Paramount Presents: Black Maria Film Festival
Movies | 03/16/2018 | 8:00PM
37TH ANNUAL BLACK MARIA FILM FESTIVAL TOUR
The Black Maria Film Festival’s 37th Annual Tour returns to The Paramount to present some of the most engaging short films of 2018, including “Person of the Forest” by Richmond, VA filmmakers Melissa Lesh and Tim Laman!
The Black Maria Film Festival attracts and nationally showcases the works of highly accomplished independent filmmakers and is a project of the Thomas A. Edison Media Arts Consortium, an independent non-profit organization in residence at NJ City University’s Department of Media Arts. The Black Maria Film Festival has generous support from New Jersey State Council on the Arts and the Hudson County Office of Cultural and Heritage Affairs and Tourism.
Black Maria was founded in 1981 as a tribute to Thomas Edison’s development of the motion picture at his laboratory, dubbed the “Black Maria” film studio, the first in the world, in West Orange, New Jersey.
For more information, visit www.blackmariafilmfestival.org.
Theatrum Magicum (Magical Theater) – Narrative
23 min. by Marcin Gizycki, Warszawa, Poland
Inspired by the short plays of the eccentric Count Jan Potocki, author of the famous novel Manuscrit trouvé à Saragosse, “Theatrum Magicum” tells the story of a magic show performed at the end of the 18th century by a magician and his troupe. The idea for the film came to Marcin Gizycki in 2007, nearly 100 years after the great cinematic pioneer George Méliès made his own “Theatrum Magicum.”
In Search of Lost Time – Dance
9 min. by Marta Renzi, Nyack, NY
A man and a woman inhabit the same surreal location though not apparently at the same time. Marta Renzi directs this black-and-white meditation on memory and absence, joined by long-time collaborator Charles Caster-Dudzick (camera), as well as Aislinn MacMaster & David Thomson (performers). With a nod to the sound score for Andrei Tarkovsky’s “Stalker” and the location of “La Chambre” by Joelle Bouvier and Regis Obadia.
Dandelion – Animation
3 min. by Lisa Talentino, Torino, Italy
The double time Bourrée dance is full of romantic meaning. Dancers come close, reaching towards each other, then they turn away, find and avoid each other, without ever touching. The dandelion flower is a spring oracle. The legend says that lovers give their wishes to the flower and then blow them away to make them come true. “Dandelion” is an antique dance and courting ritual – a dandelion flower to blow desires.
Mama – Narrative
10 min. by Mert Canatan, Valencia, Spain
Life can change in a blink of an eye; a thin line separates heaven from hell. You may never know when you have to leave your safe zone until you get the hit and everything that used to be there, is gone in the next minute. This is the story of a Syrian refugee girl, who crossed that thin line and saw her entire life altered forever.
Little Potato – Documentary
14 min. by Wes Hurley, Seattle, WA
“Little Potato” is an autobiographical film about a boy growing up gay in the Soviet Union, his mother Elena, and their adventurous escape to America. Struggling to survive in the USSR during the turbulent years of Perestroika, Elena and her son escape into a world of pirated American movies. But soon the movies are not enough, homophobia is rampant in the Soviet Union, and Elena decides to become a mail-order-bride and discover America for herself and her son. Saving its most unexpected twist till the end, this is an inspiring and timely story of two immigrants taking on the American Dream.
Contigo (With You) – Documentary
7 min. by Daniel Boord and Luis Valdovino, Boulder, CO
“Contigo” is a waltz with family and tradition, close to the South Texas border. While the Alamo has been designated, by the United Nations, as a World Heritage site, equally noteworthy is the cultural heritage in the lower Rio Grande Valley. “Contigo” celebrates a Sunday afternoon in San Antonio and a weekend at a conjunto music festival in San Benito. The project is based on a song written by one of the pioneers of conjunto music, Don Santiago Jiménez. It is performed by his son, Santiago Jiménez Jr.
– INTERMISSION –
Person of the Forest – Documentary
17 min. by Melissa Lesh and Tim Laman, Richmond, VA
In the vanishing lowland rainforests of Borneo, research is underway to uncover and understand the unique cultural behaviors in wild orangutans. There, photographer Tim Laman, researcher Cheryl Knott, and young explorer Robert Suro shed new light on the similarities between ourselves and our ancient ancestors, before it’s too late.
Insecta – Experimental
5 min. by Ramey Newell, Vancouver, BC, Canada
“Insecta” questions humans’ relationship with the natural world through the dual lenses of scientific inquiry and the aesthetics of documentary filmmaking. Utilizing archival video and narration in conjunction with original laboratory photography and rhythmic insect sound compositions, the film constructs an increasingly unsettling portrait of human callousness toward non-human animals in our compulsive quests for knowledge and domination of the natural world.
New York City Sketchbook – Animation
13 min. by Willy Hartland, Brooklyn, NY
“New York City Sketchbook” explores the urban experience unfiltered, with all its beauty and its blemishes. Working from his sketchbooks, in a form of visual journalism, the filmmaker documents the challenges that New Yorkers face with their hopes and desires as they negotiate the urban matrix of the city itself.
Mickey’s Pets – Documentary
13 min. by Ashley Brandon, Evanston, IL
Mickey Alice Kwapis spends her free time gutting small rodents and then putting them back together. A self-taught taxidermist, Mickey has been working professionally with dead animals for four years. Now, with her trusty peacock in tow, Mickey is on her way to compete in the U.S. National Taxidermy Championships. The competition will be stiff. Mickey is up against current and former World Champions who have been working in the field for longer than she has been alive. “Mickey’s Pets” is the story of an underdog, striving for victory and intending to do so in her own quirky style.
Sans Chlorophyll – Animation
3 min. by Phil Davis, Baltimore, MD
A short experimental film created using hundreds of scanned and photographed leaves animated and choreographed in time to an original banjo score by the filmmaker.
Festival Jurors for the 2018 Festival Tour:
Henry Baker works in video, television, film, sound, print and interactive media. In 1987, he founded his video company BXB in NYC. Clients include HBO, Cinemax, SONY, Panasonic, Four Seasons Hotels and many others. At BXB he received numerous awards for his creative work in video and television including: Houston International Film Festival, Broadcast Designer’s Association, ACE and IFTA awards.
His work has been screened at various locations including: Leslie Lohman Gallery, National Museum of LGBT History, Simon Watson Gallery, Vancouver College, Hallwalls, Intermedia Arts Center, Matrix Gallery et al. His works are in the collections at The NY Public Library and the Everson Museum. He administered the Video Artist Grant Program at Synapse Video Center, Syracuse NY, serving ultimately as Director of the Center from 1978-81. At Synapse he also curated their video exhibitions and distribution programs. He served as a panelist at the National Endowment for the Arts, the WNET-TV Lab, the Broadcast Designer’s Association and the Ithaca Video Project. In 2015, he served as a pre-screening juror at Black Maria Film Festival. Henry has given lectures at the International Television Society, Video Free America, Greenwich High School, Boston Film and Video Foundation and the San Francisco Art Institute. He co-founded the New York State Media Alliance.
A consummate sound aficionado, he produced regular radio broadcasts for over a decade at WAER-FM and WONO-FM. Henry has worked in film since the 1950s and video since the 1970s. He received a BFA in Media Communications and an MFA in Synaesthetic Education at Syracuse University. He later received an MS in Information and Library Science at Pratt Institute. He is currently Chief Creative Officer at BXB LLC, Washington DC.
Margaret Parsons is curator of film and media programs at the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC. Besides an international film exhibition program, the Gallery maintains an archival collection of documentary media on the arts. Parsons has organized media events for other organizations including the Corcoran Gallery of Art, American University, the National Archives, and the Smithsonian Museum of American History. She has served as a trustee for film organizations ranging from the Robert Flaherty Film Seminar to CINE, and she has been on the editorial boards for The Moving Image and the Getty Trust’s experimental Art on Film in association with the Metropolitan Museum of Art. She has served as festival juror for numerous international film festivals including Washington, Nashville, Syracuse, Turin (Italy), and Tulcea (Romania).
Currently, Parsons is a member of the advisory board for the Washington DC Environmental Film Festival and curator for Glimmerglass Film Days, a festival she founded in central New York State. She has recently received awards for her work in film preservation from the governments of France, Georgia, and the Czech Republic, and in the U.S. has been the recipient of awards from the Black Maria, the Washington DC Independent Film Festival, and from Women in Film and Video. Her other interests include photography (35mm film and dark room), as well as naïve and outsider art which she collects. Her writing has been published in the journals Raw Vision, Folk Art, The Folk Art Messenger, New York Folklore, Curator, and The Moving Image.