“Ageless Wonders” is set in Buffalo, NY, where elderly individuals from the Black community participate in Vicente Rondon’s negative photography workshop as part of the Senior Program at CAO of WNY. Beyond mastering the art of capturing and printing large-format photographs, participants engage in profound dialogues with Rondon about life, memory, and the past, resulting in evocative portraits. Directed by Mani Mehrvarz, this film bridges generational divides and shines a light on a city in transformation.
Director and Editor Mani Mehrvarz producer Community Action Organization of WNY, Thomas U. Kim featuring Senior Program at CAO of WNY, Jean Woods, Stacia McBride, Elizabeth Pringle, Yvonne Hairston Music Ethan Hayden Photography Vicente Rondone Director of Photography and Assistant Producer Justin Sanchez Cinematography Justin Sanchez, Mani Mehrvarz
SURVIVE REMEMBER THRIVE Documentary | 16 min | USA
ABOUT THE FILM
Survive, Remember, Thrive: Armenian Traditions in Western New York is a documentary video series celebrating local expressions of Armenian culture and heritage. The series is produced by the Folk Arts Program at the Castellani Art Museum of Niagara University and the Buffalo Documentary Project.
director and editor MANI MEHRVARZ producer CASTELLANI ART MUSEUM OF NIAGARA UNIVERSITY featuring ANI AVDOIAN, KATHY PELLER, DAWN SAKALIAN art director MARYAM MULIAEE cinematography MATTHEW A. NARDONE, JUSTIN SANCHEZ sound MICHAEL BOUQUARD
A short film and five short videos will debut to the public on Sunday, April 24, 2022 from 2:00-4:00 p.m. at the Russell J. Salvatore Dining Commons on the Niagara University campus. . Remarks about the project and a Q&A will take place following the screening. Light refreshments will be provided. Registration is required for this event. Visit armenianwnyfilmseries.eventbrite.com to make a reservation.
Fight for Good:One Body One Soul Documentary | 29 min | USA
ABOUT THE FILM
Fight for Good: One Body One Soul is a short documentary created by Buffalo Documentary Project. It tells how Buffalo’s Community Health Center (CHCB) responded to the COVID-19 pandemic as the crisis moved into its second year. As racial disparities persist in the everyday lives of underserved communities of color, COVID-19 has presented us with new challenges of vaccine hesitancy and outright refusal. CHCB’s leader and providers go into the community in an endless effort to continue to fight the pandemic and provide healthcare for the most disadvantaged populations residing in the cities of Buffalo and Niagara Falls. This film shows how CHCB leaders present candid community voices that offer an effective way to respond to unprecedented difficulties encountered in the current COVID-19 and future pandemics.
Director and Editor: Mani Mehrvarz Featuring: Dr. Lavonne Ansari, Dr. Kenyani Davis, Marsha McWilson, Raymond Allen, Chaointe Scott, Malik Campbell, Kenny Harris Producer: Community Health Center of Buffalo, Inc. Director of Photography: Matthew A. Nardone Art Director: Maryam Muliaee Executive Producer: Naila Ansari Audio: Michael Bouquard Camera Operator: Joe Blodgett Photography: Jacob Vogan Gaffers: Mark Pasqualotto Credit Music: Ethan Hayden Music: Edoy, Kai Engel, Three Chain Links
STATEMENT By Dr. LaVonne Ansari
When we began our “Fight For Good” journey, our initial objectives in collaborating with the Buffalo Documentary Project were simple. We wanted to capture our experiences as community healthcare providers and impact our patients, family members, and friends. While we recorded our stories, we also unexpectedly found ourselves engaging in deep self-reflection and giving voice to our vulnerabilities and the genuine, increasingly evident obstacles posed by systemic racism and healthcare inequities.
As this pandemic continued to twist and turn, both the community and providers had to learn from each other. Through community education, we began to see rays of light break through the darkness in the form of fast-track vaccines and life-saving treatments. Although the bombardment of misinformation was a significant obstacle in giving vaccines to communities of color, we did not give up on finding creative ways to vaccinate. Ultimately, I believe our answers lie within our collective selves.
Fight for Good: One Body One Soul shows the COVID-19 pandemic active in our communities and that we are all connected to what affects one, affects all. Nature does not give an advantage to where you live, rich over poor, or one person is better than another. Fight For Good: One Body One Soul continues to capture our history of fighting for all that is good.
VIRTUAL SCREENING The documentary was screened at the Burchfield Penney Art Center at SUNY Buffalo State College, on Thursday, April 22, 2021, at 7:00 PM. The screening was followed by a discussion Panel live-streamed on Burchfield Penney’s Facebook page. This was the first event in over a year in Burchfield since Covid.
The event began with a greeting video message received from the NYS Assemblywoman, Crystal D. Peoples-Stokes; the Niagara Falls Mayor Robert Restaino was also in attendance.
Watch the video message from the NYS Assemblywoman, Crystal D. Peoples-Stokes:
ABOUT THE FILM
Buffalo Documentary Project, in collaboration with Community Health Center of Buffalo, Inc., presents a 22-minute film exploring the center’s work, especially during the coronavirus pandemic. COVID-19 disproportionately affects communities of color, highlighting the inequities of our healthcare system. The CHCB’s overarching mission is to reduce health disparities in our society and city. In “Fight for Good,” a CHCB executive and two physicians—all women of color—are captured in an unguarded style, revealing both their personal motivations and their higher goals.
Director and Editor: Mani Mehrvarz Featuring: Dr. LaVonne Ansari, Dr. Kenyani Davis and Dr. Shilpa Kapoor Director of Photography: Matthew A. Nardone Art Director and Researcher: Maryam Muliaee Audio: Michael Bouquard Interview: Naila Ansari and Mani Mehrvarz Camera Operator: Joe Blodgett Photography: Brett Roedel Gaffers: Mark Pasqualotto and Kash Costner
STATEMENT By Dr. LaVonne Ansari
In the summer of 2020, the Community Health Center of Buffalo, Inc. was approached by the Buffalo Documentary Project to explore the possibility of sharing our stories with respect to the COVID-19 Pandemic that was plaguing the world and severely threatening the lives of the communities that we serve. Fast forward to the Spring of 2021, and we are both humbled and honored to benefit from the tremendous film-making artistry of the BDP team. Indeed, we are extremely grateful to have this opportunity to share the experiences and voices of our all too often unheard women, men and children of color. By dedicating ourselves to serving them, we stand with them.
But much more than that, in body, mind and spirit, we are them.
By participating in this 22-minute film entitled Fight For Good, we have shared and learned by giving voice to our common humanity, including our innermost fears of personal vulnerability and loss. Herein are our frustrations and hopes for a healthcare system that is on one hand truly miraculous, and on the other, afflicted with implicit bias and systemic racism. Ultimately, our unshakable belief is that the fight for good is both righteous and winnable!
We are truly blessed through the communications medium of film, to have this opportunity to invite you to engage in what we believe are some of the most important conversations of our present time. We invite your perspective, input, and ultimately, your voice. We are but one, but with yourself, and others, “we” quickly become many and as “many”, our power to affect change is infused with significance and possibility.
Dr. LaVonne Ansari, Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director Community Health Center of Buffalo, Inc.
AARP Ohio virtually presents the 2021 film, Fight for Good as part of the Greater Cleveland Urban Film Festival. In addition, on Sep 17th, AARP Ohio will present a community conversation on health disparities within Cleveland and across the nation. Read more
WBBZ-tv: Fight For Good on air, Sunday, Apr 25, 10:30am & 7:30pm, May 27, 12:30pm, on Your Hometown MeTV Station Channel 67.1 on-air; Cable 5; FiOS 5; Dish 5; DirecTV67.
WORK documents the recording process of the first album by the Buffalo-based new music ensemble Wooden Cities. The film features 56 minutes filmed during their summer 2018 recording sessions, as well as director Mani Mehrvarz’s interviews with Wooden Cities’ musicians and ensemble director Brendan Fitzgerald. The film also includes cutting-edge animations to two sections of Frederic Rzewski’s The Price of Oil (recorded for the first time ever for this album), emphasizing the piece’s themes of labor and environmental justice, and made using stop motion techniques amounting to over 8,000 frames. Also, featured are Cardew’s Red Flag Prelude—a musical commemoration of the martyrs of the early labor movement—and Wooden Cities’ Chain Gang, a dynamic free improvisation.
“This striking film provides welcome opportunity to meet the musicians of the Buffalo, N.Y. ensemble, Wooden Cities; and see its artistic and educational mission come to life through a series of interviews, rehearsals, and an extended, animated performance. Recommended!” — Jeffrey Stadelman, Composer
“Work captures the collective’s democratic process, as the ensemble decides what kind of music they want to make—and the new Wooden Cities’ album begins to take form. A testament to passion of the performers and the thrill of creation, the film itself is a work of interdisciplinary art, melding documentary footage, music, and cutting-edge animation.” — Kirsten Miller, New York Times bestselling author
“With an extremely important and present political message, the film, through the dramatization archeology of media, shows us the deep roots of neoliberal exploitation. The compositional structure of the film equally emphasizes the poetic-typographic, musical, graphic-animation treatment of the structure, in comprehensively successful experimentation with form.” — The Unforeseen – International Experimental Film Festival