Ruth Goldman – 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.



Ruth Goldman. Supplied by subject.

Curator, Beyond Boundaries Film & Discussion Series | Assistant Professor, Media Production, Buffalo State College


What got you interested in movies?

I have always loved watching movies but really got hooked when I discovered independent film. I grew up in Cincinnati, OH and for a period in the 70s we had a little independent theater called The Movies. My siblings had all left home so my parents took me along with them to see independent films and I just couldn’t get enough of them!

What is your favorite movie related memory?

Watching Thelma & Louise in a theater in Northampton, MA with an all-woman audience.

How did you end up in Buffalo?

I moved here to do my MFA at UB and then ended up staying to do a PhD in American Studies.

What do you want to see more of in Buffalo?

I’d like to see more cross-cultural and cross-community conversations, cultural collaborations, and activism. This city is so stubbornly segregated! I’d love to see more of us getting outside our comfort zones and really talking to and working with one another to make this city more just a place for all who live here.

What are your essential film books?

Uh-oh—this is a hard one! For Film Studies these are the ones that come right to mind:

  • Not Hollywood: Independent Film at the Twilight of the American Dream by Sherry B. Ortner
  • Film Art: An Introduction by David Bordwell and Kristin Thompson
  • Film History: An Introduction by Kristin Thompson and David Bordwell
  • The Celluloid Closet by Vito Russo
  • The Conversations: Walter Murch and the Art of Editing Film by Michael Ondaatje
  • Documentary: A History of the Non-Fiction Film by Erik Barnouw
  • Introduction to Documentary by Bill Nichols

Choosing just ten was really hard! These are the first eleven that came to mind but this list is missing lots of my favorite filmmakers! (In alphabetical order.)

  • Brazil [1985], directed by Terry Gilliam
  • Frozen River [2008], directed by Courtney Hunt
  • The Gleaners & I [2000], directed by Agnès Varda
  • Granito [2011], directed by Pamela Yates
  • Man with a Movie Camera [1929], directed by Dziga Vertov
  • Moonlight [2016], directed by Barry Jenkins
  • Orlando [1993], directed by Sally Potter
  • Pariah [2011], directed by Dee Rees
  • Silverlake Life: The View from Here [1993], directed by Peter Friedman & Tom Joslin
  • Smoke Signals [1998], directed by Chris Eyre
  • Tongues Untied [1989], directed by Marlon Riggs

Film stills from left to right, top to bottom are Thelma & Louise.

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