PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The comedy/horror film “Tales from the Hood” is one of many features written and directed by a man who grew up in the neighborhood of Manchester.
“I lived right here on Liverpool Street, ” Rusty Cundieff says, on a return visit. “A few houses down. Went to St. Joseph’s for grade school.” Gesturing , he adds, “My grandmother lived back that way.”
Cundieff would eventually move to Los Angeles and make movies, like a mock documentary of rap called “Fear of a Black Hat.”
“It was basically a rap version of Spinal Tap, the famous Carl Reiner film,” he says. “It was just a very satiric look at the rap world.”
Plans for a real life documentary brought him back to Pittsburgh. Young musicians in Hazelwood have found a home in the church of pastor Tim Smith, founder of a of an outreach called Center of Life.
So the Hollywood director thought, “There must be some kind of story about these kids that aren’t quite the same kids you see on Glee, but still have a story and still have interest in the arts. And kind of through that, I got turned on to pastor Tim Smith and the Center of Life.”
“This brick is a lot cleaner than when I was here,” he says, admiring the homes of the Manchester neighborhood of his childhood. “I think they sand blasted it. And they’ve put in new sidewalks.”
That’s not the only thing that’s changed since he left for L.A. It seems that Hollywood has come back home.
“The productions coming in, the people that can work here and don’t have to go to New York, and don’t have to go to Los Angeles to have a career in film or television,” he said. “I just think that’s fantastic.”