Event:                  33rd Black Maria Festival Tour

Where:                Pollak Theatre

                              Monmouth University

                              400 Cedar Avenue

                              West Long Branch, New Jersey


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When:                 Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Time:                   7:30 p.m.

Contact:             Donna Montanaro Dolphin at 732-571-3449

Cost:                   Free and Open to the Public


WEST LONG BRANCH, NJ  – Monmouth University’s Department of Communication will host the 33rd  Annual Black Maria Film and Video Festival on Tuesday, April 1, at 7:30 p.m. in Pollak Theatre.  The program is free and open to the public, and is subject to change.  The program is sophisticated and therefore, may not be suited to younger audiences.

The evening’s presenter, Donna Montanaro Dolphin, associate professor of communication,  has put together a program with selections across all genres and topics including documentary, experimental, performance, animation (both traditional and digital), and work which emphasizes audio elements.  

Films scheduled to be shown:


A Place of Spirit – Jury’s Choice

6.5 min. By: Natalie Conn and Jay Weichun, Brooklyn, NY

This is the story of Andrea Phillips, a Staten Island based artist, facing eviction from her home after 44 years.  Rather than center itself around the policy issues associated with Andrea’s eviction, “A Place of Spirit” focuses on Andrea’s emotional and spiritual relationship to her eccentric, unique and uncommon home.

Something Like Whales – Jury’s Choice

5 min. By: Nora Sweeney, Val Verde, CA.

In a dying industrial neighborhood in Cincinnati, Ohio, the Queensgate Train Yard pulses with life. A local worker describes the haunting sound emanating from the yard as ‘something like whales.’  This poetical film was shot in part with a camera obscura.

For The Birds – You Be the Judge: Peoples’ Choice Award

14 min. By: Tara Atashgah, Santa Monica, CA.

Inspired by a true story, “For The Birds” follows a young Iranian girl as she is taken to the gallows to be hanged, having been accused of adultery. In her final moments, she imagines her fate in the hands of the surrounding townspeople.

Close the Lid, Gently: A Home Document Scan – Jury’s Choice

5.5 min. By: Ariana Gerstein, Barton, NY.

A video made entirely from two home desktop scanners – one a photo scanner, the other a refurbished low-end document scanner. Each has its own texture and sees the domestic environment in its own particular way, one scan at a time. This piece deals with the deliberate misuse/re-purposing of commercial image producing machines for a slow, individual, low tech, approach to the motion picture making process.

The Apothecary – Jury’s Choice

17 min. By: Helen Hood Scheer, Palo Alto, CA.

A moving portrait of beloved druggist, Don Colcord, in a rural Colorado outpost. Don is a man who operates the only pharmacy within 4,000 square miles.  He navigates a profound divide between his public persona and his personal life.  To the community, he is jovial and heroic.  At home, he is impotent and isolated due to his wife’s disability.  “The Apothecary” explores notions of individual duty and obligation in the face of privately held grief and ambivalence.

Wise Choice or Lucky Guess – Directors’ Choice

3.5 min. By: Ellen Raines, Fox Point, WI.

A recently deceased man has to make a choice between heaven and hell, while sitting on an escalator.

Rehearsal – Directors’ Choice

11 min. By: Tom Rosenberg, Austin, TX.

A cinéma vérité study of a simulated terrorist attack in Middle America. Carefully composed frames record the meticulous care taken to create a hyper-real terrorist event. Once a simulated bomb goes off, hundreds of volunteers deliver convincing performances as stunned and mutilated blast victims.

Garbage Girl in Daily Consumption – Directors’ Choice

5.5 min. By: Christopher Nostrand, Kingston, NY.

We follow our heroine, Garbage Girl, through one of her routine days, witnessing the damage humans inflict on our planet. Garbage Girl wakes to find an overwhelming amount of waste. Her desire to rid the world of trash leads her to a life of singular purpose and isolation as she struggles to make a statement for change and save the earth.

Salmon Deadly Sins – Jury’s Choice

7 min. By: Steven Vander Meer, Arcata, CA.

Five thousand salmon colored index cards, the seven deadly sins, bizarre anagrams and a host of serendipitous occurrences mingle in the artist’s imagination and emerge as “Salmon Deadly Sins.” With music by Leftover Salmon, this flipbook style film is a moving drawing; each frame was created individually, by hand, on a 3×5 inch index card.  Envy, gluttony, greed, lust, pride, sloth and wrath are the inspiration for each chapter in this ingenious animation.

Yield – Directors’ Choice

2 min. By: Caleb Wood, Deer River, MN.

Road kill deaths mount up. The filmmaker documents and re-animates this collection of animal victims with a provocative result.

Globe Trot – Directors’ Choice

4.5 min. By: Mitchell Rose, Worthington, OH.

An international, crowd-sourced, dance-film project.  Fifty-four filmmakers on all seven continents each contribute two seconds of movement orchestrated by renowned choreographer Bebe Miller.

Sidewalk – Jury’s Citation

4 min. By: Celia Bullwinkel, Brooklyn, NY.

A woman walks through life, but her real journey is deep within as she confronts her changing body and learns to love herself.

Festival Jurors for the 2014 Festival Tour

John Knecht – Russell Colgate Distinguished University Professor of Art and Art History and Film and Media Studies, Colgate University

Cynthia Lopez  – Executive Vice President, and Co-Executive Producer of American Documentary/POV, and founding chair of the board of directors and trustee of NALIP (National Association of Latino Independent Producers).

Chi-hui Yang – Film programmer, lecturer and writer; President of the Board of Trustees – The Flaherty Film Seminar

Thomas A. Edison Media Arts Consortium


Since 1981, the mission of the Thomas A. Edison Media Arts Consortium has been to promote, illuminate, and advocate innovation in the art of the moving image. The consortium has passionately embraced this mission for over thirty-three years.  The consortium administers the Black Maria Film and Video Festival, the NJ Young Film and Videomakers’ Festival, and the Global Insights/ADA Collection.


About Black Maria Film and Video Festival


The films that become the centerpiece of the Black Maria Film and Video Festival honor the vision of Thomas Edison, New Jersey inventor and creator of the motion picture.  It was his New Jersey studio, the world’s first, which he called the “black maria” from which we take our name. The festival reaches out to diverse audiences in diverse settings including universities, museums, libraries, community organizations, and arts venues. The cutting edge, cross-genre work that makes up the festival’s touring program, has been traveling across the country every year for decades. 

We focus on diverse short films – narrative, experimental, animation, and documentary – including those, which address issues and struggles within contemporary society such as the environment, public health, race and class, family, sustainability, and much more. These exceptional works ranging from comedy to drama to the exploration of pure form in film and video, are not sidebars to feature length films, they are the heart and soul of the festival.  For more information, please visit http://www.blackmariafilmfestival.org/” href=”http://www.blackmariafilmfestival.org”>www.blackmariafilmfestival.org.

For additional information, please contact Donna Montanaro Dolphin at 732-571-4428 or 3449, or [email protected]” href=”mailto:[email protected]”>[email protected]


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Allan Dean

Allan Dean is editor, publisher, and founder of the Atlantic Highlands Herald. Published since 1999 and selected in 2000 by the Borough of Atlantic Highlands as one of their official newspapers, making...