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Edison & Ford Winter Estates Blog

Edison & Ford Winter Estates Blog

International Film Festival Returns to Southwest Florida

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On March 5th

What:   Thomas Edison Black Maria Film Festival
When: Fri., March 26, 7:30 PM, Edison & Ford Winter Estates (rain date March 28)
           Sat., March 27, 7:30 PM, Edison State College
           Mon., March 29, 7:00 PM, BIG ARTS, Sanibel

The Edison & Ford Winter Estates, Edison State College and BIG ARTS, Sanibel Island  will host the Thomas Edison Black Maria Film Festival in Florida for a fourth season since the Festival began its national tour in 1981.  The Festival has the added attraction of being shown outdoors in the gardens of the Estates as well as indoors in the newly renovated Auditorium in the Richard H. Rush Library at Edison State College and the Schein Performance Hall at BIG ARTS, Sanibel Island. 

The award winning festival will be held on March 26, 2010 at the Estates; March 27, 2010 at the Auditorium at the Richard H. Rush Library at Edison State College; and March 29, 2010 at Schein Performance Hall at BIG ARTS on Sanibel Island.  Black Maria Film Festival Board Directors Member and filmmaker, Clayton Hemmert will introduce the films and facilitate discussion afterwards.  Hemmert was awarded a 2010 Director’s Prize from the Black Maria Film Festival for his film Banana BreadBanana Bread will be shown at all three sites as well as an additional thirty films. 

The Black Maria Film Festival, named after Thomas Edison’s first motion picture studio, honors Edison’s pioneering work in cinema.  The Festival is hosted by museums and colleges throughout the country and showcases independent and experimental film and video.  The films include a variety of contemporary works drawn from the annual juried selection of award winning films and videos.  The Black Maria is recognized by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences as an Academy Awards qualifying festival for short films. 

Tickets may be bought in advance at the Estates, 2350 McGregor Boulevard; and BIG ARTS, 900 Dunlop Road, Sanibel Island.    The cost is $7 per evening for adults, $5 for students.  Tickets for all three nights can be purchased at a discounted rate of $15.  Estates Members are free on March 26 and Edison State College students are free on March 27.  Seating is limited.  For more information call 239-334-7419 or visit the following websites: Edison & Ford Winter Estates at www.efwefla.org, Edison State College at www.edison.edu/artsedison/events.php, BIG ARTS at www.bigarts.org, and the Black Maria Film Festival at  www.blackmariafilmfestival.orgOn March 26th  the Estates will host the Festival along Caloosahatchee River in the Royal Palm Allee at the historic Ford Estate.  This year the Estates is offering “Dinner and a Movie.”   Viewers can enjoy a BBQ dinner under the night skies at “The Mangoes,” the winter home of Henry and Clara Ford, for an additional cost (reservations must be made in advance by calling the Estates 239-334-7419).    In the event of rain the Festival will be held on March 29th.  Films to be screened at the Edison & Ford Winter Estates include:
 
Pickles to Nickels 8 min. by Danielle Ash, of Brooklyn, New York, NY

STELLAR ANIMATION SELECTION
Enter a cardboard world where monkeys steal pickles and store fronts shift and disappear and two eccentric characters enjoy a certain simpatico. An elder Jewish pickle vendor and a bakeshop owner find that change is everywhere, even on their zany old neighborhood.

Second Hand Dolls 5:31 min. by Anthony Weeks, San Francisco, CA
JURY CHOICE SELECTION
In this parallel story documentary the filmmaker and his central individual address our throw away culture, where anything that is not of the moment or no longer young is too often dismissed. But an elder dancer asserts her vitality in this engaging black and white documentary.

Balance 3:46 min. by Debra Sea, Greensboro, NC
The product of a 30 day video diary project and made with a simple flip camera. Balance’s images are taken from the perspective of a camera mounted on the handlebar of a bike. The front wheel transitions across landscapes, textures, and seasons from rain to gravel, desert to snow, and into the lovely green of springtime, all woven together in an energetic package.

Banana Bread 9 min. by Barton Landsman and Clayton Hemmert, New York, NY
Perhaps owing part of it’s sensibility to the work of director Quentin Tarantino, this droll fictional film with a clever plot twist breaks boundaries but for those who can appreciate irony, incongruity and over-the-top action, this will be a hoot.
Coda  2:40 min. by Vincent Grenier, Ithaca, NY, 2009
This is a work which is about the moment, about seeing, absorbing, distilling the essence of something and which places the viewer in a garden where the veteran filmmaker seemingly meditates on the space through elegantly articulated framing and graceful camera moves.

 Breaking Boundaries: The Art of Alex Masket 19 min. by Dennis Connors, Montclair, NJ
This gripping and insightful documentary chronicles the story of 22 year Alex Masket, an extraordinary, young man who has created a rich and varied body of work through which he expresses himself vibrantly. Appraisals of Alex’s work by art experts testifies to the quality of his creations. The wholly individualistic style of Alex Masket helps bring ideas about artistic communication and the creative impulse into focus. “Is Alex’s art not clear evidence of a highly articulate, even amazing visual language that is just as meaningful as verbal language?” “Is it not our own limitations that establishes the primacy of verbal communication over the visual, and in fact is not Alex just as much a fully realized, creative human being as anyone?” More about Alex and his art can be found in Esopus magazine’s cover story. (Esopus.org).

Jelly Fishers 5:48 min.  by Steven Subotnick, Providence, RI
Jelly Fishers is a mischievous hand drawn animation in which a fly visits a family floating at sea but there is nothing to eat, so granny goes fishing. While she is away, the stormy sea engulfs everything. In the end, they are all saved by jellyfish. The offbeat story line is enhanced by the filmmaker’s artistry.
My Girlfriend Sleeps Like Superman  2:13 min. by Steve Gentile, Boston, MA
A droll animated portrait of the artist’s nightly battle for bed space where insomnia and romance intersect and restful sleep is a prized commodity owing to partner’s dream maneuvers.

My Dearest Love 3 min. by Marc Wiskemann, Columbus, OH
In this poignant short the viewer sees a bride dressed in a traditional silk sari as she’s being attended by her bridesmaids, in moments before her marriage. The bride wistfully turns her attention to a nearby window and love note is left behind as she arises to meet her awaiting husband to be.

Thomas Edison’s Last Film 16:12 min. by Eli Shapiro, West Orange, NJ
YOUNG FILMMAKER/AUDIENCE CHOICE SELECTION
In this work made by a high school senior the protagonist is on a quest to find an cinematic artifact of his hero, Thomas Edison, the inventor of motion pictures. A buddy and the young man embark on a madcap adventure and finally dig up a long missing film at a hidden location in the town that is the birthplace of motion pictures.

On March 27th at the Auditorium in the Richard H. Rush Library at Edison State College, films to be screened include:

LOOPLOOP 5 min. by Patrick Bergeron, Montreal, Quebec
JURY CHOICE SELECTION
The 1000 images in this experimental work are based on video shot from a train going to Hanoi Vietnam and are stitched together in one long panoramic strip that is stacked upon itself. Using digital manipulation of images and sounds warping with time shifts this video runs forwards and backwards looking for forgotten details, mimicking the way memories are replayed in the mind. That internal slice of life samplings, houses, fences, textures, bicycles, a woman dancing, become more apparent as the images become more magnified. There’s a sense of humor in the juxtapositions of the image ribbons as they slide and shift across the screen.

The Passenger 7 min. by Julie Zammarchi, Marshfields Hills, MA
JURY CHOICE SELECTION
In this polished animated, dreamscape narrative a woman peers out her window to see an almost Disney-esque rabbit being chased by a cat as a car pulls up which carries her toward her own euthanasia death. She applies lipstick as if it’s all quite normal and upon seeing herself in the mirror, visions and memories crowd her consciousness. The film is a ride through the disparate images of her mind’s eye and a quest to piece together her life’s meaning.
Balance 3:46 min. by Debra Sea, Greensboro, NC
The product of a 30 day video diary project and made with a simple flip camera. Balance’s images are taken from the perspective of a camera mounted on the handlebar of a bike. The front wheel transitions across landscapes, textures, and seasons from rain to gravel, desert to snow, and into the lovely green of springtime, all woven together in an energetic package.

Second Hand Dolls 5:31 min. by Anthony Weeks, San Francisco, CA
JURY CHOICE SELECTION
In this parallel story documentary the filmmaker and his central individual address our throw away culture, where anything that is not of the moment or no longer young is too often dismissed. But an elder dancer asserts her vitality in this engaging black and white documentary.

When Herrons Dream 10:34 min.) by Serge Gregory, Seattle, WA
JURY CITATION SELECTION
This distinctive black and white observational work imagines the perspective a Great Blue Heron as it moves throughout the seasons of a Northwest landscape. But more that this, When Herrons Dream is a distilled meditative, elegantly simple and subtly rewarding film.

Banana Bread 9 min. by Barton Landsman and Clayton Hemmert, New York, NY
Perhaps owing part of it’s sensibility to the work of director Quentin Tarantino, this droll fictional film with a clever plot twist breaks boundaries but for those who can appreciate irony, incongruity and over-the-top action, this will be a hoot.

Coda  2:40 min. by Vincent Grenier, Ithaca, NY, 2009
This is a work which is about the moment, about seeing, absorbing, distilling the essence of something and which places the viewer in a garden where the veteran filmmaker seemingly meditates on the space through elegantly articulated framing and graceful camera moves.

Bouy 6:21 min. (2008) by Seoungho Cho, Elmhurst, NY
JURY CHOICE SELECTION
A hauntingly beautiful and arid, semi abstract desert landscape in yellow ochre belies the title of this visually poetic work accompanied by Brian Eno music performed by Steven Vitiello.

Corporate Art Policy 5:30 min. by Neil Needleman, Katonah, NY
This ironic send up of fickle corporate taste features a cascade of images found on the walls of the filmmaker’s employer. Copies of works by artists ranging from Kandinsky to the kitschy are satirized by the filmmaker. Neil Needleman is perhaps best known as an experimental filmmaker but also is a crazed humorist whose work is always engaging.

Fuzzy Insides 5:20 min. by Michael A. Olsen, Bedford, NH
A model animation has vaguely voyeuristic scene which peek into the secret nightlife of the suburbs. Four stop-motion vignettes portray awkward relationships that fitfully develop romantically and sexually as realized by the deft creativity of the filmmaker.

Hourglass 4 min. by Fern Seiden, Stockholm, Sweden
Rain pours and rubbish soars while light-bulb creatures party up a storm at the edge of the earth. In this photo-collage animation – laced with a turn of the century scientist in his laboratory – a child realizes that the state of the planet hangs in the balance. The film’s lyrical hourglass/alarm clock sounds a critical warning to humanity.

Never Too Late 7:45 min. by Wendy Weinberg, Philadelphia, PA
After 25 years together, two middle aged San Francisco hotel maids decide it’s finally time to marry. Then along comes Prop. 8. What to do? Never Too Late inserts new dialogue into vintage TV show and movies clips to achieve a biting commentary on popular culture’s insensitivity to bans on gay marriage. The filmmaker states that it’s her way of injecting ironic humor into what is the painful inequity which Lesbians and Gays face daily.

Spectrology 11 min. by Kerry Laital, San Francisco, CA
Interest in Spectrogy (the “Spectral” realm) is said to be related to Spiritualism and especially in the 19th century there was a fascination such ideas. This elegiac film is evocative of the apparitional images sometimes found in pre-20th century magic lantern shows. Spectrology is very much an illusionist-like work employing reprocessed vintage films and images that are redolent of the paranormal realm.
Missed Aches 4 min. by Joanna Priestley, Portland, OR
JURY CHOICE SELECTION
This uproarious animation by one of the nation’s iconic animation artists colorfully serves up a cascade of malapropisms.

Young Continent 6:30 min. by Sarah J. Christman, Brooklyn, NY
On a geologically young island, the earth’s heat rises bubbling through the surface, volcanoes hibernate below ice caps and glaciers recede. Containing both unrestrained forces and energy harnessed for human use, the landscape of Iceland
conjures echoes of medieval sagas and whispers of an imagined future.

March 29th in the Schein Performance Hall at BIG ARTS, Sanibel, films to be screened include:

Breaking Boundaries: The Art of Alex Masket 19 min. by Dennis Connors, Montclair, NJ
This gripping and insightful documentary chronicles the story of 22 year Alex Masket, an extraordinary, young man who has created a rich and varied body of work through which he expresses himself vibrantly. Appraisals of Alex’s work by art experts testifies to the quality of his creations. The wholly individualistic style of Alex Masket helps bring ideas about artistic communication and the creative impulse into focus. “Is Alex’s art not clear evidence of a highly articulate, even amazing visual language that is just as meaningful as verbal language?” “Is it not our own limitations that establishes the primacy of verbal communication over the visual, and in fact is not Alex just as much a fully realized, creative human being as anyone?” More about Alex and his art can be found in Esopus magazine’s cover story. (Esopus.org).

Pickles to Nickels 8 min. by Danielle Ash, of Brooklyn, New York, NY
STELLAR ANIMATION SELECTION
Enter a cardboard world where monkeys steal pickles and store fronts shift and disappear and two eccentric characters enjoy a certain simpatico. An elder Jewish pickle vendor and a bakeshop owner find that change is everywhere, even on their zany old neighborhood.

Making Merit Buddhist Daily Duties 8 min. by Dennis Darmek, Milwaukee, WI
A procession of colorful images depict brightly robed monks as they process, chant, collect alms, and practice traditional rituals. Arresting close-ups of Elephants are a powerful presence throughout the film. The pachyderms occupy a special place in the film and culture as they sway in sync with the monks’ chants, and make for a fanciful addition to this sumptuous video.

Missed Aches 4 min. by Joanna Priestley, Portland, OR
JURY CHOICE SELECTION
This uproarious animation by one of the nation’s iconic animation artists colorfully serves up a cascade of malapropisms.

Corporate Art Policy 5:30 min. by Neil Needleman, Katonah, NY
This ironic send up of fickle corporate taste features a cascade of images found on the walls of the filmmaker’s employer. Copies of works by artists ranging from Kandinsky to the kitschy are satirized by the filmmaker. Neil Needleman is perhaps best known as an experimental filmmaker but also is a crazed humorist whose work is always engaging.

Second Hand Dolls 5:31 min. by Anthony Weeks, San Francisco, CA
JURY CHOICE SELECTION
In this parallel story documentary the filmmaker and his central individual address our throw away culture, where anything that is not of the moment or no longer young is too often dismissed. But an elder dancer asserts her vitality in this engaging black and white documentary.

Banana Bread 9 min. by Barton Landsman and Clayton Hemmert, New York, NY
Perhaps owing part of it’s sensibility to the work of director Quentin Tarantino, this droll fictional film with a clever plot twist breaks boundaries but for those who can appreciate irony, incongruity and over-the-top action, this will be a hoot.

Worlds of Sound:  The Ballad of Folkways Records 52:25 min. by Andrea Kalin – Director, Richard Carlin (Book Author) Washington DC
This is a fulfilling and energetic chronicle of Folkways records with Pete Seeger, Lightn’ Hopkins, Jean Ritchie, Leadbelly, Mississippi John Hurt, Woody Guthrie, Bernice Johnson Reagon, Ella Jenkins, Oscar Brand, Furry Lewis, Peter, Paul and Mary, Bob Dylan and a raft of other songsters all delivering lively performances.

Film selections are subject to change. 

In 1892 the world’s first motion picture studio was built by Thomas Edison and nicknamed the Black Maria.  The studio has become an emblem of the exploratory spirit in film which the Festival celebrates.  The Thomas Edison Black Maria Film Festival  celebrates Edison’s pioneering contributions to the film industry.

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