth is the culmination of his many years of involvement in the local film scene.
“This is the premiere of our first feature film. It’s exciting,” says Allen. “We want everyone to watch it and learn from it.”
He adds that during the 48 Hours film project he became familiar with the Tull Family Theater and believed it would be the ideal location for HiraethPremiere.
“When we found out they were making their projection rooms available to local filmmakers for free, it was perfect,” says Allen.
Allen hopes his small, powerful, personal film will resonate with audiences.
“The film is really about forgiveness and how it can hurt you and keep you from saving lives,” says Allen. “We want people to see something new every time they watch it.”
Check out the trailer Hiraeth under:
Hiraeth. 7pm Wed 25 May. Tull Family Theatre. 418 Walnut St., Sewickley. Free. Register for tickets. thetullfamilytheater.org