Pitt-Greensburg VOICES Series Welcomes Award-Winning Producer/Writer/Director Melissa Martin

Melissa MartinAward-winning Producer/Writer/Director Melissa Martin will pull the curtain back on the magic of indie filmmaking when she visits the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg as the inaugural speaker in the college’s VOICES series on Wednesday, Oct. 11 at 6 p.m. in McKenna Hall 137 (150 Finoli Drive, Greensburg, PA 15601).

Martin’s appearance, while free and open to the public, will focus on helping Pitt-Greensburg writers and digital storytellers understand the importance of place and the vital role indie films play in American culture.

Among Martin’s many credits is her work as producer/writer/director of “The Bread, My Sweet,” a critically acclaimed, award-winning independent film set in the heart of Pittsburgh’s own Strip District.

“Our students, particularly those in our creative writing and digital storytelling classes, are learning about the essential role of place–as in the places where we grew up, the places we’ve left, the places that aren’t there anymore, the places we hold only in our memories–plays in creative work,” said Lori Jakiela, professor of English, who co-directs the VOICES series with Assistant Professor of English and award-winning Pittsburgh author Dave Newman.

Newman, who in addition to creative writing is teaching Pitt-Greensburg’s first-ever screenwriting class–a boost to the college’s digital storytelling offerings–is especially excited about Martin’s visit.

“Melissa Martin’s movie, ‘The Bread My Sweet,’ which Hollywood changed to ‘A Wedding for Bella,’ is one of the most beautiful, authentic depictions of Pittsburgh I’ve ever seen,” Newman said. “It’s full of grit and heart and the kind of rich ethnic history our city was once known for. That history is still here, of course, but it’s fighting with hipster mini-golf bars for space in The Strip District now. Martin captures an authentic side of Pittsburgh that has outlasted the superficial changes the city often touts.”

“The Bread, My Sweet” screened at more than 20 film festivals and was released theatrically nationwide. It was distributed worldwide by Fox International, on DVD by Universal/Screen Media, and on ShowTime, Starz, The Sundance Channel, and network television.

Martin is also the writer, director, and co-creator of “The Honorable,” a web series. “Dog Bytes,” another web series on which Martin is the writer and director, has garnered major international attention. The first episode is an award-winning stand-alone short. It, and the full series, screened at more than 20 film festivals, among them Berlin, Cape Fear, and Cannes.

“Flour Baby,” “Paper Umbrellas,” and “Weekend in Toronto” are all short films directed by Martin. She was also a co-writer on the screenplay for the feature film, “Dear Zoe,” starring Sadie Sink, which was released internationally last year.

A writer and director of live theater as well, Martin directed “Mercy and The Firefly” for the Pittsburgh Playhouse Repertory Company and the first regional production of Bryony Lavery’s “Frozen.” She often directs for Pittsburgh’s Barebones Productions, including critically acclaimed productions of “Glengarry Glenn Ross,” “A Steady Rain,” “A Streetcar Named Desire,” and, most recently, “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” “Rules of Seconds,” and “Lobby Hero,” all for Barebones.

Martin teaches graduate screenwriting at the Carnegie Mellon University School of Drama.

“Melissa Martin’s background is incredible and wide-ranging,” Newman said. “We are so lucky to have her visit Pitt-Greensburg. The first time I saw ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,’ Melissa was the director. It was such an intense experience. She captures characters in crisis so well. Pittsburgh is lucky to have such a talented artist to capture the streets and stories and people of the city, or the people of any city.”


Building on the campus’s long-running Written/Spoken Series, VOICES showcases Pitt-Greensburg's focus on experiential learning by bringing together undergraduate student-writers with award-winning authors, poets, writers, and storytellers.

The VOICES readings are funded by Pitt-Greensburg’s Academic Village and the Office of Academic Affairs.

For more information about the series or about the Creative & Professional Writing Program at Pitt-Greensburg, please visit the campus website (www.greensburg.pitt.edu) or contact Jakiela at loj@pitt.edu.

Publication Date

Wednesday, October 4, 2023 - 10:15