Edison & Ford Winter Estates Blog - Edison & Ford Winter Estates Blog

Edison & Ford Winter Estates Blog

Edison & Ford Winter Estates Blog

Edison & Ford Winter Estates and Edison State College announce films
Black Maria Film Festival, March 30 and 31
Fort Myers, FL (March 13, 2012)The Edison & Ford Winter Estates and Edison State College will host the Annual Thomas Edison Black Maria Film Festival for a sixth season.  The award-winning festival will be held on March 30, 2012, 7:30 p.m. at the Edison & Ford Winter Estates and March 31, 2012, 7:30 p.m. at Edison State College.
Films at the Edison & Ford Winter Estates include:

Kudzu Vine by Josh Gibson, Durham, NC,  Jurors’ Stellar Selection
A train advances through a railroad crossing flanked by leafy sentinels… A radio program waxes lyrical to Georgia farmers on the kudzu vine’s 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 paying tribute to the human capacity for improvisation.

4000 Gallons:  Daniel Johnston’s 100 Large Jar Project 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.

Year, Make & Model 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.

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

Live Outside the Box 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

Another Dress, Another Button 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 Elliot takes her buttons on an artful spin, in this playful short work.

Be Filled With The Spirit by Mark Rogovin, Evanston, IL
Noted photographer Milton Rogovin photographed black storefront churches of Buffalo, NY in the mid 20thCentury.  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 APERTURE 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.

Choreography for Plastic Army Men 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.’

No Wine Left Behind 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 Lanin, 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.  Lanin’s story is a truly refreshing and meaningful antidote to much of the troubling news about Veterans.

Films at Edison State College include:

Places Other People Have Lived by Laura Emel Yilaz, Los Angeles, CA, Jurors’ Stellar 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.

Burning Star 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 implo/explosion of the twelve-sided star.  The title refers to Kenji Onishi’s A Burning Star.”

Dziad I Baba by Basia Goszcynska, 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 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.

Songs for Hellos and Goodbyes 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.

Yelp, With Apologies to Allen Ginsberg’s Howl 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 infections and rhymes but replaces his words with ones that lampoon additions of our generation.  Narrated by Peter Cayote.

A Declaration of Interdependence, Tiffany Shlain, Mill Valley, CA
Based on revamped words and the rhythms of 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.

Everything Is Going To Be Fine 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 catastrophe.  Filmmaker Malloy’s personal anecdotal style leaves one bemused and reassured despite the tribulations of contemporary life.

Hill Dancers 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 and hand drawn industrial drawings 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 backyard 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.

Installation 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 Schjedahl states that Richard Serra’s work is “…an affair to 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 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 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.

Penultimate 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.

Steam is Steam by Etienne Desrosiers, Montreal, Canada
It’s 1952 in Montreal, a time of innocence when Julian, an apprehensive teen, tags along with 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 friend basking the musty air.

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 are on sale at the Edison Ford ticket office.  Ticket prices:  March 30 – Edison Ford members and Edison State Students $5, non members $8.  March 31 – Edison State students FREE, general public $8.  Discounted ticket for both nights $15.  For more information and updates visit the following websites: Edison & Ford Winter Estates at www.edisonfordwinterestates.org, Edison State College at www.edison.edu/artsedison  and the Black Maria Film Festival at www.blackmariafilmfestival.org.

The Black Maria Film Festival, named after Thomas Edison’s first motion picture studio, honors Edison’s pioneering work in cinema.

The Edison Ford is open daily from 9:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. The Edison Ford is the winner of the 2009 National Stewardship Award from the National Trust for Historic Preservation and is an official project of “Save America’s Treasures” at the National Trust for Historic Preservation, a Florida Historic Landmark and a National Register Historic Site. For additional information call 239-334-7419 or visit the web site at www.edisonfordwinterestates.org.

Leave a Reply