2015 Award Winner
The Best Planned City in the World: Olmsted, Vaux and the Buffalo Park System
Directors/Producers: Lawrence Hott and Diane Garey
Executive Producer: Robin Karson
Large urban-scale projects with multiple parts are not easy to grasp in person or from static images. One of the things the jury found most admirable about The Best Planned City in the World: Olmstead, Vaux and the Buffalo Park System is its demonstration that it is possible to convey the essential points of an intricate design and planning story concisely—under fourteen minutes!—without compromising the issues or curtailing cinematic appeal. The film by Lawrence Hott and Diane Garey is based on the eponymous book by Francis R. Kowsky and produced by the Library of American Landscape History. It selectively presents several illuminating and suggestive perspectives on the design and history of Buffalo’s park system in its national and international context. While the straightforward and thoughtful narration is both sound and accessible to non-specialists, the filmmakers permit viewers to savor the combinations of beautiful cinematography, apt music, and effective use of maps and historical imagery. While The Best Planned City doesn’t attempt to exhaust every aspect of its topic, it does a beautiful job of informing and opening the eyes of viewers, including some who might not have realized they would be interested.