Tony Buba is described by Anthology Film Archives as “one of the most singular, and egregiously overlooked, filmmakers in the U.S… the prime representative of the blue-collar, populist, politically-committed yet outrageously entertaining American filmmaking movement that’s largely missing-in-action.” Since the 1970’s, Buba has been making films about his hometown of Braddock, PA. He has made shorts and features, documentaries and narratives, chronicling the lives of individual people and the struggles of the town itself. Buba’s charming personal style of filmmaking converges with and heightens the impact of his relentless documentation of the plight of the former steel town as it declines in both opportunity and prosperity.
His films have been screened at Sundance, Toronto, Berlin, and other major international film festivals. He has had one-person exhibitions at more than 100 universities and museums, including The Museum of Modern Art, Whitney Museum of American Art, and The Carnegie Museum of Art. His awards include fellowships from the NEA, AFI, and the Rockefeller and Guggenheim Foundations, as well as grants from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts and the Pennsylvania Humanities Council.
Thursday, April 4, 7:00 PM
Struggles in Steel: A Story of African-American Steel Workers (USA, 1996, 86 mins) Co-produced by Tony Buba and Ray Henderson Told through interviews with over 70 veteran African American workers from America’s “Steel Belt,” Struggles In Steel recounts their complex history — a story of grueling work combined with heart-breaking discrimination and unfulfilled potential. The film also chronicles the end of an era in American industrialism; shortly after African Americans were granted long-overdue workplace rights, the mills closed down, turning once-thriving middle-class communities into wastelands.
Friday, April 5, 7:00 PM
Ghosts of Amistad (USA, 2014, 56 mins)
This film was inspired by Marcus Rediker’s The Amistad Rebellion: An Atlantic Odyssey of Slavery and Freedom (Penguin, 2012). It documents a journey to Sierra Leone in 2013 to visit the home villages of the rebels who captured the slave schooner Amistad in 1839. The filmmaker interviews elders about local memory of the incident, and search for the long-lost ruins of Lomboko, the slave trading factory where the transatlantic voyage began.
Saturday, April 6, 7:00 PM
Ode to a Steel Town (USA, 2007, 12 mins)
This short documentary continues a lifelong commitment by Buba to document the fate of his hometown, Braddock. Buba questions residents of this blighted rustbelt town, interspersing footage of their answers with contrasting images of contemporary Braddock and those from its former prosperity.
We Are Alive: The Fight to Save Braddock Hospital (USA, 2013, 67 mins)
This ‘cinema verite’ style documentary was shot over a 2 1/2 year period, from October 2009 to June 2012. It chronicles the fight that residents from Braddock, PA waged against the $10 billion nonprofit medical corporate giant, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, to keep their community hospital open. The film follows the Braddock community from disbelief to anger, to organizing, and taking it to the streets.
Thursday April 4, Friday, April 5 and Saturday, April 6, 2019
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