Thursday, May 3, 2012

Legendary Filmmaker Tony Buba, Part One!

Tony Buba, In His Studio
Winter 1989. I am in Baltimore, where my fiancĂ© – now wife of 22 years, thank you! – was living at the time.  Braddock, PA filmmaker Tony Buba was appearing at the Baltimore Museum of Art, at a screening of his 1988 classic documentary, Lightning Over Braddock.  There was a full house, and in the Q and A after the screening, Tony fielded a number of questions from the attendees. My question didn’t quite reflect the depth of knowledge regarding film, or urban decay, as some of my fellow attendees. I simply asked which pizza Tony liked more, Mineo’s or Vincent’s. With a hearty laugh, Tony got it right – Mineo’s.
November, 2011. I am at the Braddock Library for a memorial service for David Demarest, the father of Jamie Demarest, one of my closest friends since High School. I knew David Demarest loved Pittsburgh and its urban landscapes, and loved to spend time in neighborhoods like Braddock.  He was extremely active not only in helping to rejuvenate towns such as Braddock, but in fighting for any number of important social causes.  He is the man who revived “Out of This Furnace,” a book by Thomas Bell that captured immigrant life in a Western Pennsylvania steel town, and he was instrumental in preventing the shut-down of the Braddock library.  The man filming the memorial service was Tony Buba.
After the service I asked Tony if he’d mind setting up a time to have a conversation.  He is a man I have long respected – a local filmmaker who stayed loyal to his home town through its worst years.  We had a fantastic conversation. Tony is an accomplished filmmaker, an icon of the Pittsburgh/Braddock community, and as you would expect, a natural story-teller. And he’s also quite active – he is working on a number of new projects, and from June 8-12 his work will be featured at the Anthology Film Archives, in New York. Here’s the link: