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First-year guard Aaryn Battle (1) dribbles the ball during Thursday evening’s game against Wake Forest in the Petersen Events Center.
Pitt women’s basketball falls back into their old habits, fall to Wake Forest 65-50
By Sara Meyer, Staff Writer • February 23, 2024

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First-year guard Aaryn Battle (1) dribbles the ball during Thursday evening’s game against Wake Forest in the Petersen Events Center.
Pitt women’s basketball falls back into their old habits, fall to Wake Forest 65-50
By Sara Meyer, Staff Writer • February 23, 2024

Pitt alum’s short film ‘In Good Hands’ celebrates Black doctors in Pittsburgh

Dr.+Sylvia+Owusu-Ansah+speaks+during+the+panel+at+the+%E2%80%9CIn+Good+Hands%E2%80%9D+premiere+in+The+Understory+on+Thursday+evening.
Alex Jurkuta | Staff Photographer
Dr. Sylvia Owusu-Ansah speaks during the panel at the “In Good Hands” premiere in The Understory on Thursday evening.

Pittsburgh is a medical city. UPMC buildings are scattered across its neighborhoods, employing nearly 5,000 physicians. The Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh is one of the largest hospitals in the city. Yet according to filmmaker Yasmine Crawley, there is only one Black pediatric emergency attending physician working there — Dr. Sylvia Owusu-Ansah. Meanwhile, Black residents make up approximately 23% of the city’s population

Carl Kurlander, a film professor at Pitt and founder of the Pitt in LA program, and Crawley, a Pitt alumna who graduated in 2021 and now works for Paramount, realized that the city needed to hear this doctor’s story. Kurlander recommended Crawley write and submit a script to the PITTch script competition, and Crawley created “In Good Hands.”

“In Good Hands” is an 11-minute-long short film about fictional Dr. Diana Asante, a pediatric emergency attending physician. The film is a fictionalized day in the life of Asante, based on stories told in Dr. Owusu-Ansah’s memoir and played by Chanel Jones, a local actress and musician. This dramatic story depicts Dr. Owusu-Ansah’s navigation around racism in the medical community to provide the best possible care for her patients.

The sneak peek screening of the film took place last Thursday in the Center for Creativity’s Understory in the basement of the Cathedral. The Center for Creativity is a creative space where students can attend or perform student plays, performances and films. Erik Schuckers, manager of communications and programming for the Center of Creativity, said the space has potential for the future as it continues to grow.

“It’s a great opportunity to have a space where we can feature smaller projects, we can feature student films, we’ve had some film classes come in and host screenings for both their students and for the larger community,” Schuckers said. “So we’ve got a nice screen now and sound system and all of that. So, we’re hoping to do more performances, not just film, but other kinds of performances here as well.”

People who worked on the film, family members, medical workers and other members of the Pittsburgh community filed into the Understory. The screening was a celebration of people of color, young filmmakers and medical professionals. A panel after the screening, consisting of Owusu-Ansah, Kurlander, Jones and Crawley along with cinematographer Haji Muya and director Nicholas Buchheit, fostered a discussion of the film’s production and themes. Buchheit, who directed the film at Muya’s recommendation, founded his own commercial production company, Covalent. He discussed his creative process during the production.

“What was imperative to me was that, and I have instincts as creative, but making sure those instincts align with the truth of what the narrative was. So [Owusu-Ansah and Crawley] were really great collaborators. We had a lot of good discussions about, ‘Okay, here’s what I think the scene should play because it feels natural to me,’ but I was like ‘Is that actually how it happened? Is this how it actually felt or like, where’s the truth at, where’s it feel real for the people that experienced it while also making it for an audience.’’ Buchheit said. “It was a really cool balance. It was a really cool — I don’t want to call it a challenge, it’s just a really cool part of the process.”

Buchheit said shooting happened over the course of two days, with 16 pages of script shot in that timeline. Crawley said she was excited to be involved in the shooting process. She said the film industry was not always her goal, but Crawley said she realized her passion through her experience and interaction with the film department at Pitt.

“I was a psychology and Africana studies double major and I minored in creative writing. My sophomore year of college, I started to realize that I might want to break into entertainment by writing television. So, [I] just tag on a creative writing minor because I love to write anyway, just to see what becomes of that,” Crawley said. “Then I was dead set on becoming a therapist after graduation, and then my adviser told me about Carl’s Pitt in LA … You don’t have to necessarily be a film major or have a bunch of prior knowledge to break in [to the film industry]. It’s really all about your personality and determination.”

After she graduated, Crawley used her psychology major to get a job at Johns Hopkins University’s hospital and worked on a floor with children that had psychiatric illnesses. After a bad day at work, a reminder of her entertainment industry dreams by a coworker led Crawley to apply to an exclusive CBS page program. After getting in, she worked under Susan Zirinsky, president of See it Now Studios, who hired her immediately out of the program. 

“In Good Hands” was an opportunity for Crawley to step into the spotlight, realizing her scriptwriting dreams as well as making an impact on the Pittsburgh community. Elevation of people of color was an important theme throughout the film, as well as the entire screening event. 

Kurlander offered parting words on the value of filmmakers like Crawley.

“Storytelling can make a difference,” Kurlander said.

About the Contributor
Quinn Cilea, Staff Writer
Quinn Cilea is a junior English fiction writing and film and media studies major with a minor in Italian. He loves watching Chelsea, playing soccer and rock climbing. If he’s not out doing one of these things, he’s probably working through his long TV and movie watchlist or working on a music playlist.