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Hamburg graduate works on film production

Emily Pumm, a graduate of Hamburg High School and the State University of New York at Buffalo was assistant producer for a local movie.

HAMBURG — Emily Pumm, a 2010 graduate of Hamburg High School, worked as an assistant producer of the film “Let Them Have Their Way.”

The movie, directed by independent filmmaker Dien Vo, was produced by Buffalo-based Monolopolus Productions.

Vo was a part-time professor of cinema in media studies at the State University of New York at Buffalo and is now a full-time professor of that subject at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.

Pumm became involved in the film after Vo, her professor at UB, approached her about working on the production.

“I was just impressed by her abilities and asked her for some help,” Vo said about Pumm.

“I myself didn’t get involved until two years into production,” she added, about the lengthy production process.

For the film, it took more than 100 days, shot over a span of four years in more than 50 Queen City locations, to really come together.

“We were everywhere from the [State University of New York at Buffalo] campus to Delaware Park, to the NFTA subways and busses, Woodlawn Beach, literally any place: We’ve been there,” Pumm said, with a laugh.

Additionally, the film had the help of more than 400 Buffalonians who got involved with seeing the project to fruition, at many levels of production.

“We needed an insane amount of extras for this film,” Pumm said.

“I think Buffalo has a pretty strong community for that,” Vo said, in regard to the extra help. “I think what it does say is there is a community of people here that are just really passionate about film.”

“Let Them Have Their Way” follows three couples through a three-year period. It explores the state of human relationships during modern life. This project is “the longest-running independently financed film” in the Western New York region.

A silent film, except for the sounds of advertisements and electronic notifications of everyday life, Pumm added that, “It’s more of an art film than what we’d be used to in a mainstream cinema.”

Vo said, “[‘Let Them Have Their Way’] tries to illustrate the many ways in which people in the modern world still don’t really understand each other,” adding the influences of new-age technology.

“Really, we’re trying to capture what I think are the downsides of human relationships in our time ... the anxiety that comes from the economy and careers ... Everyday life is kind of the inspiration for the film, really,” he added.

A screening was held for the film on May 17 at North Park Theater in Buffalo.

“This film has largely united the WNY region; we have collaborated with Buffalo’s major universities, filmed at major landmarks, such as the Ellicott Square building, and the Buffalo NFTA-Metro. As well as at many small businesses and organization that make the area so unique,” said Ryan Monolopolus, producer of the film.

“We have received overwhelming support from the region and I think that says a lot about the future of film in Buffalo-Niagara. We couldn’t have done this anywhere else,” he added.

The film will be submitted into circulation for cinema festivals.

For more information about the film visit

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