* Named as one of MovieMaker Magazine’s “25 Film Festivals Worth the Entry Fee” - Spring 2010 edition *
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BackgroundSince 1981, the mission of the Black Maria Film and Video Festival has been to promote, illuminate, and advocate innovation in the art of the moving image. The Festival has passionately embraced this mission for over thirty years, and is named after the world's first motion picture studio built by Thomas Edison, where he made all of his own short experimental films. Moviemaker's Spring 2010 issue lists the Black Maria Film and Video Festival as one of "25 Film Festivals Worth the Entry Fee."
The Festival's annual competition is juried by noted exponents of independent work and results in 40 to 60 works chosen for the Festival's annual tour. The tour visits 65 or more diverse institutions in 20 or more states, starting with the premiere each season at New Jersey City University, in Jersey City, NJ.
The Festival has a long track record of commitment to short works. It encourages and seeks creative, insightful, sensitive, free spirited, expressive, poetic and experimental works in animation, narrative, documentary, and hybrid forms. All genres are welcome. The intent is to recognize, exhibit and reward uncommon work. For most of its history, the Festival has been able to offer cash awards and/or exhibition honoraria to the film and videomakers it has exhibited and, has been recognized by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and The Association of Independent Film Animators. The Festival has been featured on National Public Radio and on NJ Network.
Every program presentation in the Festival tour is custom curated and drawn from the season's award collection. Programs are assembled in collaboration with each host venue. Programs vary widely, some focusing on animation or documentary, others on personal memoir or experimental narrative. Virtually every program is presented in person, by the Festival’s executive director, artistic director, or other highly qualified Festival representative.
The Festival has presented work at institutions including the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC; the MoMA, NYC; the Des Moines Art Center; Millennium Film, NYC; the Capri Theater in Montgomery, AL; Rhode Island School of Design; Savannah College of Art and Design; University of Delaware; Princeton University; University of Colorado, the A. Harry Moore Laboratory School for children with disabilities; and many more venues across the United States. The Festival's gala premiere is held annually on the first Friday in February at New Jersey City University, our home institution.
It is the policy of Thomas A. Edison Media Arts Consortium - Black Maria Film and Video Festival to maintain a working and exhibition environment free of all forms of unlawful discrimination. In recognition of the importance of good employee relations, all applicants are extended an equal opportunity to gain access to our office and employment. All employees are extended an equal opportunity to progress in their field of endeavor. Tour program hosts are required to be in compliance with ADA guidelines with impediment-free access to exhibition spaces. The Thomas A. Edison Media Arts Consortium - Black Maria Film and Video Festival will not tolerate any form of discrimination or lack of access to programmatic spaces and will take action as determined appropriate by the ADA Committee in order to resolve and rectify any shortcomings including those of host venues, as may be determined to have tolerated discrimination or to have engaged in unlawful conduct under this policy. Our grievance procedure will be posted under the ADA/Global Insights banner on the heading of the Festival home page and is also available by emailing the Festival office ADA liaison at: firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephoning: 201-200-2043.
The Black Maria Film + Video Festival which is the primary program of Thomas Edison Media Arts, a non-profit organization, is supported by operating grants and / or the in-kind support of the following organizations:
- New Jersey City University
- The New Jersey State Council on the Arts
- The National Endowment for the Arts
- The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
- The Hudson County Office of Cultural Affairs and Tourism
- Discover NJ Arts
- The William H. Donner Foundation
- The Donner Philanthropic Fund of the Pikes Peak Community Foundation
- Private foundations and private donors