Buffalo Youth Media Institute


2013 Buffalo Youth Media Institute: West Side Stories Premiere Screening

Sunday, September 15
1:30pm | Free and open to the public
Burchfield Penney Art Center
1300 Elmwood Ave, Buffalo, New York 14222

Squeaky Wheel invites you to join us for WEST SIDE STORIES, the world premiere of nine youth-produced documentaries recently created through Squeaky Wheel’s 2013 Buffalo Youth Media Institute. This special event will occur at the Burchfield Penney Art Center (1300 Elmwood Avenue) on Sunday, September 15 at 1:30pm. The students will be present during a Q&A session following the screening. Highlighted businesses includes: West Side Wheel, Sweetness_7, You & Who, Lucy's Ethiopian Cuisine, Buffalo Maritime Center, Peace Bridge Coalition, Guercio & Sons, West Side Bazaar, Buffalo Religious Arts Center, Five Points Bakery. Descriptions for each film are at the bottom of this email.

Over an 8-week period, Buffalo youth were able to explore this region’s up-and-coming West Side community through the lens of a journalist, documentarian, and producer. Under the guidance of local filmmaker, Mark James, and a mentorship team of community partners, students independently explored issues of pollution, illiteracy, and poverty, as well as featuring some of the unique grassroots businesses flourishing on the West side. Community partners included Buffalo Association of Black Journalists, Buffalo First, Journey's End Refugee Services, People United for Sustainable Housing (P.U.S.H.), Preservation Buffalo Niagara. The finished documentaries represent a team effort that truly uncover and capture the spirit of a thriving community!

Funding for the Buffalo Youth Media Institute is provided by: Children’s Foundation of Erie County, the Cameron Baird Foundation, the Margaret L. Wendt Foundation, City of Buffalo and Erie County Cultural Funds.


The Coalition (directed by Hugh Brown)
“The Coalition” is a documentary about pollution on Buffalo’s West Side. The cause of the pollution is the Peace Bridge, one of the few bridges from the USA to Canada. Big, fuelburning trucks cross the bridge all day, expelling enough exhaust to cause asthma in West Side residents. I interview people from the Clean Air Coalition, a non-profit organization committed to helping Buffalo fight against the elected officials that make decisions that allow pollution. I find out how this organization is trying to save the people of Buffalo.

West Side Stories: A West Side Story (directed by Emma Hulsing)
My documentary is about the high rate of illiteracy on the West Side of Buffalo, New York. The focus is a small shop on Grant st. called West Side Stories. They sell used books as part of a mission to help both refugees from foreign countries and illiterate people learn to read. They don’t sell any book for over ten dollars as a way to make reading more accessible. They also give anyone who comes into the store, and is learning to read a free dictionary.

Sweet_Ness 7 (directed by Olivia Long)
My documentary is about the community inside Sweet_Ness 7, a café on Grant St. Prish Moran bought the vacant building out of the blue one day in 2007, and has owned it ever since. She knew she wanted to help the West Side community, made up mostly of immigrants, and this was her way of doing just that. Since then she has opened another location on Parkside, which is also helping the community. The café has customers from all over Buffalo, not just West-Siders. Their fresh food, kind employees, and hard work helps to establish a welcoming vibe to anyone who walks in.

Sweet Cafe (directed by Lauren Killian)
My documentary is about the Sweet_Ness 7 café located on Grant St. I picked this café because it has so much life to it. I will be focusing on how it appreciates and benefits the community. The West Side is a big place and Sweet_Ness 7 is smack in the middle of it.

The Local Side of Life (directed by Will Stott)
My documentary is focused on Five Points Bakery. It provides a view of what the bakery does for its community and why they are so involved. The documentary will give multiple perspectives on the bakery and bring them together for one cohesive conclusion.

You and Who (directed by Jack Nix)
My documentary is about You and Who T-Shirts. You and Who is a company located on Main Street in North Buffalo. Dan Gigante, the creator of You and Who, was inspired by an interview with the creator of Toms shoes. You and Who donates to shelters in need of t-shirts. Summer wear is often needed. You and Who donates a shirt every time they sell one.

The Buffalo Religious Arts Center (directed by Noah G. Williams)
My topic is the Religious Arts Center. The center preserves artwork from abandoned or closing churches. Rather than auctioning off the pieces, the center keeps all the art in Buffalo. At the end of the day, Buffalo’s historical art stays in the city in which it belongs.

West Side Bazaar (directed by Eli J. Jackson)
I am doing a documentary film on the West Side Bazaar, which is on the corner of West Ferry and Grant in Buffalo’s West Side. The Bazaar employs several immigrants and refugees from a wide array of countries. The Bazaar allows these people to integrate into their new American surroundings while also being able to market their cultural goods.

West Side Wheels (directed by Walter Robinson)
As a division of On the Job Ministries, West Side Wheels seeks to provide job training and employment opportunities to youth on the West Side. While working to change the lives of its employees, the company also sells the bicycles they repair in an attempt to provide inexpensive transportation and bring cycling back to the West Side. In this film, Walter Robinson interviews a director, a manager and an employee to learn the history of the company and find out if its goals have been realized.

Guercio & Sons (directed by Matt Rousselle)
Guercio & Sons is an Italian market on Grant Street in Buffalo’s West Side. It has been providing the community with the finest imported and domestic produce, meats, and cheeses for the past 52 years. In my documentary, I pay homage to the market’s rich history, how it kindles a sense of Italian heritage in Buffalo, and the reasons for its vitality despite changes to the city around it. I hope to impart this message through interviews of the people that have worked there for decades, and through filming the daily goings-on.

Peace Bridge Coalition (directed by Divine Blackburn)
My documentary is about the industrial trucks that cross the Peace Bridge every day. These trucks carry pollution that hurt the people of the Peace Bridge Plaza. The Columbus Park Association helps try to prevent more pollution and tries to prevent further hurt to the neighboring communities.

Buffalo Maritime Center (directed by Cincere Blackburn)
My documentary is about the Buffalo Maritime Center. The Maritime Center rebuilds many types of boats from historical times. In addition to building boats they have mentors of all ages to guide middle school kids in the boat making process. It also helps the young people from getting into trouble.

Lucy’s Ethiopian Cuisine (directed by Daijah Blackburn)
My documentary features Lucy’s Ethiopian Cuisine and Variety Store in Black Rock. Inside Lucy’s, you will find a taste of an Ethiopian experience. Lucy is an authentic Ethiopian restaurant, whose owners are from Ethiopia. After watching, you will definitely want to visit.

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    Office Hours:
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    • Staff Members:

    • Executive Director,
      Jax Deluca
    • Technical Director,
      Mark Longolucco
    • Program Coordinator,
      Frank Napolski
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      Kevin Kline
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      Andrea Schillaci
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      Terry Mickelson
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      Brian Milbrand
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