Our Mission and History

The mission of the Carnegie Mellon International “Faces” Film Festival is to engage the Pittsburgh community with all-encompassing programming that promotes cultural exchange and expression, and through film, illuminates the local and global ethnic communities which seldom have opportunities to celebrate their artwork and culture on a large public scale. By collaborating with guest filmmakers, arts organizations, and local businesses, the festival creates a platform for these ethnic groups to expose the Pittsburgh community to their cultures, allows attendees to identify and relate to their own origins, and for cinematic artists to engage audiences with their films and dialogues.

Created in 2006, the Carnegie Mellon International “Faces” Film Festival is a project of the Humanities Center at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU), which has supported research and encouraged interest in the humanities for more than 14 years. The festival serves as a non-academic bridge to the greater Pittsburgh community, and opens its doors each year to the interests and passions of people across generations and cultures.

The “Faces” Film Festival takes place every year in the spring and presents a wide spectrum of contemporary world cinema, focusing on a different annual theme that addresses a current social issue. The festival presents 14-18 international narrative features, documentaries, and shorts each year. As a community-building event, screenings are accompanied by supplementary components such as Q & A sessions with the films’ directors and local academics, artistic performances, and receptions with local ethnic cuisine. In this way, the events are more than just film premieres; they are cultural celebrations that allow audiences to observe, discuss, and experience international cultures.

The “Faces” Film Festival prides itself in being the only international film festival in the world organized and run by university students from the numerous educational institutions across Pittsburgh, such as CMU and the University of Pittsburgh. The students build events around the festival’s rich variety of films from the U.S., Egypt, France, Australia, China, Iran, Peru, Poland, Japan, Germany, Belarus, Korea, and many other countries, hoping to reinforce Pittsburgh’s ethnic history and living culture.