Monday, February 22, 2010

From Acclaimed Director Carl Kurlander, "My Tale of Two Cities" Hopes To Hold A Showing in Detroit


“My Tale of Two Cities”

A Funny and Timely Comeback Story

Plays Role in “Re-energizing Cities”

New York City, New York – December 10, 2009

“A delightful, quirky, heartwarming film that is as funny as it is revealing..." 
-- Don Roy King, director, SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE

"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 - a funny self-help guide for cities looking at their future." -- 

Mitch Teich, Executive Producer, Milwaukee Public Radio

Having sold out 3000 seats at its Pittsburgh premiere where the film received a standing ovation and delighted audiences at film festivals across this country, My Tale of Two Cities, a funny, heartfelt, and hopeful comeback story, is resonating with audiences cities from Santa Fe to San Antonio as evidenced by the recent full house showing at the Santa Fe Film Festival and the November 27, 2009 San Antonio Business Journal article “Film Plays Role In Re-Energizing Cities” talking how the movie has inspired city leaders there. The film, which was recently picked up by Panorama Entertainment, not only tells the tale of Pittsburgh’s recent inspiring comeback as a city which President Obama called “a model for the future” at the recent G-20 economic summit, but also explores a personal journey that audiences everywhere can relate to about coming home again and coming to terms with our pasts in order to redefine who we are.

My Tale of Two Cities is told through the eyes of screenwriter (St. Elmo’s Fire) and TV writer/producer (Saved By The Bell) Carl Kurlander, who was living in Hollywood when he received an offer to go back to his hometown and teach at the University of Pittsburgh. After his wife Natalie pointed out that if they continued to live above the Sunset Strip, their one year old daughter’s habit of dancing naked on coffee tables might become an acceptable profession, Carl moved his family back to Pittsburgh— the real life “Mister Rogers’ Neighbohood” in search of a more meaningful and balanced life. This journey led the Kurlanders to being guests on The Oprah Winfrey Show on a program about people who had changed their life, where Oprah herself was struck by the fact that Carl had found happiness “in Pittsburgh, even,” But shortly after that, Fred Rogers died, and the city of Pittsburgh went bankrupt.

With both himself and his hometown in mid-life crisis, Kurlander set out on a Don Quixote quest to make a film to help the place where he grew up. Armed with a cranky cameraman, funded by his dermatologist, and often battling his wife who longs to return to the sunny West Coast, Carl asks his neighbors from the famous (Steeler Franco Harris, Teresa Heinz Kerry) to the not-so-famous (his old gym teacher and the girl who inspired St. Elmo’s Fire) how this once great industrial giant, which built America with its steel, conquered polio and invented everything from aluminum to the Big Mac, can reinvent itself for a new age.

My Tale of Two Cities is filled with rawly honest, often hilarious scenes such as when Kurlander visits on a playground with the girl who beat him up there as a child (complete with an hysterical recreation of the event); offers to buy cheese for Teresa Heinz Kerry at a produce shop which almost ends up consuming the film’s budget; a fishing excursion where Carl and his brother catch and, even more boldly, eat a catfish from Pittsburgh’s once polluted rivers (and then visit famed coroner Cyril Wecht afterwards to find out if they will live.)

But the film also thoughtfully explores what it means to come home again and what it takes for both cities and people to reinvent themselves for a new age. We hear from Ms. Heinz Kerry about her late husband John Heinz’s belief that sometimes your worst problems can become your best opportunities; see famed Steeler Franco Harris with his son Dok who is surprisingly not an athlete, but a Princeton grad who came back to his hometown to go to business school and law school and make a difference; watch Andy Warhol’s nephew Marty who runs a scrapyard ponder what would have happened had his Uncle Andy never left Pittsburgh; and are reminded by David Newell, the actor who played Mr. McFeely and Fred Rogers’ widow Joanne, of Mister Rogers’ challenge to us all to “make good attractive.”

The film becomes highly personal as the Kurlanders must decide whether to stay in their new life in Pittsburgh or go back to the Hollywood dream they once knew. This decision comes to a head in a dramatic confrontation Carl has with his mother who had abandoned him and his brother during their childhood in the very apartment in which he grew up. But ultimately, My Tale of Two Cities is a feel-good film which shows us, that even in dark times, as articulated by Pittsburgh’s late Mayor Bob O’ Connor, if we work together and believe in ourselves, it can still be a “beautiful day in the neighborhood.”

My Tale of Two Cities has received national attention in The Washington Post, USA Today, and on The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer and picked up grassroots support at screenings and film festivals around the country, including being featured at conventions for MENSA and the International Downtown Association in Milwaukee. Producers Stephanie Dangel and Carl Kurlander can be reach at 412-622-1325 or Stuart Strutin of Panorama Entertainment can be reached at (914) 937 1603 or For further information, visit

Accordingly, Windsor, Canada is hosting a showing of Carl Kurlander's movie "My Tale of Two Cities" on Saturday February 27, 2010 as well as a discussion to follow. The movie has been shown across the country. Mr. Kurlander has been unable to secure a venue in Detroit to host a showing however.

The similarities between Pittsburgh and Detroit are obvious. Mr. Kurlander believes that his movie could benefit from a Detroit showing and Detroiters could especially benefit from his entertaining, uplifting and personal spin on the rise, fall, and continued (hopefully) rise of Pittsburgh into the new century.

Mr. Kurlander's team has reached out to the DIA and the Detroit Film Theater about hosting a showing. They have yet to hear back. Mr. Kurlander continues however to search for a venue in Detroit. Accordingly, if anyone has any connections within the city and might be able to help Mr. Kurlander show his film in Detroit, please contact Producers Stephanie Dangel or Carl Kurlander at 412-622-1325 or, or Stuart Strutin of Panorama Entertainment at (914) 937 1603 or For further information, visit

If you are otherwise interested in seeing the movie in Detroit, but may not have a connection, please place a call to the DIA and let them know that you'd like to see "My Tale of Two Cities" shown at the Detroit Film Theater.