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27th Black Maria Film and Video Festival
Image from Energie! by Thorsten Fleisch, a Juror’s Choice Selection that will be be among the many works screened at the event.

JERSEY CITY, NJ.-Jersey city Museum will host the 27th Black Maria Film and Video Festival, the prestigious film and video festival that has been advocating, exhibiting and rewarding diverse and cutting edge works from independent film and video artists since it’s establishment in 1981. The juried film festival, named after Thomas Edison’s motion picture studio in New Jersey, is known for its national public exhibition program, which annually tours 60 venues, each featuring a variety of bold, contemporary works drawn from the annual collection of 50 award winning films and videos.

This year’s Black Maria Film and Video Festival will showcase the screenings of several contemporary short films, including 1st, 2nd and 3rd prize winners, as well as one Grand Prize winner. The festival will also feature a film by a New Jersey City University graduate and a number of edgy works that will illuminate, provoke, enrich, and engage viewers. The festival will begin at 2pm on Sunday, February 3rd, 2008 at the Jersey City Museum and films will be shown in the museum’s Caroline L. Guarini Theater.

Works being screened include: 1st Prize - Animation Field of Green (7min.) | by Sky David, Carlsbad, CA Field of Green is a rich and haunting mixed media animation by a master media artist formerly known as Dennis Pies. The filmmaker reaches back into his experience as an American soldier in Vietnam. This resonant work recaptures a close brush with death and the inner trauma that is its legacy. The film is a timely reminder of the long lasting effects of war on the human psyche.

1st Prize - Documentary Phoenix Dance (11 min.) | by Karina Epperlein & Nicole Johnson, C/O Fanlight, Boston, MA The filmmakers have captured an extraordinary portrait of dancer Homer Avila, who in March, 2001, discovered that the pain in his hip was cancer. A month later, his right leg and most of his hip were amputated. This is a chronicle of an artist who would not succumb to odds against him. A heroic journey of trans-formation and healing, Phoenix Dance challenges our expectations of what it means to be "disabled."

Juror’s Choice Selections Energie (5 min.) | by Thorsten Fleisch, Berlin, Germany A visual tour de force, Energie, is supercharged with images of lightening storms which burst across the screen. The pulsating electricity, discharges in claps and sparks, in a spellbinding dance of nature.

Juror’s Citation Selections P.R. (1 min.) | by Bryan Leister, Denver, CO This biting work is a meditation of the Religious Right predicated on an ill-considered pronouncement by Pat Robertson. The maker turns conservative, fundamentalist religion on its ear. A not to be missed send up of a right wing hero with clay feet.

Director’s Choice Works A Trip to Prague (4.5 min.) | by Neil Ira Needleman, Katonah, NY This is a charming, whimsical and fully entertaining story told with sketchbook images of a bachelor’s vacation trip to Prague. There’s a twist at the end, which results in an unexpected outcome. This work is an interesting thematic counter- point to the very different Jim Jennings film also in the Black Maria this year, Prague Winter. Mermaid (17 min.) | by Lisa Barcy, Chicago, IL An offbeat, whimsical animation involving an illicit relationship between a conflicted husband and a lobster. Save Me (4 min.) | by Jason Messina, Southern, NJ Save Me seems at first to be a wildly mimetic film about a backwoods chain saw murderer but quite unexpectedly takes a decidedly unorthodox turn. Signs (3 min.) | by Patricia McInroy, Albuquerque, NM Signs is a powerful visual stream of consciousness illustrating an effort to interpret the messages of everyday life. It is also about how the prosaic is made up completely of art waiting for an interpreter to come along.

Bodega (6.5 min.) by Casimir Nozkowski, Brooklyn, NY Homeboys Dallas Penn and Rfi Kam reveal the street wise, corrected food pyramid in this funky and funny tongue in cheek work. A humorous yet searing commentary about the choices confronting people who live in the poorest urban county in the country. The protagonist/hosts illustrate the finer points of the Bodega Food Pyramid. Freedom’s Front Line (28 min./ 10 min.) | by Robert Hamberger, Jersey City, NJ Description pending but basically this cleanly made work is about voting rights activists in rural Tennessee during the 1950s and 60s.

Know the Customer | Marc Inman, Salt Lake City, UT In this wacky comedy, a very talkative convenience store clerk is robbed by a masked man she’s certain she knows as a former high school chum. The loony protagonist continues her free association chatter, a verbal avalanche which denies her antagonist his rightful place as a would-be felon. Another Picture (4 min.) | by Gregg Biermann, Hackensack, NJ This inventive and engaging experimental work appropriates and manipulates footage from Billy Wilder’s Sunset Boulevard in a reflexive ode to the film’s star Gloria Swanson. Another Picture culminates in fractured, deconstruction of the star’s famous line: "All right, Mr. DeMille, I'm ready for my close up.

Founded in 1901, the Jersey City Museum is the major presenter of contemporary art serving the people of Jersey City, Hudson County and the region. The museum organizes many group and solo exhibitions every year, featuring works by culturally diverse, contemporary artists and from its 10,000-piece collection of regional significant art and historical objects. Through exhibitions, educational initiatives and programs, the museum welcomes over 25,000 visitors each year, including 11,000 school-aged children and youth.

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