Pittsburgh Filmmakers

PRYSEPaul teaches various classes to students of many ages through Pittsburgh Filmmakers and Pittsburgh Filmmakers Youth Media Program. Paul has taught through the following classes and programs:

  • Motion Picture Fundamentals (college/adult)
  • Digital Filmmaking w/DSLR Cameras (college/adult)
  • Heinz Endowments Summer Youth Philanthropy Internship (high school)
  • Digital Filmmaking Workshop (high school)
  • Summer Filmmaking Immersion Camp (high school)
  • PRYSE Academy – Animations (middle school/high school)
  • Foundations of Digital Filmmaking (middle school)
  • Adventures in Green Screen (grade school)
  • WT after 3 at Winchester Thurston Lower School – Video Quests (grade school)

The following are short animations made as part of the Pittsburgh Refugee Youth Summer Enrichment Academy (PRYSE). PRYSE is a three week summer camp for refugee youth between the ages of 12 and 16, organized by student volunteers from the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University. The purpose of the camp is to encourage confidence, academic success, creative expression, and college/career preparedness.

PRYSE Academy – Animations from First Take on Vimeo.

City Theater’s Young Playwrights Festival

YPFPaul worked as a teaching artist for City Theater’s Young Playwrights Festival. Traveling more than 1900 miles during the winter of 2013-2014, Paul lead workshops and help one-on-one coaching sessions for more than 70 students at  West Greene High school in Waynesburg, Pennsylvania; Brooke High School in Wellsburg, West Virginia; and Moon Township High school in Moon Area High School in Moon, Pennsylvania.

Students went on to submit their short plays to the festival at City Theatre, where they will have a chance to have a full professional production of their play in the fall of 2014.

The Elements of Style

Elements of Style

Collaborating with fellow playwright Luke Niebler, Paul wrote The Elements of Style, an absurdist exploration of Aristotelean cosmology and physics. Created through a writing process that was inspired by exquisite corpse games and the constrained writing of Oulipo, this play ties five independently written scenes together with the help of supernatural beings and razor wit.

Under the ingenious direction of Emily Swora, The Elements of Style is set to premiere at the Pittsburgh Pulse office on May 11th, 2014.

PearlArts Studios

PAS – House Party from Paul Kruse on Vimeo.

In the winter/spring of 2014 Paul worked with Staycee and Herman Pearl to document a series of events, rehearsals and performances for PearlArts Studios.


On October 19th 2013, The Drift hosted Hatch Arts Collective’s Driftless, a short play written by Paul Kruse, directed by Adil Mansoor, and produced by Nicole Shero. Performances were held beside the Allegheny river at the Three Rivers Rowing Association. Starring Tyler Phillips Yoder, Mallory Fuccella, and Julianne Avolio, with music by Alaina Dopico.

Driftless is a love poem to the Marcellus Shale of Western Pennsylvania. The play depicts encounters between environmental activists and the industry surrounding hydraulic fracturing. Mixing real accounts of the fracking debate with US tax code, a Roman Catholic Mass, the writings of Plutarch, and corporate literature, Driftless enters and fills the cracks of a complicated conversation.

Special thanks to Percolate Creative Laboratory, Brooke Smokelin, Rick Brown, Three Rivers Rowing Association, Zoe Mizuho, and The Sprout Fund.

Driftless 2


Driftless 1

mama am i clean yet?

mama, am i clean yet? TRAILER from Paul Kruse on Vimeo.

Performed and choreographed by Jasmine Hearn, Paul documented mama, am i clean yet? explores the themes of shame, cleanliness, perception, and wearing white.

performed by Jasmine Hearn, Taylor Knight, jhon r. stronks, and Anqwenique Wingfield

concept and choreography by Jasmine Hearn

documentation by Paul William Kruse

mama 1

La Gourmandine

La Gourmandine from Paul Kruse on Vimeo.

Working with Lisanne and Fabien Moreau, who own La Gourmandine bakery around the corner from Paul’s house, he worked to created this short promotional video.

A true taste of France in the heart of Pittsburgh
France is known for many things, but most of all for its food.
In French, “Gourmand’ means someone who likes to eat.
LA GOURMANDINE offers the elegance and true ambiance of a French Bakery. Each dessert, pastry and loaf of bread is hand-crafted and baked onsite everyday. And the use of butter is no sacrilege!
Bon Appetit

Before Pride


Paul worked as the playwright teaching artist for Before Pride, a new play created and performed by the Dreams of Hope youth theater ensemble. The full length play follows the personal and historical journeys we take as an LGBTQ community to arrive at Pride. Inspired by the ensemble’s interviews with community leaders in Pittsburgh, historical research, and our own experiences, Before Pride asks, “Where have we come from and where are we going?” Paul worked with the dreams of Hope ensemble and local artists Adil Mansoor, Monica Stephenson, and Maree ReMalia to develop original text, music, and dance for this hour-long performance.

Before Pride was produced for Dreams of Hope’s 2013-2014 season. It premiered at the Kelly Strayhorn Theater‘s Dance Alloy space the weekend of January 24th-25th, 2014, and is touring throughout Western Pennsylvania and the surrounding region during 2014.

Paul also worked as video and photo documentarian for this production.

Before Pride from Paul Kruse on Vimeo.


The Raspberry Sisterhood Observations

The Raspberry Sisterhood Observations from Paul Kruse on Vimeo.

This surrealist short was created in the fall of 2012. It was posted to Facebook, after its completion, where viewers were asked to vote on the content of the next in the series. The next installment is due to be finished in the fall of 2013.

(Canon 7D, 2:35)

Raspberry Sisterhood Observations Alexis

A Closer Look

A Closer Look from First Take on Vimeo.

“A Closer Look” is a residency offered by Gateway to the Arts to Pittsburgh area schools, grades 4-12. Paul first gave the residency at Benjamin Franklin Elementary School in Bethel Park, PA. For an anchor work of art at Ben Franklin, Paul used Dot, a short piece made by the British directing team Sumo Science (Will Studd and Ed Patterson) using a microscopic camera lens on the Nokia 8 to animate a 9mm figure.

Using animation, Paul engaged students in creating original stories, learning the principles of unit conversion (Common Core Mathematics Standard CC.2.4.4.A.2). By creating an animation from frames to seconds and seconds to minutes, students creatively embody mathematical concepts while telling stories through visual media. Every student has hands-on time animating with an actual camera. What can a closer look teach us about the wider view?

Shooting Star Hands

Shooting Star Hands from First Take on Vimeo.

This short animation was created by the amazing students at Arsenal Middle School in Lawrencville, Pittsburgh. It was made as part of an eight week residency with the MGR Foundation. The residency focused on media literacy through creating animation. It asked students to investigate the media that surrounds them, and participate in its creation. The basis for the animation, and an anchor work of art in the class, was the spoken word poem “Shooting Star Hands” by Vanessa German, who generously agreed to let her work be part of the class.

We Need You to Vote

Teen Bloc Spot – 60 Seconds from First Take on Vimeo.

Created in the spring of 2013 in anticipation of the Pittsburgh’s May school board elections, Paul facilitated the writing, shooting, and editing of this TV spot with the amazing students of TeenBloc Pittsburgh, in conjunciton with A+ Schools, the MGR Foundation, and Coro Pittsburgh.

About Face Live

About Face LiveCreated in collaboration with photographer Arne Svenson, About Face Live is both a work of video art and clinical tool. The video was made at Wesley Spectrum Highland Services through a residency with the Andy Warhol Museum. It is an extension of an exhibition of still photographs taken in 2011. From Arne Svenson’s website:

Svenson’s residency, which led to this exhibition, is part of an ongoing partnership with Svenson, The Warhol, the Cognitive Psychology Department at the University of Victoria, BC, and Wesley Spectrum Highland. The goal of this partnership is to improve autistic youth’s communication skills by developing and piloting activities that utilize Warhol’s portraits and the practice of contemporary portrait artists to teach facial recognition skills to students within the autism spectrum.

Dreams of Hope Promo

Dreams of Hope Promo – Full from Paul Kruse on Vimeo.

Dreams of Hope - Luke at Speaq

Dreams of Hope is a performing arts organization for LGBTQA youth. After conducting interviews with staff and students, I created this promotional video. From the Dreams of Hope website:

Through the power of the arts, Dreams of Hope provides the region’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and allied (LGBTQA) youth a welcoming environment to grow in confidence, express themselves, and develop as leaders. Their creative contributions educate audiences, build awareness, and increase acceptance.

Dreams of Hope Rehearsal

Department of Hope

DoH2Devised in collaboration with Dreams of Hope Performance Troupe for LGBTQ youth. The Department of Hope opened January 2013 at the August Wilson Center in Pittsburgh, PA. Developed from improvisational scene work informed by the experiences of LGBTQ youth, The Department of Hope merges real life with a fantastical government agency. The Department of Hope asks what we all can do to bring about hope. The piece will be toured throughout the Pittsburgh area during 2013, educating audiences on LGBTQ issues.

Ack! The Musical

Comedia meets the Sunday comics in this short play. Cathy fills her lonely life with chocolate and self-loathing. Jon Arbuckle can’t help but feel that he is nothing more than a side character in his cat’s time honored narrative. When fate and internet dating bring these two lonely souls together, worlds collide. With all the forces of hell pitted against them, can they make a better life? And will any of us survive the coming of the Marmaduke?

Ack! The Musical was performed for the February 2013 Ten-Minute Play Festival at the Shop in Pittsburgh, PA.




Chickens – Trailer from Paul Kruse on Vimeo.

Chickens is a new play that tells the story of a family through the eyes of their four chickens. Set in Pittsburgh, Chickens explores what a gay identity means for one couple, as they journey from the families that raised them to the family they choose to create together. Amidst the struggle to define partnership and wrestle with individual family ties, Chickens invites you to join them in taking one messy step forward.

Chickens was the first production of Hatch Arts Collective, and had its world premiere the weekend of June 7th, 8th, and 9th, 2013 at Fe Gallery in Pittsburgh’s Lawrenceville neighborhood. Each performance sold out, and the show was reviewed in Cross Currents Pittsburgh, Shannon Writes, and Queer & Brown in Steel Town.Chickens11

Chickens5 Chickens4 Chickens3 Chickens2


Diq from Paul Kruse on Vimeo.

A parody pharmaceutical commercial, “Diq” takes a humorous look at gay life, while poking fun at drug ads. “Diq” premiered at the 2012 CNKY Scene Film Festival in Cincinnati, OH.

(Nikon D7000, 1:20)

Internet Collaboration Project

The Internet Collaboration Project comes from a desire to collaborate among a large group of creative people who are separated by geography. On April 17, 2012, I emailed 50 of my friends asking if they’d like to participate in a online collaborative experiment. 30 agreed to be part of the Internet Collaboration Project.

Internet Collaboration Project

Each creator submitted text that they or someone they know generated.

Each text submission was randomly assigned to a new creator.

Each creator made something with the text that they were given.

All of these final creations can be seen here at the Internet Collaboration Projects website (

If you or anyone you know is interested in participating in the Internet Collaboration Projects, please send an email to me at

The Year I Broke My Voice

The Year I Broke My Voice (Trailer) from Madsen Minax on Vimeo.

Paul collaborated as Director of Photography with filmmaker Madsen Minax during fall of 2011 to create The Year I Broke My Voice. From the director:

The Year I Broke My Voice is an experimental film that re-examines the coming of age narrative. The story follows several groups of socially interconnected ‘adolescents,’ (played by trans adults) providing snapshots of the connections and traumas they experience through each other. The video examines notions of time, memory and nostalgia in trans experiences, the erotics of friendships, and the inevitability of being alone. The script for this project was composed in a collage format by excerpting and adapting texts from three Hollywood coming-of-age films.” -Madsen Minax

The Year I Broke My Voice has screened in the Bangalore Queer Film Festival in Bangalore, India; the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana; Northwestern University’s Block Theatre in Evanston, IL; The Nightengale in Chicago, IL; the Indianapolis LGBT Film Festival in Indianapolis, IN; Stony Brook University (SUNY), NY; Fringe! Film Festival in London, UK; University of Kansas at Lawrence; TranScreen Amsterdam; and Filmhuis Cavia in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

To Jamestown

To Jamestown from Paul Kruse on Vimeo.

“To Jamestown” is a post-apocalyptic short film, made as a senior thesis at Northwestern University. While bearing a mysterious message to the port city of Jamestown, Cillian Wood and his teacher John are attacked by a vicious monster.

(Super 16mm, 13:09)



Hold from Paul Kruse on Vimeo.

“Hold” is a short film that explores moments of loss and connection. It was funded by one of five grants given out by Zach Braff to Northwestern University students in 2008.

(Super 16mm, 6:05)


The world ends in ten minutes. Anna has just escaped the madness of the city. Henry clings to the only life he has known. What is it like to face the end of everything with a complete stranger?
“Kiss” was performed at the Actors Theatre of Louisville‘s 2011 ten-minute play festival and published in the May 2011 issue of Dramatics magazine. It has been produced at high schools and festivals around the country.