Andrea Mancuso & Andrew Sutherland – Cultivator Profile

Buffalo is full of people helping to cultivate cinema and we want to celebrate those involved. The Cultivators is a new monthly feature in which we highlight individuals who are integral to the presentation, promotion and production of film here in the queen city.



Andrea Mancuso and Andrew Sutherland. Photo by Jayne Appelbaum.

Curators of Nichols High School’s Classic Movie Night
Dr. Sutherland – Nichols English Dept. / Dr. Mancuso – Nichols Arts Dept.


What got you interested in movies?

Mancuso: I spent the fall of my freshman year in high school going to the North Park Theatre and watching the same three movies over 30 times for a social science project on personal space and horror movies. I recorded the info and drew up some type of conclusion. I think I did the project because I had a crush on a boy that sold tickets at the theater but in the end I was addicted to watching and re-watching films; and I became interested in visual literacy and the semiotics of film.

Sutherland: I grew up in Orange County, California, and we had a single screen Edwards Theater with an enormous screen in our neighborhood. In 1984, there was a revival of Lawrence of Arabia. It was a gorgeous, restored 70mm print. They played the overture before opening the curtains in front of the screen—everything. I was ten years old, and that was my first experience of real cinema. I’ve loved movies ever since.

What is your favorite movie related memory?

Mancuso: One of my most memorable film experiences was taking a photograph at the drive in. I made a 2-hour long exposure of the screen using a large 4×5 view camera with a friend that eventually became my partner. The image is a bright white rectangle illuminating a field of cars and trees. It is a favorite photograph of mine.

Sutherland: Apart from my experience first seeing Lawrence of Arabia, I have some nice memories of going on dates with my first girlfriend at the Nuart Theater in Los Angeles. The theater would show classic films one night of the week. We were too young to have licenses, so her dad would drive us up there and sit in the back of the theater. We saw Citizen KaneChinatown, and a lot of other great movies that way.

How did you end up in Buffalo?

Mancuso: I was born in Buffalo and attended City Honors High school and UB for undergrad. I moved to California for many years and completed a MFA in Performance Video at the San Francisco Art Institute. I moved back to Buffalo to complete my PhD, practice my art, raise my kids and to be close with my large Italian family. Working at Nichols School I was able to build a film program in the arts department and each spring for the past 17 years my film classes run the Flick Fest, a student film festival open to all western New York and Southern Ontario 5-12th grade students. The festival is a highlight of my year and is held in April at the North Park Theatre. I encourage all aspiring filmmakers to send in work. It’s free and open to the public.

Sutherland: I moved out here after graduating from UCSD in order to earn a PhD in English with the late poet Robert Creeley. My wife and I fell in love with Buffalo, and I got a great job at the fabulous Nichols School, so we stayed.

What do you want to see more of in Buffalo?

Mancuso: I am dedicated to Buffalo’s visual art scene. It is edgy and champions the individual while promoting progressive ideas. The things artists do in Buffalo have been copied and made profitable in other cities. It is time for the visual arts and film and video to get some recognition for their ground-breaking innovations.

Sutherland: Buffalo is a place where people seem to band together in order to accomplish things. Large projects, such as Canalside and Larkinville are terrific, but there are small galleries that pop up, art and music collectives, urban farms, etc. etc. There is a wonderful energy here that way. I want to see even more of that.

What are your essential film books?

Mancuso: I am always looking for relevant production texts for my High School students. I like Troy Lanier and Clay Nichols’ Filmmaking For Teens, and for many years, until it went out of print, I used Steven Ascher and Edward Pincus’s The Filmmakers’ Handbook as a text for my Filmmaking and Video classes at Nichols.

Sutherland: Some of my favorite film books are Pauline Kael’s I Lost It at the Movies and Roger Ebert’s The Great Movies series.

Andrea Mancuso:
  1. Blade Runner [1982], directed by Ridley Scott
  2. Videodrome [1983], directed by David Cronenberg
  3. The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou [2004], directed by Wes Anderson
    • But I love most all of Wes Anderson’s films
  4. Twin Peaks [1990-91], created by David Lynch & Mark Frost
  5. Cinema Paradiso / Bicycle Thieves [1988 / 1948], directed by Giuseppe Tornatore / Vittorio De Sica
    • Italian films
  6. 2001: A Space Odyssey [1968], directed by Stanley Kubrick
  7. La Jetee [1962], directed by Chris Marker
  8. Meshes in the Afternoon [1943], directed by Maya Deren
  • Documentaries: Errol Morris, Werner Herzog
  • Women Directors: Will see anything by Sofia Coppola, Kathryn Bigelow, and Nanette Burnstein
  • Movies I enjoy watching over and over: Little Miss SunshineClose Encounters of the Third Kind, and E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial

Andrew Sutherland:
  1. The Man Who Would Be King [1975], directed by John Huston
  2. The Big Sleep [1946], directed by Howard Hawks
  3. The Godfather [1972], directed by Francis Ford Coppola
  4. The Passion of Joan of Arc [1928], directed by Carl Theodor Dreyer
  5. 2001: A Space Odyssey [1968], directed by Stanley Kubrick
  6. Double Indemnity [1944], directed by Billy Wilder
  7. Notorious [1946], directed by Alfred Hitchcock
  8. The Thin Man [1934], directed by W.S. Van Dyke
  9. Stagecoach [1939], directed by John Ford
  10. Fargo [1996], directed by Joel Coen & Ethan Coen

Film stills from left to right, top to bottom are Lawrence of ArabiaCitizen Kane, Chinatown, Nichols High School, Robert Creeley.

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