Home      News      Call for Entries      Tour Schedule      Awards      Host Sites      Global Insights / ADA      Donate
Staff      Trustees      From The Director      Program Booklet      Essays      DVD      NJ Young Festival


31st Annual Black Maria Film Festival  2012 Tour Selections

Jurors’ Stellar Selections

Hip Priest - 27 min. by Gregg de Domenico, Brooklyn, NY. Narrative Selection.
This is a gritty narrative in black and white shot on location in Brooklyn, NY. The protagonist is a street savvy clergyman who, in his unique way, ministers to the local denizens. The film’s pacing, sense of place and semi-surreal minimalism fused with Scorsese/Resnais -like ambiance reward the viewer with a smartly stylized and erudite narrative 

Horizontal Intimacy - 8.5 min. by Seoungho Cho, Elmhurst, NY. Experimental Selection.
Filmed in the chilly, indeterminate locales of airport terminals around the world, Cho’s surreptitious, quasi-voyeuristic, multi-layered, digitally built composition depicts in semi-abstract the realm of travelers biding their time in layovers as they endure the ominous quietude of impersonal concourses. A human presence artfully counterpoints the stark anatomy of alien spaces in this poetic experimental film. 

Kudzu Vine - 20 min. by Josh Gibson, Durham, NC. Documentary Selection.
A train advances through a railroad crossing flanked by leafy sentinels …A radio program waxes lyrical to Georgia farmers on the kudzu vines many virtues. Surreal and apocalyptic images of vines creeping forward, as much as a foot a day, resonate with an olden times afterglow as the radio broadcast recreates Kudzu Society programs advocating the vine as the panacea for Dust Bowl erosion. Photographed in black and white, and radiating with the luminance of early cinema, this ode to the climbing, trailing, and coiling species Pueraria lobata evokes the agricultural history and mythic textures of the South, while (wryly – JC) paying tribute to the human capacity for improvisation - Josh Gibson 

Places Other People Have Lived - 6.75 min. by Laura Emel Yilmaz, Los Angeles, CA. Animation Selection.
Places Other People Have Lived is a mixed media animation exploring the relationship between memory and place. Incorporating old photos, recorded interviews with family, and multiple animation techniques, the film deconstructs, room-by-room, a house that was a family home for more than 25 years. What begins as a biography of a house, told through bittersweet yet sometimes whimsical anecdotes, turns quite poignant as the film reflects on how our histories seem to be left behind but still resonate when leaving another time and place behind.

Jurors' Choice and Jurors’ Citation Selections

4000 Gallons: Daniel Johnston’s 100 Large Jar Project - 30 min. by Jay Yager, Sanford, NC. Jury’s Citation.
In this piece, which is wrought with irony about “large scale” production and “selling out”, artist Daniel Johnston challenges himself and the system of mass production when he attempts the “100 Large Jar Project”. This documentary records the process Johnston must go through as he makes 100 hand-thrown pots, each one beautiful and unique. As the deadline draws near and tensions mount, both Johnston and the film raise questions about the possibility for an artist to create real art on a large scale. 

Burning Star - 4 min. by Joshua Glen Solondz, Brooklyn, NY. Jury’s Choice.
The filmmaker states: “Dedicated to my father, who asked that I make a more colorful work. Made during my residency at the now defunct Experimental Television Center in upstate New York, Burning Star is a colorful inplo/explosion of the twelve-sided star. The title refers to Kenji Onishi’s A Burning Star.” 

Carbon - 9.5 min. by Craig Webster, Iowa City, IA. Jury’s Citation.
Somewhere, glistening, in her body, inanimate. A series of chance encounters. An attractive, young, porcelain-doll like woman endures a prosaic life as a hairdresser. The film is shot largely in close up creating tension as a metaphor for the protagonist’s nearly claustrophobic circumstances. An older female customer suggests she join her and friends on a camping trip. The campfire sends up embers of carbon 

Craig’s Cutting Room Floor - 2 min. by Linda I. Scobie, San Francisco, CA. Jury’s Citation.
A rich stratum is built up from multiple layers in a mix of fragments from found celluloid in this sensual homage to the magic of cinema. Negative and positive images overlap, shift, appear and disappear in a fleeting cascade of abstract and figurative images. 

Cropduster Octet - 5.5 min. by Gregg Biermann, Hackensack, NJ. Jury’s Choice.
One of the most iconic sequences in the history of Hollywood cinema (from Hitchcock’s North by Northwest) is deconstructed and reassembled to illuminate the patterns, rhythms and choreography of the original so as to break through and make for a eight banded kinetic tour de force. As the piece progresses the temporal displacement of each band gets closer and closer until they all unite into a remarkable grand finale. 

Curious Light - 4 min. by Charlotte Pryce, Los Angeles, CA. Jury’s Citation.
Text becomes texture in this lovely silent piece in which a volume of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland is revealed and explored by light and shot. This piece creates a sense of discovery on many levels, as aspects of the book become more apparent from shot to shot. It is reminiscent of reading as a child by flashlight under a blanket.   

The Deep Dark - 7.25 min. by Laura Heit, Portland, OR. Jury’s Citation.
The Deep Dark is an elliptical cinematic song cycle that journeys into the psyche in this brooding animation. Ethereal incantations are composed of layers, cycles, looping rhythms and vocals by songwriter and experimental musician Emily Lacy. There’s a fleeting human presence, in this haunting and beautiful work, a minimalist figure and a dog turned wolf in this work that’s reminiscent of an Eastern European animation style. 

Dziad I Baba - 9 min. by Basia Goszczynska, Lexington, MA. Jury’s Citation.
Two soul mates struggle with opposing fears of death and loneliness in this short dark comedy, which is based upon an old Polish fable. An elderly couple live contently in a small forest hut until circumstances suddenly shatter their fairytale existence. This gorgeous stop motion (animated) film features characters and a world created entirely from natural objects such as seedpods, animal skulls, and crustacean claws. 

Front Street Yard - 25.25 min. by David Ellsworth, St. Mary’s City, MD. Jury’s Choice.
This painterly and poetic documentary about the Padnos Iron and Metal Company in Grand Rapids, Michigan celebrates the beauty that can be found in physical labor and scrap metal. Reminiscent of the style of Joris Ivens, beauty is found in ordinary moments. The process of sorting and compacting scrap metal becomes a beautiful, natural symphony. The camera reveals loveliness in junk that otherwise goes undetected. 

The Ground We Stand On – 30 min. by Julie Orser and Jon Irving, Los Angeles, CA. Jury’s Choice.
The Ground We Stand On is a ‘human revelation’ documentary that tells the arresting story of three eccentric family members activists who’ve taken up residence in a park as a result of having been evicted from their over packed apartment. Mark and Dorothy and grown son, Manoah struggle against eviction from the park and strive to protect what they believe constitute their civil liberties. The viewer is left in a quandary as to what to think or is responsible to do what when even resourceful people sink into a quagmire of homelessness from which they cannot extricate themselves reasonably. 

Hi Neighbor - 13.5 min. by Claire Andrade-Watkins, Brookline, MA. Jury’s Choice.
What lies beneath the surface of this documentary about the impact of urban renewal, eminent domain, and the building of a freeway through a neighborhood is a deep and compelling investigation into issues of race and class. The story of the Fox Point neighborhood in Providence, Rhode Island is contextualized as the personal history of the Cape Verdean filmmaker who grew up there as a member of the immigrant communities, literally on the dividing line between the working and the patrician classes. Find out what happens when she crosses the street – and this time, it’s not to clean house. 

Night Hunter - 15.1 min. by Stacey Steers Boulder, CO. Jury’s Choice.
Meticulously crafted from approximately 4000 handmade collages and incorporating images of Lillian Gish taken from silent-era live-action cinema, Night Hunter evokes a disquieting dreamscape drawn from allegory, myth, and archetypes. Exhibiting in the legendary Rotterdam Festival this year. 

Rolling on the Floor Laughing -  19 min. by Russell Harbaugh, Brooklyn, NY. Jury’s Choice.
In this family drama, two grown brothers return home to celebrate their widowed mother’s birthday weekend only to discover that a new man has entered their mother’s life. The suburban family façade is torn asunder when her resentful sons hound the mother’s new beau beyond tolerance.  

Sacred Stones - 52 minutes, a film by Laila Higazi and Muayad Alayan, Palestine. Jury’s Choice.
This telling and powerful documentary film invokes the complex issues surrounding the Palestinian question via an unexpected strategy. Palestinians face environmental and health crises due to the extensive stone mining that largely serves Israel’s construction needs. The inherent contradictions, and trade needs met by the mining are rife with self-defeating challenges and difficulties. It’s all an enigma. 

Shooting Arrows - 15 min. by Paul Winkler, Camperdown, Australia. Jury’s Citation.

This legendary experimental filmmaker characterizes his films as “a synthesis of intellect and emotion, filtered through the plastic material of film…I try to let ‘imagines’ flow freely to the surface.” In Shooting Arrows, Winkler creates a hyper-kinetic cinema mural composed of graffiti art. Color saturated forms spin in tandem, mirror and repeat in an obsessive kaleidoscope of shifting rhythmical patterns.

Songs for Hellos and Goodbyes – 4.75 min. by Thomas Becker, San Francisco, CA. Jury’s Citation.
This short video poem is dedicated to the fleeting relationships, which so often percolate through contemporary life. Incorporating lines from gift card sentiments, nebulous bands of text slide across the film’s surface. Stock phrases are mocked while more heartfelt ones such as “Thoughts are prayers” or “I hurt you” lead the viewer through the birth and death of a romance in this exploratory film. A second voice emerges to reveal a more authentic picture as a relationship blossoms, sours and evaporates. 

Tableaux Vivants - 10.5 min. Silent by Vincent Grenier, Ithaca, NY. Jury’s Choice.
Vincent Grenier describes this serenely elegant work as: “Ruminations on cinematic time reversals as versatile continuums. Rediscovering the outdoors as a (state) set where the natural is made to pose as the artifice.” Note: The term Tableau vivant means, “living picture” and traditionally describes actors or artist’s models, carefully posed and often theatrically lit. Throughout the duration of such a display, the figures do not speak or move. Such scenes seemingly fuse the art forms of the stage with those of painting and photography. 

Voice of God - 9.5 min. by Bernd Lützeler, Berlin, Germany. Jury’s Choice.
Scenes of Bombay (Mumbai), India, become vignettes as they are manipulated to create a new sense of time and space. At times this piece seems to move forward and backward simultaneously, while exploring space from above and at eye-level. A deep, patriarchal voice-over speaks a language that we struggle to recognize and understand. Is it a warning? Is it instruction? Perhaps guidance? This is a beautiful and chillingly thought-provoking piece, which also raises questions about imperialism, sexism, and personal belief. 

When Walt Whitman Was a Little Girl - 12 min. by Jim Havercamp, Durham, NC & U. of Iowa. Jury’s Choice.
As the title suggests, this is a speculative biography of the artistic side of Walt Whitman. This imaginative, cross-identity film launches with a 9-year old protagonist who’s a little girl in the role of a young Walt Whitman. Sometimes Walt would head up to Huntington Bay and sit amid the tall slender grass and she would use her pocketknife to cut away some of the taller blades. Then she would run home shouting, “Mama! Mama! Come see the leaves of grass I got!” and together they would sit and pretend to read poetry from the fronds of grass. Thus the child is catapulted into the world with her/his senses ablaze. Combining drama, dance, puppetry, and potato cannons the film is a sometimes funny, sometimes a sad rumination on growing up as a ‘sensitive kid’. 

Yelp, With Apologies to Alan Ginsberg’s Howl - 3 min. by Tiffany Shlain, Mill Valley, CA. Jury’s Citation.
Technology can be addictive. In a tribute to Allen Ginsberg's classic 1956 poem, this short film reincarnates Ginsberg’s inflections and rhythms but replaces his words with ones that lampoon addictions of our generation. Narrated by Peter Cayote 

Director’s Choice Selections

Anima Mundi - 4 min. by Kate Balsley, Brown Deer, WI.
Vivid flower images are compressed in multiple layers and butterflies in a crazy profusion of color and motion. 

Another Dress, Another Button  - 2.75 min. by Lyn Elliot, University Park, PA.
Spare, derelict buttons seem to collect with other flotsam and jetsam of life, collecting here and there helter-skelter forever waiting for someone to use them. Animator Lyn Elliot takes her buttons on an artful spin, in this playful short work.  

The Art of Catching - 35 min. by Jessica Bardsley, Chicago, IL.
Set within the humid depths of the Florida Everglades, The Art of Catching is part autobiography, part imagined history. Emanating from a historical and geographical reality, the film moves as a febrile dream, where a mysterious ornithologist joins a photographer on an anthropological expedition into the wilds of sultry marshlands, and an evocative voice-over shifts vis-à-vis time and place. The film blends aged ethnographic and documentary film with original color footage while sound and image are asynchronous as beguiling scenes wash across the screen in at an unhurried pace. 

Be Filled With The Spirit - 8.66 min. by Mark Rogovin, Evanston, IL
Noted photographer Milton Rogovin photographed black storefront churches of Buffalo, N.Y. in the mid 20th Century. Rogovin’s photos are in the collections of Library of Congress, the J. Paul Getty Museum and the Center for Creative Photography, and he was interviewed on NPR in 2003. W.E.B. DuBois endorsed the photographer’s pictures in an introduction to a collection published in APERATURE magazine. This extraordinary film is a journey through time that also captures spirituals as recorded on site and released on Smithsonian Folkways Recordings in 1957. The film features an introduction and lively commentary by the Dean of Howard University’s School of Divinity, Dr. Alton B. Pollard III and includes the NPR interview with Rogovin by the noted photographer/filmmaker Harvey Wang. 

Bound By Hope, One Family’s Story  - 22.33 min. by Anna Campbell, Maplewood, NJ. Home-town Choice Selection.
Four-year-old Josh Scoble was diagnosed with a rare disease called Fibrodysplasia Ossificans Progressive (FOP) when he was only three-months-old.  FOP causes Josh's muscles, tendons and ligaments to progressively turn into bone. Josh's family tries to give him a normal life, never forgetting their delicate situation. Although Josh faces challenges every day of his life, he remains an extremely happy child. ‘Bound By Hope: One Family's Story’ shows the power of perseverance, the love of a family and the strength of the human spirit. 

The Breakfast – 11.25 min. by Pablo Millan, Teo Gallcia, Spain.
This minimalist narrative wraps time around itself, as a lone character contemplates his surroundings as he merely prepares his breakfast. Beautifully photographed this rare work transforms a prosaic scene into an arrestingly work the cerebral possibilities of cinema. 

Choreography for Plastic Army Men  - 5 min. by David Fain, Pasadena, CA.
A witty, playfully animated music video, featuring toy soldiers, perhaps with a double meaning, created to the instrumental track of ‘Ohayoo Ohio’ by the band ‘Pink Martini.’ 

cinco/Cero/cinco  - 7.75 min. by Felix Rodriguez and José Ahumada, Bayonne, NJ.

cinco/CERO/cinco blends the cinema of the inner city with animation of everyday humanity. Integrating poignant melodies akin to a sobering mystic hymn with multi-layered visual images, filmmaker Felix Rodriguez and composer Jose Ahumada, provoke a mysterious catharsis that is universal yet meaningfully personal. 

Conjuror’s Box  - 5 min. by Kerry Laitala, San Francisco, CA.
“Through the looking glass one travels and becomes immersed in a fiery pane of hand-painted wonders.”- Kerry Laitala. This film was seen in the ‘Views from the Avant Garde Program’ at the 2011 New York Film Festival. 

Coversong – 1.75 min. by Eric Dyer, Valencia, CA
Secret motion underfoot, man hole covers are transformed into a crazy rush of kinetic mandalas. 

The “D” Train  - 5 min. by Jay Rosenblatt, San Francisco, CA.
‘The “D” Train” is a metaphorical journey through the mind, and perhaps life of an elder gentleman. The noted filmmaker employs haunting vintage found footage with music by Dimitri Shostakovich in a poetically paced procession and meditation on the passage of life and time. This film was presented at the Tribecca, SXSW, SF International and other notable film festivals internationally prior to the Black Maria Film Festival. 

A Declaration of Interdependence  -  4.5 min. by Tiffany Shlain, Mill Valley, CA.
Based on revamped words and the rhythms or the Declaration of Independence this renegade work actually pays tribute to the intent of a global humanist impulse that surely would have been endorsed by the Founding Mothers. It’s a universal, and embracing declaration for all peoples.  

Deeds Not Words: The Buffalo Soldiers of WW II - 42 min. by James Rada, Ithaca, NY.
This is the story of the 92nd Infantry Division of WWII, The Buffalo Soldiers of World War II. It’s the true account of one of the last segregated army units as told by the men themselves as they gather at the recently completed WWII Memorial in Washington D.C. The African-American men of the 92nd experienced inequality and segregation at home and abroad. Still the 92nd excelled, and helped liberate Italy and bring Hitler’s Third Reich to an end. The Buffalo Soldiers received more than 12,000 decorations and citations – including two Medals of Honor. This detailed and poignant documentary includes lively and telling interviews with General Colin Powell, former Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and other notables.. 

Everything Is Going To Be Fine 14.5 min. by Ryan Malloy, San Francisco, CA.
This charmingly idiosyncratic consideration of society’s current maladies offers a refreshing tongue-in-cheek perspective on what one person might do or not do in the face of catastrophy. Filmmaker Malloy’s personal anecdotal style leaves one bemused and reassured despite the tribulations of contemporary life 

Far, and Further  - 6.5 min. by Heddi Siebel, Cambridge, MA.
Polar explorers penetrate a white landscape from which they may never return and wrestle with fear and longing as they search for value in what becomes a failed attempt to reach the North Pole. ‘Far and Further’ is a metaphorical work employing vintage expedition footage in a series of conceptual juxtapositions with contrasting scenes, some intimate and homey, other’s of polar science efforts but fate is not kind to even the sled dogs.

Footprints In The Snow  - 4.5 min. Paul Turano, Roslindale, MA.
The filmmaker states: “With a day off during a heavy winter storm, I defrosted my last few rolls of Plus-x B&W reversal film (Kodak’s 16mm movie film) that were stowed in my freezer. I set out to a nearby park seeking reverie in nature. Part of a series of works inspired by late 19th century and early 20th musical form, typically featuring solo instruments - this work was prompted by Debussy’s ‘Des Pas sur la Neige’ (Footprints in the Snow).” 

Heritage Chutzpah  -  3 min. by Neil Ira Needleman, Katonah, NY.
There’s a rumor in the filmmaker’s family that they are descended from a great 18th century Hasidic leader. Needleman looks at his secular family today and says, “How can this be?” in this whimsical portrait of a family celebration. 

Hill Dancers  - 13 min. by Doug Cooper and Ryan Woodring, Pittsburgh, PA.
Set in 1960 in hilly Pittsburgh, this original work is a hybrid form which mixes live action recorded against a green screen (TV broadcasts use the technique to place the forecaster against a weather map) with hand drawn industrial drawing by artist Doug Cooper. ‘Hill Dancers’ unfurls Grace’s story; she’s a devout daughter who loves to dance ballet on her porch to her muse, the sacred music of her church. Her father runs a back-yard auto repair shop. Grace becomes infatuated with a young man who drives a convertible and loves Doo-wop. In a series of down hill chases and dances, the movie shows their brief romance.  

In Between Shadows  - 5.25 min. by Tainran Duan, Los Angeles, CA.
Bands of light are cast on walls, stairs and floors, in a labyrinthine, maze of rooms. Shadows appear and seem to combine with memories in the Surrealistic hand drawn animation. An oversized cat emerges out of the gloom, and a tiny man seems lost as he walks through the dreamscape. 

Installation  - 7.25 min. by Paul Donatelli, Laura Green and Sara Mott, Daly City, CA.
‘Installation’ is a regal and captivating documentary about the construction of sculptor Richard Serra’s monumental, sensuously labyrinthine installation “Sculpture Sequence” at the Iris & B. Gerald Canto Center for the Visual Arts at Stanford University. In his “Industrial Strength” essay, in the June 11, 2007 edition of The New Yorker magazine, Peter Schjeldahl states that Richard Serra’s work is “….an affair of big rusty things without practical use. It evokes derelict ships, locomotives, and heavy-industrial factories. It also recalls times when miracles of human invention were still spectacular…” But this film captures is an ode to the organic beauty of Serra’s raw hard steel sculpture as the foundation work is laid with finesse by workers and riggers lift and fit the gigantic serpentine panels into place. 

Live Outside the Box  - 4.25 min. by Shu-Hsuan Lin, Freemont, CA.
The leading character in this jazzy animation is a workaholic with too little social contact. His world is suddenly contracting as he finds that his “Main Street America” is succumbing to a “big box” mentality and nothing remains but corporate drudgery. 

Man Is Always On The Stairs Between The Pleats of Matter and The Field of The Soul – 8.25 min. by Jing Niu, Durham, NC.
The filmmaker’s technique challenges the viewer to truly see what is and is not on the black and white and gray screen. In this piece, a child climbs stairs and in a dream like vision finds a vast field inhabited by naked humans whose roaming bodies appear and disappear among the shadow of haystacks in the night. The child’s voice utters muted words, in this call for humanity to reawake and rediscover one another. It suggests modernity’s nihilistic dilemma yet seeks to re-enchant the viewer by absorbing her or him in an analogue (film was shot on 16mm film) and poetic, rhythmic experience. 

Mating for Life  - 48.75 min. by Cindy Stillwell, Bozeman, MT.
This gentle, sensitive, observational documentary, narrated by the filmmaker, focuses on a personal pilgrimage to a refuge where one can witness the annual spring migration of Sandhill Cranes. It’s a metaphor for human transformation. ‘Mating for Life’ is a meditation on nature and art, and poses essential questions about our need for both connection and solitude. The filmmaker camps out for days in a tiny, canvas bird blind, isolated from all human contact, alone with her view of the birds and her thoughts.  

Moral Panic, More Heat Than Light - 32 min. by Akintola Hanif, Newark, NJ.

Produced by the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice in partnership with the Second Chance Campaign of New Jersey, this stirring film focuses on prisoner re-entry and gang issues. Interviews with key policymakers, law enforcement officials and community stakeholders, including Newark Mayor Cory Booker, and relevant community groups such as Stop Shootin’, Street Warriors and Saving Our Selves illuminate the important issues, and strategies Newark, N.J. is engaged with. It’s important to note that these same concerns are found across the USA thus Moral Panic, More Heat Than Light offers a vital overview of the circumstances and needs found in most urban communities.

No Wine Left Behind  - 14.5 min. by Kevin Gordon, San Francisco, CA.
This is an wholly engaging and rewarding documentary that tells the story of a young Iraqi war veteran, Josh Lain, who returns home with his disarming personality intact and looking for a job. He lands a lowly position at a winery where he learns the business and art of turning grapes into wine. Lain’s story is a truly refreshing and meaningful antidote to much of the troubling news about veterens. No Wine Left Behind is a wholly rewarding and engaging testimony to the perseverance and ingenuity of a young man and the Iraqi War veterans he provides jobs to at his vineyard. 

Once There Were Polar Bears  - 6 min. by Arthur C. Smith III, Katovik, AK.
Filmmaker Arthur C. Smith III and his wife, Jennifer, live in the Inupiat Eskimo village of Kaktovik on Alaska's remote Barter Island in the Arctic Ocean. Through Arthur’s exquisite cinematography, the Smiths are wholly committed to sharing the truth of polar bears with a misled public. As climate change reshapes the Arctic, this gripping work combines lead-in titles with frontline images that tell the suppressed history of Alaskan polar bears living on land, and explores how this past could save their future. This new short documentary film is the beginning of a feature-length project.   

Penultimate  - 4 min. by Paul Meyers, San Francisco, CA.
Artist Costas Schuler has an obsession. He’s gone on-line inviting people to send in their unwanted pens. What to do with thousands of pens becomes an insanely original art project that he can drive home in this black and white documentary. 

Richmond Study 1 (Travel Advisory)  - 4.5 min. by Mary Beth Reed. Glen Allen, VA.
The filmmaker’s camera observes in one long take, from high above, as a vehicle and its driver wrestle to exit a snowy parking lot. The struggling car makes sinuous tracks in the snow, in this sensual four-wheel ballet. 

Robot e Pinocchi  - 10 min. by Paul Zinder, Rome, Italy.
This documentary is a mixture of art on film and a character study of sculptor Ferdinando Codognotto who shapes wood into his personal philosophy – “ we are all automatons and Pinocchios.” 

Scene Box  – 5.5 min. by Sheri Wills, New York, NY.
The visual equivalent of a possibly dusty box of aged, foil covered chocolate, ‘Scene Box’ presents a tantalizing, barely overheard voice whispering with semi-defuse images alluding to a mystery-seduction. The filmmaker describes her piece as a veiled diorama of uncertainty. 

Shape of the Shapeless  - 30 min. by Jayan Cherian, Floral Park, NY. NOTE: this film is not for the faint of heart but it is provocative and captivating!
‘Shape of the Shapeless’ is a disarming film which explores the spiritual and not so spiritual quest of a man, Jon Cory, aka Premdas, aka Rose Wood, who is a burlesque performer, cross dresser, Buddhist yogi, and an artisan with an antique restoration business. He transgresses numerous boundaries as he bends, shifts and reorients notions of body, gender and sexuality in a dizzying fusion of identities as he tucks himself into his female impersonator’s wardrobe. 

Something Fishy  - 14.75 min. by Dan Wood, Broom, Western Australia.
Two boys – one, an instigator, the other, one who is guilelessly drawn into misadventures – become entangled in a mishap of tragic proportions. One youth is a fair-haired, blue-eyed teen, the other of Aboriginal extraction. But who really is the culprit in this story of youthful blunders and not so hidden racism? What really happened that day when the two boys roared off on a briny adventure from which only one returned? 

Steam is Steam – 11 min. by Etienne Desrosiers, Montreal, Canada.
 It’s 1952 in Montreal, a time of innocence when Julian, an apprehensive teen tags along with his friend and his friend’s father in a weekly ritual where they partake of the tradition-steeped Turkish baths. Julian’s happy-go-lucky friend Samuel is quite at home in the dank male haunt, as he and his father relish their father-son bonding ritual. The intimacy of the dim baths make for an oddly uncomfortable experience for Julian who may be awakening to an attraction to his guiless friend basking a the musty air. 

Susie’s Ghost  - 7 min. by Bill Brand in collaboration with Ruthie Marantz, New York, NY.
The marks we make leave behind a mystery. The “Susie” in the title refers to my older sister who had died shortly before we shot the film but the "ghost" refers more generally to feelings of lingering loss. Both my photography and the performance of collaborator Ruthie Marantz express a tentative presence and a diffuse sense of disappearance. Is she looking for something or someone? Is she really there? Is she really gone? We shot with aging 16mm film in my downtown Manhattan neighborhood, just before construction mania obliterated the last traces of the manufacturing district I’d moved to 35 years earlier.  That too has passed. 

Taxonomy - 4 min. by Karen Aqua, Cambridge, MA.
In this, Karen Aqua’s final film (see dedication in annual program booklet), the animal, vegetable, and mineral kingdoms reside in a state of constant flux, reflecting a world of transience, mutability, and impermanence.  Through the metaphor of transformation, this film explores the themes of malleability, instability, and interconnectedness. 

To Do - 1 min. by Patricia McInroy, Denver, CO.
This succinct, whimsical work captures a near universal truth about the pace of life in the 21st Century. The filmmaker presents a frantic rush of ‘to do’ memos to herself, in close-up, all with a pithy beat. 

To Snowy Nowhere  - 9.5 min. by Eli Shapiro, West Orange, NJ. Home-town Audience Choice Selection
In this comic adventure, Tad, who’s concerned about his would-be-hippy sister, solicits aid from a burly construction worker he meets on the street. They set off on a seemingly misfired adventure to the back woods in search of Tad’s sister. 

Toxic Detroit  - 10 min. by William Noland, Hillsborough, NC.
As the city of Detroit struggles to bring itself back from the brink, its checkered history weighs on its current residents. Detroit’s gilded-age reputation as “the Paris of the West” gave way to its emergence as automotive capital of the world in the first half of the 20th century, when its auto industry enjoyed a near monopoly. Today Detroit is still entangled in its 20th Century legacy, striving to cope with 21st Century world. A daunting problem is the toxic legacy of unbridled industrial production. A father and daughter fish on the River Rouge downstream from Ford’s Rouge River Factory Complex. Zug Island looms in the distance, once a marsh-filled peninsula and the site of a Native American burial ground. Seen, too is the Packard Plant, the largest abandoned building in the U.S., closed since 1957, and the largest solid waste incinerator in the U.S. These surreal wastelands, sitting in dangerously polluted neighborhoods, are portrayed in vivid videography, which for cinephiles may remind of the industrial landscapes in Antonioni’s Red Desert. 

Undergrowth  - 9 min. by Robert Todd, Boston, MA.
The slightest breeze, piercing eyes, a cut-away to a branch, a blossom, tendrils bowing in a zephyr, ruffles an owl’s downy coat in macro close-up, as sunlight and shadows play across leaves. This is the beauty of the noted ‘stylographer’ Robert Todd’s film.  

Visitation  - 9 min. by Suzan Pitt, Los Angeles, CA.
Surrealistic and uncanny, cast in grainy 16mm images, the film VISITATION allows an imaginary glimpse into the aura of 'an outer-world night'...the visions in the film are summoned from the filmmaker's imagining of a mythical eternity which is beautiful but fraught with an unsettling presence. 

A Walk In The Woods  -  4 min. by Karl Staven, Philadelphia, Pa.
What starts out as a gentle walk into the forest to escape from traffic evolves into something more unsettling as things progress into something more raucous. 

We’re Part of the City, 4th Movement  - 8 min. by Lucas Segall and Stanzi Vaubel, Brooklyn, NY.

We’re Part of the City, 4th Movement is an astonishing, revelatory experimental work chronicling the New York City ‘Occupy Wall Street’ protest in a style as renegade as the movement itself. Fractured sound and images collide and reverse, then repeat in a collage of energy, all of which reverberates with and echoes the vitality, passion and chaos of the movement. 

What Do You Know? Six to Twelve Year Olds Talk About Gays and Lesbians – 13 min. by Ellen Brodsky, Cambridge, MA.
As the title implies, this engaging work divulges the thoughts and perspectives of “tweeners” on a life orientation being debated in the political arena. The children’s’ matter-of-fact perspectives offer a refreshing antidote to the homophobia which too often motivates some elements of the body politic. 

When I Sleep, I Fly  - 4 min. by Caroline Savage, Philadelphia, PA.

When I Sleep, I Fly is a poetic closed eye dream, a dark, distorted vision of a garden with vulnerable birds and fragmented tree branches, with shifting light and dark illumination. The sound references wind and bird sounds with an undercurrent - of a cat purring - creating a tension against the fragile garden. Shot in Super8mm film and hand processed in negative. 

Year, Make & Mode  -  8 min. by Marta Renzi, Nyack, NY.

This inventive dance film incorporates a working auto repair shop as its location. Hey, everybody, the party’s on at the local garage. Work will go on in the shop as mechanics and dancers join forces and find groovy ways of inter-acting within this gritty workplace. The girls are bringing balloons; Joey says he’ll drive Poppa. Bets are on about who drives Angela home this time.

This year’s jurors were:

• Donna Dolphin, Associate Professor of Communications, Monmouth University, NJ

• Steve Holmgren, Programmer, Union Docs, Brooklyn, NY

• Sabrina Schmidt-Gordon, Executive Director, Engage Media Project, Producer Vespertine Films,  and Chair of the Black   

 Documentary Collective, NY, NY.

• The Festival Director and Founder, John Columbus was a non-voting participant in the Jurors’ deliberations and following 

 the Jurors’ independently made selections, Columbus annually assembles his group of Director’s Choice and Director’s

  Citation works.


In addition a large number of Director’s Citation Works (equivalent to honorable mention) will be posted when settled and as soon as time permits. This may take some time. These works do not tour but are recognized by the Festival Director for their creativity and passion and we consider it an accolade worth touting. We hope that filmmakers understand that while such works are utterly valid and valued it is not possible to include all work in the tour. But we most sincerely appreciate those works and thank the filmmakers, all the filmmakers for sharing their work.


Last Season's (30th) Award Films and Videos (2011 Tour) February thru October

- Below are the award winners for this year's 29th Black Maria Film + Video Festival -
Anna Fitch - San Francisco, CA
DOWN THIS ROAD, 13 min. - 2010
Vinz Feller - Brooklyn, NY
THE GARDEN, 10 min. - 2010
Ann Steuernagal - Cambridge, MA
SCRAP VESSEL, 55 min. - 2009
Jason Byrne - Pacific Grove, CA
THE STITCHES SPEAK, 12 min. - 2009
Nina Sabnani - Mumbai, India
GHOST NOISE, 23 min. - 2010
Marcia Connolly - Toronto, Ontario - Canada
HINDSIGHT, 14 min. - 2010
Sean Hanley - Cambridge, MA
LONGHORN TREMOLO, 17 min. - 2010
Scott Stark - Austin, TX
MRS. BUCK IN HER PRIME, 9 min. - 2010
Erick Yates Green - Washington, NC
Maurico Arango - Brooklyn, NY
POSSESSED, 9 min. - 2010
Fred Worden - Silver Springs, MD
STANLEY PICKLE, 11 min. - 2010
Vicky Mather - Berkshire, England
YARD WORK IS HARD WORK, 28 min. - 2008
Jodie Mack - Hanover, NH
Stephanie Gray - Flushing, NY
CET AIR LA, 3 min. - 2010
Maria Losier - Brooklyn, NY
DREXCIYA, 12 min. - 2010
Akosua Adoma Owusu w/ Dustin Thompson - Alexandria, VA
DRUMS + TRAINS, 12 min. - 2009
Paul Winkler - Sydney, Australia
Anthony Weeks - San Francisco, CA
JEANNIE, 13 min. - 2010
Olivia Jampol - Brooklyn, NY
PINBURGH, 5 min. - 2010
Doug Cooper - Pittsburgh, PA
PUNCH ME, 14 min. - 2010
Robert X. Golphin - Philadelphia, PA
SIX EASY PIECES, 10 min. - 2010
Reynold Reynolds - Stuttgart, Germany
WASHES, 8 min. - 2010
Norbert Shieh - Los Angeles, CA

AN ARCHITECT'S VISION, 6:10 min. - 2010 - Mina T. Son - Stanford, California

BERTHA'S GRANDCHILDREN, 9 min. - 2009 - Roberta Friedman & Grahame Weinbren- New York, NY

BIKE RACE, 12 min. - 2010 - Tom Schroeder- Saint Paul, MN

BURNING BUSH, 9 min. - 2010 - Vincent Grenier- Ithaca, NY

BY THE RIVER, 12 min. - 2006 - Magda Kowalczk, Warsaw, Poland

CARPE DIEM, 5 min. - 2010 - Alison Neale -Toronto, Ontario,Canada

CHAINSAW, 24 min. - 2007 - Dennis Tupicoff - St. Kilda, Victoria, Australia,

A CITY SYMPHONY UNDERGROUND, 12 min. - 2010 - Catherine Stratton- Maplewood, NJ

COLOSSEUM: PROWLING A MONUMENT SPACE, 34 min. - 2010 - John H. Terry- Providence, RI

COW BOY'S, HEIFERS (W)RAP, 5:5 min. - 2010 - Jerry Orr- Wyoming, PA

CYCLE OF LOVE, 3 min. - 2010 - Catherine Marshall - Providence, RI

DELICIOUS PEACE GROWS IN AN UGANDAN COFFEE BEAN, 40 min. - 2010 - Curt Fissel- Montclair, NJ

EARL BUTZ, 3 min. - 2010 - Dorothea Braemer - Buffalo, NY

FATUM!, 9 min. - 2010 - Pablo Milan -Galicia, Spain

FLICKER, 10 min. - 2010 - Landon Donoho -Savannah, GA

GENERATIONS, 30 min. - 2010 - Barbara Hammer & Gina Carducci - Brooklyn, NY

GRANDPA LOOKED LIKE WILLIAM POWELL, 4 min. - 2010 -David Levy - Brooklyn, NY

HAIL, 3 min. - 2010 - Emily Hubley - South Orange, NJ

HOUSE BUNNY, 2 min. - 2010 - Gina Kamentsky - Somerville, MA

IRMA, 12 min. - 2010 - Charles Fairbanks - Lexington, NE

JUST ABOUT FAMOUS, 15 min. - 2009 - Jason Kovalsev and Matt Mamula - Los Angles, CA

LABYRINTHINE, 15 min. - 2010 - Greg Biermann - Hackensack, NJ

LETTERS HOME, 9 min. - 2010- Melissa Hacker - New York, NY

LIKE SUGAR ON THE TIP OF MY LIPS, 13 min. - 2010 - Minji Kang - Brooklyn, NY

LUCKY CHARM, 11 min. - 2010 - Heather Ostrove - Sherman Oaks, CA

MY FIRST SCIENCE FICTION MOVIE, 4 min. - 2010 - Neil Needleman - Katonah, NY

NEW LONDON CALLING, 10 min. - 2010 - Alla Kovgan - Somerville, MA

RETROGRADE PREMONITION, 5 min. - 2010 - Leighton Pierce - Iowa City, IA

RITA, 20 min. - 2010 - Antonio Piazza - Rome, Italy

A SENSE OF PLACE, 16 min. - 2009 - Alexandra Porter - Christchurch, New Zealand

SMALL SECRETS, 1 min. - 2010 - Patricia McInroy - Denver, CO

SOUND OF A SHADOW, 10 min. - 2010 - Lynn Sachs & Mark Street - Brooklyn, NY

SPUTNIK 5, 9 min. - 2009 - Susanna Nicchiarelli - Rome, Italy

STEEPLES, 3 min. - 2009 - Bryan Papciak - Providence, RI

SITTING, 4 min. - 2009 - Leighton Pierce - Iowa City, IA

SWEET CLOVER, A HOMECOMING, 18 min. - 2010 - Jennifer Heuson - Brooklyn, NY

TOMORROW - YEAAAAH!, 13 min. - 2010 - Daniela Abke - Borgholzhausen, Germany

TRANSFORMATIONS ON BARTOK, 1 min. - 2010 - Stephen Campbell - Lancaster, PA

TREE OF FORGETTING, 9 min. - 2010 - Dan Boord & Luis Valdovino - Boulder, CO

TUNED IN, 5 min. - 2010 - Kevin Gordon - San Francisco, CA

UNRENDERED, MEDIA TUNED IN, 6 min. - 2009 - Seounho Cho - Elmhurst, NY

URVA, 13 min. - 2010- Emre Ozdemir - Philadelphia, PA

WHAT DO POLAR BEARS DREAM WHILE THEY'RE DYING?, 33 min. - Arthus C. & Jennifer Smith - Kaktovic, AK

WHERE THE DANCE IS, 16 min. - 2009 - Marta Renzi - Nyack, NY

WRESTLING WITH MY FATHER, 5 min. - 2009 - Charles Fairbanks- Lexington, NE