Hate This City: Artistic Freedom in Buffalo

By Griffin Jones

Hate This Films is a  metaphor for Buffalo’s art scene, a very impressive showcase of talent that most of us had no idea was here.

Hate This Director, David Jackson, thinks that Buffalo’s art scene is about realizing how much of it exists. “It’s either big or it’s growing. When I started Hate This, I thought I was the only person in Buffalo with a camera,”

Actress Shana Rose. Totally robbed from hatethissite.com.

Actress Courtney Janicki. Totally robbed from hatethissite.com.

Jackson’s choice to be a filmmaker in Buffalo follows what I call the city’s fourth marketing attribute, artistic freedom“If I was in LA, I would be making commercials or music videos. Don’t get me started on music videos. Living in Buffalo allows me to work on something I’m passionate about. Where, if I lived in New York I would just be trying to make ends meet and not working on something I’m proud of.”

Then why the name, “Hate This”, for a group that makes Buffalo proud? “If I told everyone to like our movies, they’d hate them. I don’t care if people are negative about our movies. We’re out here doing things.” 

“Doing things,”is pretty much how Seth Godin defines art, “the work of an individual seeking to make a statement, to cause reaction, to connect.”

Jackson’s cinematography and design allowed him to connect with other talented people who wanted to make a similar statement.  “We try to do our best. Anyone with a camera can make a movie, so we try to set ourselves apart. Animation is a big part of that. As we grew we started attracting more people who knew what they were doing. Now we have a big team. It’s cool to see it grow.”

To effectively market Buffalo’s benefits, it’s better for Buffalo to admit what it is not. Jackson agrees that Buffalo is a great city to create art, NOT necessarily make a living from it. “We all have full-time jobs. We try to find people who aren’t in it for the money. This is our release from our 9 to 5,”

As an artist, Jackson says he’s motivated by what I’ve called Buffalo’s second marketing attribute: individual significance. “If you stay here, you’re going to help (the city). You can make a real impact here. I want to be a trailblazer. I want to MAKE something. I don’t want to be told what to do”.

That’s Buffalo third new attribute, active participation. If you want to be a part of a movement of change, Buffalo is what you’re looking for. If you’re waiting for large-scale improvements, you’ll likely be dissapointed. “Buffalo is a little too hopey,” Jackson said. “What I would like to see more of is just completed things. Whatever is the next big idea, I want it now.”

The artists here are the new Buffalo. They have created something for us to be proud of. Every small work of art created from nothing is worth more than any ambitious project that may or may not come to life. Hate This Films captures this picture with stunning clarity.

“It’s all about passion. We don’t make a dime. Buffalo’s got talent. It’s just scattered all over the place. We’re trying to be that portfolio for Buffalo”.


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