Local Filmmakers Speak Through Wolf Lecture Series

April 13, 2010

Local filmmaker Tony Buba and screenwriter Jim Daniels' film, "No Pets," asked one question: "What about my story?"


According to Buba, the working class in the United States is rarely depicted in films. "In America, films are not about the working class," Buba said.
Daniels and Buba both grew up in industrial towns and both said that was why their films focused on the plight of the working man. Daniels, creative writing professor at Carnegie-Mellon University, said that he focused much of his work on the working man because that is who he most relates to.
Buba and Daniels, Wolf Lecture Series speakers at Mount Union College, focused their 80-minute narrative on the life of a working-class man living in Braddock, Penn., a town Buba described as "dying and short-lived."
Buba, graduate of Edinboro College and former resident at Ohio University and the University of Wisconsin, said that while "No Pets" would never be marketable, he didn't want to compromise the quality of the film by "selling out" to Hollywood norms, such as nudity, car crashes or bar fights. Daniels said, " The only thing we compromised on was our budget."
He also avoided typical Hollywood conventions when it came to editing "No Pets." Rather than invisible editing that he said has become dominating in the movie industry, he opted for obvious transitions. Buba said, "I want people to remember that they are watching a film."
"No Pets," considered a "no-budget" film since it only cost $35,000 to produce, was funded through national grants and fellowships, as was "Struggles in Steel: A Story of African-American Steelworkers," a documentary about the obstacles African-American steel workers faced.
This 1996 80-minute film came about when Buba's friend, Ray Henderson, the local chapter president of the NAACP, watched a documentary about steelworkers and was outraged that no African-Americans were depicted in it. Buba said that he chose to make the documentary because it was a "great subject" and because of Henderson' s passion. "It is impossible not to listen to the man [Henderson] when he speaks," Buba said.
Daniels and Buba also included advice for college students in their day-long stay at the College. The encouraged students to finish what he or she starts so that the growth process they undergo is visible. Buba said, "It becomes a disease not to finish."
The speakers were presented as part of the Wolf Lecture Series. The Eleanor Mincks Wolf Lecture was established by John L. Wolf of Medina in memory of his wife Eleanor. A 1939 graduate of Mount Union College, she was a former teacher of English and Latin in Richfield and Highland school districts.

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