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

Edison & Ford Winter Estates Blog

Edison & Ford Winter Estates Blog

September Events & Programs at the Edison & Ford Winter Estates

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On August 23rd

Media Release – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Chris Pendleton, President & CEO
Lisa Sbuttoni, PR/Marketing Director
293-334-7419
Photo attachments: Homeschool classes begin at the Estates on September 16; Learn how to start your own organic vegetable garden at Estates Garden Talk on September 10

Edison & Ford Winter Estates Programs – September 2011

FORT MYERS, FL (August 21, 2011) – September at the Edison & Ford Winter Estates is highlighted with the return of Estates Homeschool Classes, continuation of Garden Talks,  a new monthly program for children (ages 1-3)  Emerging Inventors Early Learning Class, as well as a variety of  children and adult programs throughout the month.  The September schedule of programs and events include:

Estates open Labor Day, September 5, 2011, 9 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.

NEW – Emerging Inventors Early Learning Class, September 1 and 15, 9 a.m. – 11 a.m.
The Estates newest education program series is a child and parent learning class for children ages 1 -3 years that includes immersion into the buildings, museum and gardens.  Each program is theme based combining early science, invention, story book reading and hands-on activities.  The Learning Class continues twice a month throughout the year.  Contact the Estates Education Department at (239) 334-7419 for more information.

September 1, “Pet parade– Thomas and Mina Edison loved animals.  During Edison’s time there were peacocks, cats and many birds on the property.  In this class children will explore pets using music.  Bring your favorite stuffed animal for the pet parade.  Cost:  Estates Members $5 , non members $15.  Registration is recommended.

September 15, “Row, row, row your boat” – Thomas Edison enjoyed taking guests on his electric launch for boat rides on the Caloosahatchee River.  In this class children will have fun playing with water, watch shapes grow in water and see water do amazing things with science.   Cost:  Estates Members $5 , non members $15.  Registration is recommended.

Garden Talk – How to start your own organic vegetable garden, September 10, 9 a.m.
Organic gardening is the oldest method of gardening and was practiced by Thomas Edison, who grew many vegetables at his Fort Myers estate to eat, sell and ship up north.  Estates horticulturists will teach the basics of organic gardening in southwest Florida including bed preparation, pest control, compost and planting from seeds.  Reservations not required. Estates Members are free, non members $5, all participants will receive a $5 gift certificate to be used in the Estates Garden Shoppe.

Estates Science Fair Workshop for Homeschoolers and Virtual Students, September 13, 10 a.m. – noon
The Estates will be hosting the 2nd annual Homeschool and Virtual Students Young Engineers, Scientists and Inventors Fair on October 25, 2011.  Homeschool and virtual students must enter to pre-qualify for the Thomas Alva Edison Kiwanis Science & Engineering Fair.  The Estates is offering workshops throughout the year to assist students with their science projects.  The workshops focus on choosing a science fair topic, conducting the experiment, documenting results and designing a science fair display board.  Cost:  $5.  Call the Estates Education Department at 239-334-7419 to register.

Homeschoolers:  Science Law and Order, September 16, 9:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. OR 1 p.m. – 3 p.m.
Homeschooled students will learn how scientific laws are made, put laws and theories to the test, and understand scientific processes and how they lead to scientific discovery.  Students and their parents can enroll in a half day of curriculum that follows the Florida Sunshine Objectives for Learning.  The program follows the Lee County mandated program and addresses environmental science, history and reading SOLS.  Pre-visit curriculum materials will be mailed to registered families.  Registration required. Estates Members $5; non members $15 (one adult, one child) additional $5 per child.   Program recommended for grades 1- 6.

Monthly Volunteer Meeting and New Volunteer Orientation, September 20, 9:30 a.m.
Join Estates volunteer staff and “Mr. and Mrs. Edison” as they present their trips to Edison’s Glenmont New Jersey home and the Chautauqua Institute (Mrs. Edison’s father was one of the founders).  This is a regular monthly volunteer meeting and mandatory training for all new Estates volunteers but potential volunteers are also welcome.

Quilting and Stitchery Demonstration, September 24, 10 AM – 1 PM
Quilters from the Southwest Florida Quilter’s Guild and members of the Southwest Embroidery Guild will demonstrate quilting and stitching and will be available to answer questions.  Items will be available for purchase.  The Quilters are preparing for the Estates Annual Clothesline Quilt Show on October 29, 2011, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.  Demonstration is FREE with purchase of Estates Complete Tour ticket.

Edison Garden Market vendor space available, November 19 & 20
The 4th annual Edison Garden Market has space available for plant growers, fruit producers, garden art and garden supply vendors.  The Edison Garden Market attracts nearly 1,000 gardeners and visitors looking for unique and historical garden items including flowering trees, tropical plants and fruits, bougainvillea, orchids, roses bromeliads, palms, cactus, herbs, bonsai, bamboo, fruit, ginger, butterfly plants as well as garden art, home and gardening supplies. For more information contact the Estates Garden Shoppe at 239-334-7419.

NEW German Language Tour, Wednesdays, 10:30 a.m.
For German speaking visitors, the Estates offers a German language tour led by an Estates Site Historian on Wednesdays at 10:30 a.m.  The tour includes the historic homes, gardens, and Edison Botanic Research Laboratory all presented in German. Groups can schedule a German Language tour, available throughout the week, by calling the Estates at 239-334-7419.

Behind the Scenes Tour, Thursdays, 10:30 a.m.
Visitors will enjoy a behind-the-scenes tour inside the Edison and Ford homes.  These unique tours are offered at no cost to Estates Members and $40 for non members.  Due to the intimate nature of Behind the Scene Tours space is limited and registration is required.

Estates Botanical Garden Tour Tuesday and Saturday mornings, 10 a.m.
The Estates Botanical Garden Tours will be offered on Tuesdays and Saturdays at 10 a.m. The tour includes a walk through the historical gardens, and a behind the scenes tour of the Estates Propagating Nursery led by Estates horticultural staff.  Cost for the tour is Estates members, FREE; non members, $24 for adults and $10 for children ages 6 -12.  Visitors may upgrade their ticket for $6 to include a self-guided audio wand tour of the historic buildings and Estates Museum.  Group botanical garden tours are available at a discounted price and may be scheduled throughout the week by calling 239-334-7419.

Edison Botanic Lab Update
The structural and exterior building phase of the restoration of the 1927 Edison Botanic Lab has been completed.  This total $850,000 project was funded through grants fromt eh 1772 Foundation, US HUD/EDI Grants, State of Florida Matching Grant, Edison Ford Winter Estates Foundation as well as the financial and staff resources of the Edison & Ford Winter Estates, Inc.  Work included structural and building engineering, new roof, replicated siding, restoration of the original windows, electrical upgrades, alarm systems and ADA compliance.  In the upcoming months, work will continue on interior work to the chemistry lab, machine shop, plant grinding room, darkroom, field office as well as the adjacent research beds and shade structure.  Visitors receive an update weekly in the Behind the Scenes Tours.  A dedication ceremony is planned for February 2012.

The Estates is open daily from 9:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. The Estates 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.

Edison & Ford Holiday Nights: December 9 – January 1

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On September 14th

Spend the holidays with one of Southwest Florida’s holiday traditions, the 35th annual Edison & Ford Holiday Nights at the Edison & Ford Winter Estates in Fort Myers.  Edison & Ford Holiday Nights attracts visitors from throughout the world annually to view the lights and seasonal decorations that fill 20 acres of gardens, and the recently restored Edison and Ford historic homes. 
 
The theme for Edison & Ford Holiday Nights has always been a combination of historical decorations amidst the orchids, exotic trees and plantings that fill the gardens.  Visitors will have the option of a self guided tour or guided tour (6:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.).  Guided tours include the historic homes, gardens, lab and museum with an historic site interpreter and are available on a first come, first serve basis.  
 
This year there will be events including the artist and craftsmen exhibits and appearances in the “Creative Cottage” as well as book signings and demonstrations located in the Edison Caretaker’s House;  nightly entertainment by local school and community groups; Santa visits; Horse and Wagon Rides; and a “Children’s Tree Trail.”  The “Trail” will be a veritable forest of lighted trees with handmade ornaments from Lee County students and is FREE to the public. 
 
During the holidays the homes of Thomas and Mina Edison and Henry and Clara Ford will be open nightly from 5:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. The event also includes special exhibitions, nightly performances of dance, instrumental and choral music (by area groups and schools) and holiday items in the “Creative Cottage”, Museum Store, Garden Shoppe and the historic Ford Cottage Shoppe.  The Estates Museum and Edison’s Lab will be open nightly as well as the Estates Banyan Café for refreshments.  Tickets for a self guided tour are $15 for adults and $1 for children (6-12); guided tours are $20 for adults and $11 for children (6-12).  Groups may schedule guided or unguided tours from 5 p.m. – 7 p.m. and will receive discounted group rates.  In addition, the Estates will be offering Lee County residents special “hometown discounts” on December 9, 10, 11, 12, 2010.

Edison & Ford Winter Estates Awarded $50,000 Grant

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On August 19th

 The Edison & Ford Winter Estates has been awarded a $50,000 preservation grant for restoration of the Edison Botanic Laboratory by the Florida Legislature through the Bureau of Historic Preservation, Division of Historical Resources, Florida Department of State, assisted by the Florida Historical Commission.  The Edison Botanic Laboratory is located at the Edison & Ford Winter Estates in Fort Myers, Florida.

The Edison Botanic Laboratory was a project of Thomas Edison, Henry Ford and Harvey Firestone who were searching for a viable source of organic rubber which could be grown and produced in Southwest Florida.  Through their work, they discovered that goldenrod leaves would  produce the latex to be distilled for a commercial source of rubber.  The Laboratory and the surrounding research gardens were active in the 1920’s and 1930’s and established the winter homes of the two inventors as a center for plant research.  Today, the site is one of the most visited historic home sites in America and serves more than 200,000 visitors and school children every year. 

The grant from the State of Florida is part of a total $630,000 project for restoration of the original 1928 laboratory structure.  Additional funds have also been received from The 1772 Foundation, HUD EDI grants, the Edison Ford Winter Estates Foundation, and the Edison & Ford Winter Estates, Inc. It is planned that the laboratory building will re main open throughout the project. Architects for the project are Parker Mudgett Smith.  Chris-Tel Company is the restoration contractor. 

Last year, the Edison & Ford Winter Estates received the top award from the National Trust for Historic Preservation for restoration of the Edison and Ford buildings along the river, and this year the site received the top national award for restoration of the historic landscape from the National Garden Clubs Inc. 

The Estates is open daily from 9:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. The Estates 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.efwefla.org.

Edison & Ford Winter Estates Programs – July 2010

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On June 28th

July at the Edison & Ford Winter Estates is highlighted with the return of Henry Ford’s Birthday Celebration, a summer  with a Sneak Peek Tour and Estates Inventor’s Summer Camp as well as a variety of other special programs throughout the month of July.  The July schedule of programs and events include:

Estates open July 4th
The Edison & Ford Winter Estates will be open July 4th from 9 AM – 5:30 PM.  Estates members are FREE and there are several reciprocal admission programs. 

Estates Inventor’s Summer Camp,  Space  Available
For budding rocket scientists, film makers, animators and science detectives, registration is still open for Estates Inventors’ Summer Camp at the Estates. Weeklong camps continue through August 20.  Camp hours are 9 AM – 4 PM, Monday – Friday.  Camps are open for grades 1st – 6th and sessions are separated by grade levels, 1st – 3rd and 4th – 6th.  Cost for Estates Members is $200; non members $230.  Scholarships will be available.
• Spaceships & Rockets, July 5 – July 9
The final frontier!  Campers will explore the outer reaches of the universe with our resident spaceman.  Campers will get to visit planets, collect samples, float on our Lunar Lander, and tons more!
 ESI – Edison Science Investigation, July 12 – July 16 
Thomas Edison, known for his ability to turn normal objects in amazing inventions, made bamboo glow and tinfoil talk.  Now it’s your turn!  Each day, campers will be presented with a different mystery and they will only be given normal everyday items to solve them.  This fun and challenging camp will exercise your mind and body as the clock ticks away to solve the mystery!
• Movie Making Magic, July 19 – 23 
Act, direct, operate the camera and build sets.  Campers will be fully immersed in the art of filmmaking.  Participants will study Foley art (sound effects), movie magic (special effects), and script writing.  Campers will understand the basic techniques the pros use to get their ideas on the big screen.  After the camp is over each camper will receive a DVD of their film.
• Kitchen Chemistry, July 26 – 30
This mind-boggling camp is a combination of the best experiments the Wild Wizard has to offer.  Campers will learn how to take every day things found in the kitchen and make them do amazing things.  Top it all off with a solar cookout with hand made ice cream and root beer float party!
• Spaceships & Rockets, August 9 – 13
The final Frontier!  Campers will explore the outer reaches of the universe with our resident spaceman.  Campers will get to visit planets, collect samples, float on our Lunar Lander, and tons more!
• Eager Engineers, August 16 – August 20
“To be a good inventor you need a good imagination and a pile of junk” said Thomas Edison.  The Estate will supply the junk and jump start the imagination.  Campers will use recycled materials and develop Green Inventions such as robots that will perform a number of different tasks, conduct science experiments, participate in balloon car races, build bridges, and more!

New Volunteer Orientation, July 13, 10 AM
Join Estates staff to learn about volunteer opportunities, Estates policies and general Museum information.  This is a mandatory training for all Estates volunteersNew and potential volunteers are welcome.

Docent Training, July 22, 9 AM
New Estates volunteers who are interested in becoming Edison & Ford porch, Lab and Museum docents, or leading a group tour of the Estates grounds must attend this mandatory meeting.

Quilting and Stitchery Demonstration,  July 24, 10 AM – 1 PM
Quilter’s from the Southwest Florida Quilter’s Guild and members of the Southwest Florida Embroidery Guild  will be demonstrating quilting and stitching techniques on the Edison porch.  Members of the Guild will be available to answer questions on techniques and care.   In the early 1900’s Henry Ford collected, celebrated and displayed quilts and other historical objects.  The Southwest Florida Quilter’s Guild presented the Estates with a replica Ford Collection Quilt that is on exhibit in the Estates Museum.  Demonstration is FREE with purchase of Estates Home and Garden Tour ticket

Sneak Peek Tour,  July 29, 9:30 AM
Behind-the-scenes tour inside the Edison and Ford homes open to the public and Estates members.  These unique tours are offered at no cost to Estates members and $40 for non members.  Due to the intimate nature of “Sneak Peek Tours”, space is limited and registration is required. 

Happy Birthday Henry Ford, July 30, 10 AM
The Estates will be celebrating the 147th birthday of Henry Ford and the recently completed restoration of “the Mangoes,” the winter estate of the Ford family.  The morning celebration includes cake and a behind the scenes tour of the Ford Estate.  Estates Members FREE; non members, adults $20, children $11 and includes a tour of the homes, gardens, lab and museum.

Mother’s Day Brunch at the Estates

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On April 16th

Estates Wild Wizard Outreach Program

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On March 20th

The Edison & Ford Winter Estates was awarded a grant from the Southwest Florida Community Foundation during its Major Annual Grant Cycle (2009-2010) to implement the Estates Wild Wizard Outreach Program in southwest Florida.  On March 26, 2010, 1 PM, the Estates Wild Wizards Outreach Program will visit Tice Elementary School, one of over 70 schools and youth centers in Lee, Glades, Collier, Charlotte and Hendry Countries that have been funded for the outreach science program.

The Estates Wild Wizard Outreach Program is presented by Estates staff and is approximately an hour in length with follow up classroom and home study activities.  In 2008 – 2009 the Estates visited 47 schools, performed 52 shows for 13,735 students throughout Lee County. The Grant from the Southwest Community Foundation has made it possible for outreach programs throughout southwest Florida.

“The project has clearly shown the importance of working with regional schools to provide curriculum-based, hands-on science programming that helps interpret the work of the two famous inventors and their winter homes, laboratory and research gardens,” says Chris Pendleton, Estates president & CEO.  “Students are engaged in the contemporary theatre style presentations of science that characterized the project and tie them to examples of scientific method and specific inventions.” 

The focus of this year’s program is “Henry Ford:  Innovation, Invention and Green Science Wizard.”  The objectives of the program include engaging students in learning and experiencing basic science concepts through hands-on demonstration science.  The program enables students to learn about the basic elements of scientific inquiry, the scientific method, the nature of invention and how science has moved mankind forward.  The program creates an environment where students will “have fun while learning” as well as challenging students to read and explore more through follow up activities in their classrooms and at home. 

“The mathematics, science and reading skills ability of southwest Florida students are a primary focus of the schools and families in the community,” says Pendleton. “School budgets are particularly challenged at this time.  There is a need to offer assistance to remedy this situation for our young students and create a learning opportunity which will encourage them to learn and grow.”

Although only a few years established as a non-profit institution, the Edison & Ford Winter Estates has initiated new programs and educational activity including the Estates Wild Wizards Outreach Programs, monthly Estates Homes School programs, Edison & Ford Inventor’s Summer Camp, scholarships, adult education, horticultural workshops, and a variety of events and programs.   For more information on the Estates educational programs contact the Estates education coordinator at 239-334-7419.

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.

Edison & Ford Winter Estates Programs – March 2010

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On February 25th

March at the Edison & Ford Winter Estates is highlighted with the return of the Thomas Edison Black Maria Film Festival, a NEW event, Art in Bloom, and the continuation of Sneak Peek Tours as well as a variety of other special programs throughout the month.  The March schedule of programs and events include:

Registration for Edison & Ford Winter Estates Inventor’s Summer Camp, continues through MarchThe Estates Inventor’s Summer Camp is back again this year and the Wild Wizard is here all summer long.  Camp begins on June 7, 2010 and runs through August 20, 2010.  Camps are open for grades 1 – 6 and sessions are separated by grade levels.  Campers will make movies, become science detectives, launch objects into orbit, construct bridges and animate their own short films.  Registration forms are available on line at http://www.efwefla.org/pdfs/summercamp.pdf or are available at the EstatesEstates Members $200; non members $230.  For more information on specific topics, dates and times contact the Estates Education Department at 239-334-7419.

Sneak Peek Tours, Every Thursday, year round,  10:30 AM, NEW, behind-the-scenes tours inside the Edison and Ford homes open to the public and Estates members.  These unique tours are offered at no cost to Estates members and $40 for non members.  In addition, lunch will be served in the historic Edison Caretaker’s House following the tour for $15 per person.  Due to the intimate nature of “Sneak Peek Tours”, space is limited and registration is required. 

Art In Bloom, March 7, 1 PM – 5 PM, An exhibit of art and floral design in collaboration with the Estates and the Fort Myers – Lee County Garden Council.  The exhibit combines art pieces with living arrangements of flowers and plants.  Estates Members FREE, non members $5.

New Volunteer Orientation, March 9, 10 AM, Join Estates staff to learn about volunteer opportunities, Estates policies and general Museum information.  This is a mandatory training for all new Estates volunteers but potential volunteers are welcome. 

Estates Annual Volunteer Recognition Event, March 12, 10 AM, Koreshan State Historic Site, Estates volunteers are invited to attend an afternoon of “utopian” fun.  Event includes a guided tour exploring the unique society of the “Koreshans,” pizza lunch, awards and raffles.  Registration is required.

Docent Training, March 18, 9AM, New Estates volunteers who are interested in becoming Edison & Ford porch docents, Lab and Museum docents, or group tour docents of the Estates grounds must attend this mandatory meeting.

Home School:  “Power & Energy,” March 19, 1 PM – 3 PM, Home schooled students will study the power of different sources of energy that are used in today’s homes and throughout the world. The programs follow the Lee County mandated program and addresses environmental science, history and reading SOLS.  Pre-visit curriculum materials will be mailed to registered families.  Registration is required.  Cost:  Estates Members $5; non-members $15 (one adult, one child), additional $5 per child.

Volunteer Education Workshops, March 25, Times TBA, Two educational workshops available to Estates volunteers include a live presentation of Mina Miller Edison, Living with a Genius  and Mastering Five Essential Presentational Skills with writer, playwright and professional actress, Nan Colton.  Seating is limited and reservations are required. 

Thomas Edison Black Maria Film Festival, March 26, 7:30 PM, Edison & Ford Winter Estates (Rain date March 28), March 27, 7:30 PM, Edison State College, Fort Myers, March 29, 7 PM, BIG ARTS, Sanibel Island, The award winning Thomas Edison Black Maria Film Festival will be back for a fourth season in southwest Florida since the Festival began its national tour in 1981.  Festival Board of Directors member and filmmaker, Clayton Hemmert will introduce the films and facilitate discussion afterwards.  There will be more than thirty films shown between the three sites.  Tickets may be bought in advance at the Estates, 2350 McGregor Blvd., 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, BIG Arts at www.bigarts.org and the Black Maria Film Festival at www.blackmariafilmfestival.org.  

Art in the Gardens “Butterflies at the Estates” Exhibit, continues through June 2010, In the heritage gardens at the Edison & Ford Winter Estates, Lee county students create an environmentally interactive artwork exhibit using recycled materials to make life-like garden art. The exhibit is sponsored by The Foundation of Lee County Public Schools, ArtFest, and Truly Nolen.  The exhibit is FREE to the public.

Garden Hat Project to benefit Edison & Ford Winter Estates Education Programs

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On February 9th

Mina Edison loved hats as did many of the fashionable ladies of her time.  They were beautifully adorned with lace, feathers, jewels, veils and other additions which were crafted of straw, organdy, felt and other materials. 

In honor of the first Garden Brunch at the Edison & Ford Winter Estates, February 12 several notable women in the community have decorated hats.  The hats will be on display at Saks Fifth Avenue, Bell Tower Shops from February 5 – 10, 2010.  In addition to this display, Saks Fifth Avenue has collected vintage hats from the 1920’s –1960’s that will also be on exhibit.

The hats will be on display at the Edison & Ford Winter Estates on February 11 and will be auctioned off February 12 at the Brunch with Mrs. Edison, Living with a Genius event at the Estates

In addition to the hat auction, Brunch with Mrs. Edison, Living with a Genius will include brunch amidst the beautiful historic plantings and theatre in the gardens by professional actress, Nan Colton. Living with a Genius is a witty, one–woman show that engages the audience in what it is like to live with a genius – in this case Mina Edison and husband, Thomas Edison.  Colton is well known for her charming representation of historic women and includes storytelling and audience involvement.  Two performances are scheduled:  February 12 and 13 at 11AM and attendees are encouraged to wear hats!

Reservations are required by calling 239-334-7419.  Estates Members $50, nonmembers $60.  The project benefits the Estates Education Program.

Inventor’s Summer Camp 2010 Registration Open

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On February 9th

Registration for the fifth annual Edison & Ford Winter Estates Inventor’s Summer Camp is now open and this year the Wild Wizard will be offering classes all summer.  The Estates is a living lab where every project engages the campers in the sciences, arts, and history to ask questions and discover the answers for themselves while having fun.

Week-long camps begin the week of June 8, 2010 and continue to the final week, August 13.  Camp hours are 9 AM–4 PM, Monday – Friday.  Camps are open for grades 1–6 and sessions are separated by grade levels, 1st–3rd and 4th–6th.  Cost for Estates Members is $200; non members $230.  Scholarships will be available.

The Estates Inventor Summer Camp schedule is the following:

Session 1: June 8 – 11, Edison Invents, A five day adventure that captures the “Edison & Ford” experience.  Step back in time and investigate the inner workings of a light bulb, discover trees and plants brought here from around the world and create inspired works of art.

Sessions 2 & 7: June 14 – 18, July 19 – 23, Movie Making Magic, Act, direct, operate the camera and build sets.  Campers will be fully immersed in the art of filmmaking.  Participants will study Foley art (sound effects), movie magic (special effects), and script writing.  Campers will understand the basic techniques the pros use to get their ideas on the big screen.  After the camp is over each camper will receive a DVD of their film.

Sessions 3 & 8: June 21 – 25, July 26 – 30, Kitchen Chemistry, This mind-boggling camp is a combination of the best experiments the Wild Wizard has to offer.  Campers will learn how to take every day things found in the kitchen and make them do amazing things.  Top it all off with a solar cookout with hand made ice cream and root beer float party!

Session 4: June 28 – July 2, Animation, The perfect mix of science and art.  Campers will develop original characters, write their own story, choose between many different animation styles, and make a short film.  Discussions are based on positive character traits, conflict resolution, and the power of making good choices.  All the films are edited and formatted to a DVD for participants to take home and share with the whole family.

Sessions 5 & 10: July 5 – July 9, August 9 – 13, Spaceships & Rockets, The final frontier!  Campers will explore the outer reaches of the universe with our resident spaceman.  Campers will get to visit planets, collect samples, float on our Lunar Lander, and tons more!

Sessions 6: July 12 – July 16, ESI – Edison Science Investigation, Thomas Edison, known for his ability to turn normal objects into amazing inventions, made bamboo glow and tinfoil talk.  Now it’s your turn!  Each day, campers will be presented with a different mystery and they will only be given normal everyday items with which to solve them.  This fun and challenging camp will exercise your mind and body as the clock ticks away to solve the mystery!

Session 9: August 2 – August 6, Eager Engineers, “To be a good inventor you need a good imagination and a pile of junk” said Thomas Edison.  The Estate will supply the junk and jump start the imagination.  Campers will use recycled materials and develop Green Inventions such as robots that will perform a number of different tasks, conduct science experiments, participate in balloon car races, build bridges, and more!

Registration forms are available on line at http://www.efwefla.org/pdfs/summercamp.pdf or may be picked up at the Edison & Ford Winter Estates at 2350 McGregor Blvd.  For more information or to sign up, contact the Estates Education Coordinator at 239-334-7419.