Lighting over Braddock: A Rust Bowl Fantasy

Director: Tony Buba

Institute History

  • 1989 Sundance Film Festival


Lightning over Braddock, the first feature film from Tony Buba, Pennsylvania’s filmic poet laureate, is a delightful, unconventional, autobiographical tour de force. Buba, and internationally recognized independent filmmaker, has made fifteen short documentaries over the last twelve years about his hometown, Braddock, Pennsylvania. Finally, by combining money from foundation grants, free-lance work and jobs with director George Romero, Buba was able to amass $40,000 and spent the next four years making Lightning over Braddock.

The film is a mix of people an places which juxtaposes new footage with vintage material from Bubas other documentaries on Braddock. Combining both documentary and narrative styles with some wonderful fantasy sequences (for example, a song-and-dance number in an abandoned steel mill), Buba challenges the viewer with this engrossing self-portrait. Buba’s style is eclectic, and the film’s form both tight and revealing. The presence of the old footage gives the work a wonderful depth and richness. The film’s grittiness compliments its content, characters and form perfectly. Lightning over Braddock deserves our attention for its intelligence, charm, originality and heart; it’s a must-see film.

— Mitchell Block

Screening Details

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