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Locally shot Titanic drama ‘Unsinkable’ charts course for nationwide theatrical run

‘We’re just excited that Pittsburgh is part of the bigger plan’

PITTSBURGH: Soon, it won’t be just Pittsburghers who get to experience the minor miracle that ultimately became “Unsinkable: Titanic Untold.”

It took almost four COVID-19-interrupted years for the locally shot indie drama to complete production and another year-plus after that for it to debut at the 2023 Three Rivers Film Festival. Pittsburgh-based director Cody Hartman helmed this cinematic adaptation of Beaver County writer Eileen Enwright Hodgetts’ play “Titanic to All Ships,” both of which dramatize the Senate inquiries into the 1912 Titanic disaster.

On Monday, presale tickets became available for the first batch of “Unsinkable” theatrical runs that are set to take place in cities nationwide starting this spring. Anyone interested in checking out these one-week engagements can find out where “Unsinkable” will be playing and purchase tickets at

Western Pennsylvania’s “Unsinkable” week is scheduled for April 11-18 at Sewickley’s Lindsay Theater and Cultural Center. The April 11 screening will also include a Q&A with Hartman, producer Brian Hartman (Cody’s father), star Cotter Smith and possibly other members of the film’s production team.

“We’re just excited that Pittsburgh is part of the bigger plan,” Brian Hartman told the Post-Gazette Tuesday morning. “That way, the cast and crew that make it possible can take part in the fun.”

“Unsinkable” was largely spearheaded by the Hartmans in conjunction with local production company PMI Films. It follows Sen. William Alden Smith (Cotter Smith) as he attempts to assign blame for the now-infamous Titanic tragedy.

The film also stars Karen Allen as Sen. Smith’s wife, Nana; Fiona Dourif as intrepid reporter Alaine Ricard; Jayne Wisener as Sen. Smith’s loyal assistant, Maggie Malloy; and a cavalcade of local talent playing everyone from Titanic passengers to the folks Sen. Smith grills during a series of congressional hearings.

In addition to Pittsburgh, limited “Unsinkable” runs are planned for more than two dozen other cities.

Brian Hartman expects to add more cities and Pittsburgh-area theaters to that list in the near future.

The first “Unsinkable” screening since its Three Rivers Film Festival premiere in November, he said, will actually be in Belfast, Northern Ireland, on March 11. “Unsinkable” will also be shown in London and Southampton, England, before starting its domestic theatrical journey on April 3 in New York City.

The “Unsinkable” team also partnered with Tennessee’s Titanic Museum Attraction for a special screening that will also feature a Q&A with cast and crew on April 12 in Knoxville.

For Brian Hartman, The Lindsay was always the ideal venue for Pittsburgh’s next round of “Unsinkable” screenings. He shouted out to Ross Nugent, a local filmmaker and The Lindsay’s director of education and special programs, for his “attention to detail with sound and picture settings” that Brian feels is “an almost lost art in motion picture exhibition.”

“The Lindsay is a first-class theater that has shown unwavering support for independent film and the community in general,” he said.

Lindsay CEO Carolina Thor told the Post-Gazette via email that booking a week of “Unsinkable” showings is further evidence of how the nonprofit theater “strives to strengthen the film industry through our work with local and emerging filmmakers.”

“We are very much looking forward to the theatrical release of a film that was completely shot and produced in our region,” she wrote. “’Unsinkable’ supported the local economy and boosted the region’s position in the cultural landscape.

“We encourage a strong show of appreciation, not just at The Lindsay, but everywhere this film is screening.”

Joshua Axelrod: and Twitter @jaxelburgh.


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