Fall 2017

Rima Yamazaki is an independent documentary filmmaker who specializes in contemporary art and architecture. Yamazaki used her Fall 2017 CAI residency to create a documentary film, Learning from Buffalo, about architecture in Buffalo, NY, in partnership with Preservation Buffalo Niagara

Learning from Buffalo has gathered both local and international attention:

  • Premiered at the Buffalo International Film Festival in 2018
  • Shown at Cinéma du réel festival in Paris, France in March 2019
  • Featured in Shoreline: Remembering a Waterfront Vision, curated by Bryan Lee and Barbara Campagna, and presented in partnership with the Paul Rudolph Heritage Foundation, Oct. 4-Nov. 16, 2019 at El Museo
  • Screened at National Gallery of Art in February 2020
  • May 2020 received Honorable Mention for the Society of Architectural Historians Award for Film and Video

The film is now distributed by Torch Films to the educational sector.

Yamazaki's practice is an exploration of cinematic expression in documenting, studying and reflecting on the arts. She works as a one-person film crew; all her films are directed, photographed and edited by herself. Her films have been shown at various film festivals and venues internationally.   

Rima Yamazaki filming at Nakagin Capsule Tower, photo courtesy of the artist.

Yamazaki's video project examined the architectural culture of Buffalo from various points of view. Yamazaki is especially interested in capturing the ironical ‘architectural imbalance’ happening in Buffalo. Buffalo is a good example that embodies various aspects of architecture. For example, architecture could be a treasure or a burden to a city. A building is a big and expensive thing, not only to build, but also to maintain. It is not just a place for people to live and work, but also it reflects the society and people’s life.

The film is not intended to be a journalistic, educational, or advocacy documentary. Yamazaki is more interested to create a ‘creative’ documentary video in a unique style. Descriptions of the history of Buffalo or explanations about the problems the city is facing would be very minimal, if included. Many scenes will be shot in an observational style. The video juxtaposed shots of architectural masterpieces and abandoned houses, preservation and demolition. In the video, Yamazaki would like to reveal something that cannot be expressed in words, visually and sonically. This is a cinematic study on the relationship between architecture, society, and people.