Doctor Of All Shoes is the first episode of the series by Buffalo Documentary Project, an artistic and collaborative film project to tell the untold stories of Buffalo City, and WNY. The Buffalo Documentary project came to life in summer of 2016 by artists and filmmakers Mani Mehrvarz and Maryam Muliaee, who are currently Ph.D. candidates in Film & Media Study at UB.
Bringing his experience with him as a filmmaker, Mani soon became enthusiastic to make a film about Buffalo’s character in 2015. After meeting a 100-year-old lady, who owned a popular laundry shop on Buffalo’s Main Street and had collected fascinating accounts of Buffalo throughout a century, he set to this task. Planning accordingly, Mani met with her, spoke to her about the film, and, when she accepted, he scheduled to begin interviewing her within the next week. But, sadly, the legendary laundry maid passed away. She stands as a reminder that time is vital and that life is short. Mani realized that if he wished to excavate and shed light on the city’s uncounted tales, he must move before the stories leave with those who lived them.
Soon after, following his passion for art, filmmaking and oral history, Mani and Maryam became determined to launch this project in 2016, in order to portray the other face of the city of Buffalo. The first season of this project is planned to consist of short documentary films (10-15 episodes) of Buffalo’s older generation: ranging from ordinary individuals to artists, craftsmen/women, myths, and legends, who have beautiful and humane stories of themselves entangled in the tale of the city waiting to be shared with their community and the world outside Buffalo too.
Mani and Maryam started to research the city and meet with some local people. Doctor of All Shoes, the very first episode of the project’s documentary series, was born out of unforgettable meetings with Joseph Bavisotto, who owns the popular Jimmie’s Shoe Repair in Buffalo. Joseph has owned this business all of his life. Picking up where his father left off, Joseph has been working on Hertel Avenue for decades and has watched the business grow and flourish, and the surrounding neighborhood change around him. Hard work and perseverance have been the mainstays of his business. Although this job involves putting in long hours and dealing with a non-stop stream of work, there is a sense of satisfaction and ownership that comes with the work, something that he says makes it all the worthwhile. While some may say that shoe repair shops are a thing of the past and that the shoe repairman is a dying profession, Joseph has seen continued success in his business by offering good quality service at a fair price. Consistency and perseverance have paid off in his business and his life, allowing Jimmie’s Shoe Repair to remain a constant on the Hertel neighborhood despite continual neighborhood change.
We encourage you to watch the full film for free on our website at: http://
Our crew consists of passionate and dedicated professionals, artists, and educators who have joined the team voluntarily because they believe in this project and its goals. Justin Sanchez as cinematographer, photographer, and sound recorder, Derek Hosken as cinematographer and production assistant, Maryam Muliaee as art director and animator, and Mani Mehrvarz as director, art producer, editor and cinematographer, work together to expand the narrative of Buffalo that remains underrepresented. We all share a sincere love for the city of Buffalo, its unique culture, and history.
Oral history through documentary filmmaking, we believe, is valued because it brings to life an account of the city that no one has found in written books and official records. This project embodies life as it directly engages human beings and their unheard stories about their own true experiences and life in the city; it deeply connects to people’s hearts and calls on a larger audience because it uses the power of film to communicate. Buffalo Documentary Project tries to look at the margins and be the voice of those individuals who have contributed to the blossom of the city in any way, with their valuable work, art, and service. Above all, since this project is voluntarily launched for the purpose of promoting the city, its culture, love, and humanity, all the episodes are being published on our website for free to watch. We wish to let more people about this project and keep producing more episodes.
So far we have had no funds or sponsors. However, to maintain this project alive for the future, to be heard by an even larger audience, to make up some expenses for our episodes’ prospective public screenings, promotion (such as postcard, posters, blu-ray dvds, etc.), and submissions in local, national and international film festivals, we have started a fundraising campaign through the link below:
We really appreciate all the help and support from you, and hope you enjoy viewing our episodes as much as we are enjoying creating them!
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