By Lori Martinez
Distinguished Binghamton University alumnus Ruben Santiago-Hudson returned to campus recently (March 29) for a talk sponsored by the Binghamton Film Initiative (BFI). The award-winning writer/director sat down with BFI’S co-founders Tyler Downey and Jared Biunno to talk about his career and how he made the transition from theater to film and back again. The talk, which took place in Studio A, was the first event organized by the newly formed campus theater/film collective.
Hudson, best known for his award-winning film Lackawanna Blues, spoke frankly about his time in BU’s theatre department in the 1070s. He said, “I got roles, and I also created opportunities. I not only worked in the theatre department, I also was doing stuff with black students over at the social room and Black History Month, and I was directing “For Colored Girls…,” “Home,” different one-act plays. Instead of saying, ‘Oh woe is me,’ you create opportunity for yourself.” And so he did. After graduating from BU, Hudson went on to grad school at Wayne State University, where he continued to create his own projects. He has since steadily worked in theater, television and film during a career that spans nearly three decades.
BFI creators beamed as he praised the students’ efforts to create their own opportunities by bringing attention to the theater and the arts at the university through their website, which connects student filmmakers with actors to create film and television pieces. He said, “When you’re gone, if they keep up what you’re doing, four or five years from now, people are going to be talking about you the way they talk about Emerson (College)’s film and TV, about Ithaca College’s film and TV, because now Binghamton has film and TV.
“That’s a different thing; now all we have to do is make sure the administration believes in it. What makes the administration believe in it? That we do this well, that this creates opportunities for them to bring in other students beyond just the nursing, engineer and management department. All of a sudden film and television is viable in Binghamton …. They made a move. And that’s why I’m comin’ to sit here. They made a video. I watched it and I said, ‘Wow, this changes everything. This changes the game.’”
Hudson’s most recent work was a three-year stint as Captain Roy Montgomery on the ABC crime drama, Castle. He is currently working on a film script, two television pilots and a new play.
For more information about this and other events like it, check out BFI’S official website at http://www.binghamtonfilminitiative.com/.