Department of Media Study News & Events

Brett Williams and Tim Gera: NICKEL CITY SMILER

Nickel City Smiler directed by Brett Williams and edited by Tim Gera was featured in the Buffalo News. The article A story of anguish and hope: Film tells a tale of Buffalo’s Burmese residents through the eyes of one refugee was published on April 11, 2011. Nickel City Smiler is a documentary about a proud Burmese refugee named Smiler and all the dreams and burdens he carries with him in his busy life on Buffalo’s West Side.

It’s a documentary with a catchy title — “Nickel City Smiler” — about a proud Burmese refugee named Smiler and all the dreams and burdens he carries with him in his busy life on Buffalo’s West Side.

The story of the Burmese in Buffalo is told through the sometimes anguished thoughts and words of Smiler Greely, and the 103-minute film is a gritty look at the plight of Burmese refugees here.

“Nickel City Smiler — From the Jungle to the Streets” will be shown at 6 p.m. Wednesday in the Market Arcade as part of the current 10-day Buffalo Niagara Film Festival.

Why should the plight of the Burmese be so important in Buffalo?

Partly because the Burmese and other refugees represent the only slice of growth in an otherwise hemorrhaging population.

“Ninety-eight percent of the individuals that moved into the city of Buffalo for the past two years were refugees,” said Donna Pepero, who heads the Refugee School Impact Program in the Buffalo schools. “They’re filling these empty houses on the West Side, all over Buffalo.”

To view the entire article, please visit:

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Center for the Moving Image announces “Bridge Project” student grant awards

brdige pic

Seven DMS graduate students have been awarded grants through the Center for the Moving Image (CMI) in the Department of Media Study to support individual films based on their participation in “The Bridge: An International Art Initiative”.

Last spring the CMI hosted Richard Foreman, a pioneer of American avant-garde theater, and his collaborator Sophie Haviland for an intensive two week film and theater production at the Ukrainian Center in Buffalo. The footage created from that project is now part of “The Bridge”, which has been to nine countries conducting similar workshops. The students will be using the footage made in Buffalo to create their own films.

The seven grant recipients for 2009-10 are: Anna Scime ($1000), Scott Ries ($1000), Kerri Kieser ($1000), Yuichiro Yamada ($1000), Olivier Delrieu-Schulze ($1000), Loren Sonnenberg ($1000), and Brett Williams ($500). A screening of their work will be held in Buffalo and New York City next spring.

Emmy award-winning filmmaker Elliot Caplan, Artistic Director of the CMI and UB professor of Media Study said, “We were the first location chosen in the United States for this prestigious and far-reaching project. We are thrilled that our students will be able to contribute to its continued success and capitalize on this opportunity by producing another generation of work.”

The grants were made possible through the generous support of the Liberace Foundation and the Dean’s Office in the UB College of Arts and Sciences.

For more information on The Bridge:

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