For three days beginning February 18th, the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAMPFA) will be presenting the film series Committed Cinema. It is a feature of films from filmmaker Tony Buba, who spent around forty years documenting the decline of his hometown, Braddock, Pennsylvania. As noted by Anthology Film Archives, he is perhaps “one of the most overlooked filmmakers in the U.S.”, and is credited for shedding a light on once-thriving places with spunk, humor, and penetrating observations.
BAMPFA will present three of Buba’s films, beginning with The Braddock Chronicles on February 18th. It is a series of nine shorts made from 1972 to 1985, and were portraits of family, friends, and fellow residents of Braddock, including a barmaid, and a person who made approximately eleven “comebacks” in his life. On February 19th is the film Lighting Over Braddock: A Rustbowl Fantasy (1988), which is Buba’s first feature film, where he is hounded by a celebrity-hungry subject, who offers a Hollywood gig (considered to be the fantasy part). The film is set against the town’s crumbling landscape, filled with steel-town politics. Finally on February 20th is Buba latest film, We Are Alive! The Fight to Save Braddock Hospital. The film centers around the University of Pitsburgh Medical Center’s (UPMC) decision to close the Braddock Hospital, and the ill-fated attempt to save it.
Throughout this film series, Buba will be joined in conversation by Rick Ayers, a professor of education at the University of San Francisco. Log on to bampfa.berkeley.edu for more information.