Wednesday, June 28, 2006
To the screening of "Portraits of Main Street" last night, the Squeaky Wheel youth media project that had 17 students from Western New York high schools making documentaries about Buffalo. It was terrific to see the theater filled with family and friends of the filmmakers, and it was encouraging to hear the students talk about their optimism for Buffalo. The documentaries were pretty clear-eyed, I thought, but far from despairing. There seemed to be a fair number of the group who plan on continuing to work in film and video: what they may not realize is that their commitment to creativity is perhaps the most significant sign of health Buffalo could manifest.
The films themselves were well put-together, and displayed a level of craft that demonstrated how well the Squeaky staff had done their work. These kids learned a lot about making movies. A five to seven minute documentary is a pretty compressed form, but each of the films had an arc, and a point of view. The filmmakers weren't afraid to take on challenging subjects, and brought a sense of humor to the work as well.
A funny little thrill for me came at the end, when I saw my name in the credit crawl. My involvement with the project was strictly in the capacity of board member of the sponsoring organization, of course, but it was pretty cool to see anyway.