Ray Barker

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.



Programming Director at North Park Theatre


What got you interested in movies?

I have been going to the movies since I was five years old, so I guess my love of movies has been pretty spontaneous. However, from the age of 8 to 13, I lived in a small town that had a neighborhood movie theatre within walking distance of my home and I saw SO many movies that came to town. I guess the love of film is something that gets in your blood. I have never stopped going to the movies.

What is your favorite movie related memory?

Standing on the North Park Theatre stage in March 2014 (right before we re-opened) and looking out at the beautiful restoration work that had been done over the previous ten months, I felt some satisfaction that I was part of the group that had saved the most beautiful movie theatre in Buffalo and that it would be around for generations to come.

How did you end up in Buffalo?

Although I was born in Buffalo, I have lived all over. I returned to Buffalo to complete a Ph.D. in History at the University of Buffalo and have been fortunate enough to be able to stay. Buffalo is a wonderful city and I enjoy living here.

What do you want to see more of in Buffalo?

While living in Memphis, I discovered the amazing steamed slider from Krystal, a fast-food chain. I am amazed that Buffalo has never had a Krystal or a White Castle Restaurant, so I’d like to see that come to town some day. The Buffalo News just reported that Chick-fil-A is coming, so you never know.

But seriously, what I most want to see is more young adults able to get good jobs in Buffalo so that they can stay and be part of our resurgence as a city. I would like to see more young families be able to raise their children in Buffalo.

What are your essential film books?

  • Ray Harryhausen: An Animated Life by Ray Harryhausen & Tony Dalton (2004)
  • Something Like an Autobiography by Akira Kurosawa
  • The Great Escape by Paul Brickhill
  • We Never Closed: The Windmill Story by Sheila Van Damm, the inspiration for the film Mrs. Henderson Presents
  • Loach on Loach (Directors on Directors) by Ken Loach
  1. The Man Who Would Be King [1975], directed by John Huston
  2. The Great Escape [1963], directed by John Sturges
  3. The Bridge on the River Kwai [1957], directed by David Lean
  4. Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope [1977], directed by George Lucas
  5. Seven Samurai [1954], directed by Akira Kurosawa
  6. Cinema Paradiso [1988], directed by Giuseppe Tornatore
  7. Mediterraneo [1991], directed by Gabriele Salvatores
  8. Dr. Strangelove [1964], directed by Stanley Kubrick
  9. The Godfather [1972], directed by Francis Ford Coppola
  10. Macross: Do You Remember Love? [1984], directed by Ishiguro & Kawamori

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