Lightning Over Braddock: A Rustbowl Fantasy (1988), color — 80 min.
Director Tony Buba in attendance.
Tony's first feature film was Lightning Over Braddock: A Rustbowl Fantasy, which in turn established him as an innovator of the «exploded documentary.»
Lightning won numerous awards, including «Best Film» at the Birmingham International Film Festival in England and a nomination as «Best First Feature Film» by the Independent Spirit Awards.
Like Buba’s earlier short films, Lightning chronicles the decline of Braddock, Pennsylvania, a hard-luck town which once flourished as “Pittsburgh’s shopping center.”
It concerns a director (Tony Buba, playing himself) trying, without much success, to make a movie with a crazy street hustler named Sal, who considers himself responsible for Buba’s (modest) success. Like Errol Morris, Buba has a fascination with the idiosyncratic details of daily life, and uses his formidable sense of humor to document the decay of industrial America.
“A triumph of pragmatic populism with a cast of union organizers, street hustlers, and Buba himself, [it] should be required viewing at every Sundance seminar; this ‘rustbowl fantasy’ is one of the few regional movies to successfully and unsentimentally peel off the national smile button.” –J. Hoberman, VILLAGE VOICE
Washing Walls with Mrs. G. (1980) — b&w, 6 min.
“Every year I washed walls for my grandmother. When my grandmother was 87, I made this video while washing her walls. The camera person was Nick Mastandrea, who has gone on to be one of the top A.D. in Hollywood. Nick never shot anything before this and he said what do I do. I told him don't pan, tilt or zoom, just keep my grandmother in the frame.”
TONY BUBA has been producing documentaries since 1972 in both long and short formats. Since getting his M.F.A from Ohio University in 1976, Tony has worked on several feature films, including George Romero’s Martin and Dawn of the Dead. In addition to his behind-the-scenes roles, Tony has appeared onscreen as well. In Dawn of the Dead, he is a featured motorcycle raider who gets his arm torn off at a blood pressure machine.
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.
Tony and Braddock Films have also been featured on NPR. 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.