Senior Professionals Announcement 3/19

The Senior Professionals seminar for next week Tuesday, March 19 (2:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. in SCC 103), features noted filmmaker Burton Buller on “Being a Mennonite Filmmaker in America.” Faculty and staff are invited to attend as guests of the Senior Professionals group.


Burton Buller is arguably the foremost Mennonite filmmaker in America. His productions have been broadcast on ABC-TV, NBC-TV, Hallmark Channel, National Public Television, The Discovery Channel, CBS:60 Minutes, The Learning Channel, FamilyNet, and multiple cable and broadcast outlets in Canada, Europe and Japan. Currently he is working on a documentary tentatively titled as “Being Mennonite in America,” another addition to the nearly 70 films he has already produced.


Burton reports that “I’ve always viewed filmmaking as a highly unlikely profession. As a Mennonite Brethren, I was not allowed to attend movies while living at home. We did not have television available except at my grandfather’s house until I was a junior in high school. Media consumption was limited to the local daily paper which was delivered a day late. But books were encouraged. At one point my mother became a member of three book clubs specializing in books for children. Her husband objected to the cost, so she had to cut it back to two, and then one. Play often consisted of reading while dangling my feet in the sand pile. When my parents succumbed to the pressure of a door to door salesmen hawking Americana Encyclopedias, the massive volumes became an additional window beyond the very limited world in which we existed.


“Only in college did I discover the possibilities of photography. That interest lead to doing my alternative service at MCC headquarters first as a photographer and then as a filmmaker. In those early years the church, especially MCC, became the training ground for graphic artists, photographers and filmmakers.”


In this session Buller reports that “he will center on my early budding awareness of the possibilities of media creation, the journey into the global world that media production facilitated, the reorientation of my worldview precipitated by documentary inquiry, and finally, a discussion of my latest documentary, “Being Mennonite in America.”  I will do this using a number of clips from previous productions that provide visual context to my commentary and by sharing a few clips from the current project.”