Black Maria Film Festival (Postponed)

This program has been postponed.

39th Festival Tour
May 27, 2020, 7:30PM

Since 1981, the Black Maria Film Festival, an international juried competition, has been celebrating and preserving the diversity, invention, and vitality of the short film. The Festival is named after Thomas Edison’s original West Orange film studio dubbed the “Black Maria” because of its resemblance to the black-box police paddy wagons of the same name.

The Festival focuses on short films which shine a light on issues and struggles within contemporary society such as the environment, public health, race and class, family, sustainability, and much more. The exceptional works range from animation, comedy, and drama to the exploration of pure form in film and video and are the heart and soul of the festival. It advances and exhibits the work of diverse filmmakers from across the US and around the world. These artists often represent an under-served constituency who might not otherwise have the opportunity for live public exhibition nationwide or abroad.

Festival Director Jane Steuerwald will present the program and introduce the winning films.

Join us for a selection of the 2020 award-winning films from genres including animation, narrative, and documentary.

The Rain Will Follow – Documentary
by Eugene Richards, Brooklyn, NY, 15 minutes

Though confined to a nursing home, 90-year-old Melvin Wisdahl lives an interior life filled with images of the war he fought in, the struggles of the early Norwegiansettlers of North Dakota, his ghost town of a home, and his love of the ever-evolving and threatened land.

Mirage – Experimental
by Jack Cronin, Ann Arbor, MI, 6 minutes

A study of Las Vegas and the Red Rock Canyon through dense, lyrical, fantastical images.

Grassland – Experimental
by Sarah Kanouse, Jamaica Plain, MA, 19 minutes

A poetic and unsettling excavation of the layers of belief, ecology, practice, and geology that form a northeastern Colorado landscape. Cattle grazing, nuclear missiles, fracking, and wind power generation co-exist within a few miles of each
other, all unfolding on territory whose ties to the Cheyenne people were affirmed by US law. The film locates the grassland in historic and geologic time, ranging over changing frameworks of ideology, and cosmology, contradictory human practices, and the material and geological forces of the land itself. Meditative original footage of the grassland merges with handmade collage animations and a richly textured soundtrack.

Just a Small – Animation
by Na Kyung Kim, Seoul, South Korea, 5 minutes

Inspired by ancient Korean mural paintings, the filmmaker painted a giant watercolor (180” by 40”) with 1670 different frames woven together as a whole. “Just a Small” tells the story of a tiny eel that wishes to become something greater than itself.

Movement in Structure – Experimental
by Shaun Clarke, Boston, MA, 4 minutes

A dynamic and lyrical dance film exploring the relationship between a dancer and the space in which he performs.

The Night Shift – Documentary
by Yumeng Guo, San Francisco, CA, 8 minutes

“The Night Shift” is a short film about an extraordinary/ordinary night shift worker, Clemencia Cardoza, a Mexican-American woman who works in the city of San Francisco. While the city sleeps, Clemencia and many others like her, work hard to realize their dreams for a better life.

Little Wonders – Animation
by Maris Fechter, Houston, TX, 2 minutes

In “Little Wonders,” the filmmaker’s mother recounts a joy of motherhood: the opportunity for a fresh outlook on the world, seen through the eyes of one’s children.

Censoring Nuremburg – Documentary
by David Busan, Granville, OH, 14 minutes

Dr. Arnold Joseph, Professor Emeritus of Modern Languages, taught French at Denison University in Ohio from 1963-1990. In another life, Arnie was a translator of mail, to and from Nazi prisoners in Germany at the Nuremberg Trials after World War II. “Censoring Nuremberg” chronicles his time at the trials.

Code Ruth – Animation
by Caroline Voagen Nelson, Astoria, NY. 4 minutes

A true love story about a Morse code instructor finding her path during WWII. “Code Ruth” blends stop motion techniques and archival materials to share a family’s history of connecting through technology.


Museum Members: $12
Non-Members: $15
Under 25 with valid ID: $10

Previously purchased tickets will be automatically moved into the new date once announced.  Please call the Box Office at 973.971.3706 with any questions.

On-line ticket sales end two hours prior to a performance.  At that time, please call the Box Office for tickets at 973.971.3706.



May 27 2020


7:30 pm