Buffalo’s long time community producer and filmmaker Doug Ruffin will be taking bow from his hometown – at least for now. That’s right. If you’ve heard it through the grapevine that Doug is making an exit, it’s true. Our community is losing one of its most motivated and dedicated documentary filmmakers to the District of Maryland.
This is no sudden leap, Doug has been back and forth from Maryland for quite a while and as he frankly put it “I feel like I’ve run my course in Buffalo.” His move is motivated by finding out what new stories and opportunities are out there. Doug is the son of Donette & Douglas Ruffin, Sr. and a graduate of B.U.I.L.D. Academy and Bennett high-school. For the past 25 years since completing his bachelor’s degree in communication arts from the New York Institute of Technology, Doug wasted has no time putting his natural talent, education and passion to work for his community.
Aside from his accomplishments in television and radio Doug’s independent side shines a brighter light on his core passion . The body of work he has created will leave a legacy of important documentaries telling the story of Buffalo’s African American community One of his most notable films in 1997 , which was also his very first film project, was a documentary about the BUILD Organization (“B.U.I.L.D. – Of the Community & For The Community”). Other films include, Model Cities, The St. John Baptist Church 80th Anniversary, Dan Montgomery’s Buffalonians Committee and a documentary profile on WUFO radio DJ’s.
Doug has produced community based television programs on the public access channel like BCTV Tonight, Buffalo’s Community Affairs Magazine show, AmeriCorps Magazine and the Doug Ruffin Show where he hosted on air interviews with local entrepreneurs and community figures. He is the founder and curator of The Community Images Multimedia Traveling Exhibit on Buffalo’s African American Community.
On a community level he has served on the Board of Directors of various organizations such as the Juneteenth Festival, Inc., The Afro American Historical Association of the Niagara Frontier, The Western New York Minority Media Professionals, The Dr. Martin Luther King Student Awareness Tour and The B.U.I.L.D. Academy Alumni Association.
With years of experience in television and radio Doug talked about why he decided to create an independent multimedia company. “Back in 2007 I thought about not wanting to work for someone else anymore and wanted to launch myself into a true business so I wrote a real business plan with the help of the city’s entrepreneurial program. Urban Legacy Filmworks is my official company and umbrella for what I do overall.”
His latest and last documentary film , set for a summer 2019 release, is a project titled “67: Buffalo Uprising” which takes a look back on the impact of the 1967 Buffalo Riot, which took place in the city’s cold spring section “The film will contain photos and never before seen newsreel footage as well as interviews & reflections with community icons like Ted Kirkland, George K. Arthur, Karima Amin, Eva Doyle and others, ” said Doug, who despite wanting to retire, decided after viewing riot footage a friend sent him that he had one more film in him to do and this was it.
“I did research for the project through the archives of the Buffalo History Museum, Buffalo State archives as well as local papers like the Buffalo News, the Challenger, the Criterion and the Courier Express.” Ted Kirkland was the first person he interviewed for the project. “I use to interview him in the past on his career and recalled he mentioned the riots, so he was the first person I went to about what was going on at that time.”
With a full time job at the post office since 2015 (he will be transferring his position to Maryland ) and working as an On Air Personality and host on WUFO radio for his show The Neo Soul Movement, Doug has never had investors or other producers to help make his projects come to fruition.
“Most people are surprised to find out that I’ve funded all of my own projects,” he said, “despite the fact that all of them are done on the City of Buffalo and things that historically occurred. I literally shot a marathon of interviews in one week to get the bulk of the work done for this particular project and that was on my vacation.”
He plans to edit his “67: Buffalo Uprising” film once he settles in Maryland. Doug is a proud member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc, The Prince Hall Masons and Shriners.
He has been the recipient of various awards and accolades including The Uncrowned Kings, The Black Achievers in Industry, Men of Distinction, The Buffalo Music Hall of Fame Class of 2004 and Eva Doyle’s Eye on History award.
Good Luck Dough You Will Be Missed. –L.H.