Meg Knowles – 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.

Curator – Beyond Boundaries Film & Discussion Series
Artist – documentary & experimental media
Associate Professor, Communication Department – Buffalo State College
Website: / Twitter: @MegKnowles



What got you interested in movies?

Although my family didn’t go to the movies a lot when I was a child, my father liked to watch old black and white movies late at night on television. He got me started watching films like The Philadelphia Story and All About Eve. Later, I worked with my high school English / Film teacher as a projectionist at the local Drive-In showing second run films like Annie Hall. He taught an inspiring course on the Auteur Theory in film, focused largely on the films of Jean Renoir and John Ford.

I made my first film in high school with a 3/4″ portapak video camera—it was a creative interpretation of an Emily Dickinson poem.

What is your favorite movie related memory?

In college—in the time just before VCRs—the only way to see films outside of the local movie theater was watching the films programmed on campus. The screenings of both current and older movies were big weekend events, but the films would arrive in heavy 35 millimeter cases earlier in the week.

I had friends who wrote film reviews for the school paper and they would hold secret preview screening parties, privately projecting the films for a handful people. It felt exciting and glamorous to go to a private screening of a hard-to-find cheesy classic film like Giant or All That Heaven Allows.

How did you end up in Buffalo?

I’m from Buffalo. I worked in New York as a talent agent for a number of years after college, but returned to Buffalo around 1990 to study documentary filmmaking at UB Media Study, where my mother was the assistant to the chair.

What do you want to see more of in Buffalo?

I’m pretty happy with Buffalo, but I suppose I would like to see movie theaters like the Alamo Drafthouse in Austin, Texas that serve food and drinks and have interesting curated series and performances with films (like a memorable foleyed version of The Wizard of Oz).

The North Park has been getting close to that over the past couple of years with its weekend special screenings. I feel that’s something that will really get people out to the theaters again.

What are your essential film books?

• Walter Murch – In the Blink of an Eye
• Eric Rabiger – Directing the Documentary
• Michel Chion – Audio Vision
• Sheila Curran Bernard – Documentary Storytelling
• Bill Nichols – Blurred Boundaries



I don’t usually do favorite lists! Here are 10 narratives and 10 docs (in alphabetical order):


website-headerAmour [2012], directed by Michael Haneke
website-headerDays of Heaven [1978], directed by Terrence Malick
website-headerElection [1999], directed by Alexander Payne
website-headerGosford Park [2001], directed by Robert Altman
website-headerGroundhog Day [1993], directed by Harold Ramis
website-headerLocal Hero [1983], directed by Bill Forsyth
website-headerMagnolia [1999], directed by Paul Thomas Anderson
website-headerMoonrise Kingdom [2012], directed by Wes Anderson
website-headerRun Lola Run [1998], directed by Tom Tykwer
website-headerTheir Finest [2017], directed by Lone Scherfig


website-headerThe Act of Killing [2012], directed by Joshua Oppenheimer
website-headerCapturing the Friedmans [2003], directed by Andrew Jarecki
website-headerExit Through the Gift Shop [2010], directed by Banksy
website-headerHappy Mother’s Day [1963], directed by Joyce Chopra & Richard Leacock
website-headerThe Imposter [2012], directed by Bart Layton
website-headerSink or Swim [1990], directed by Su Friedrich
website-headerStreetwise [1984], directed by Martin Bell
website-headerThe Thin Blue Line [1988], directed by Errol Morris
website-headerTongues Untied [1989], directed by Marlon Riggs
website-headerTouching the Void [2003], directed by Kevin Macdonald

Photo of Meg Knowles by Michael Niman.
Film stills from left to right, top to bottom are The Philadelphia Story, All About Eve, Annie Hall,
Giant, All That Heaven Allows, The Wizard of Oz and North Park Theatre’s repertory marquee.

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