Thursday, February 28, 2008

2008 Black Maria Film Festival

The first movie studio in the world was not in Hollywood, but in New Jersey. Thomas Edison was a pioneer in the developing motion picture technology, and started the first movie studio, nicknamed Black Maria, at his West Orange laboratory.

Since 1981 the Black Maria Film Festival, based in New Jersey, has honored Edison's legacy by showcasing the best in short films. But you don't have to go to New Jersey to see the winning films in the juried festival. The Black Maria Film Festival is unique in being a touring festival, traveling to a number of different states.

The 2008 Black Maria Film Festival had its premiere Feb. 1st at New Jersey City University (the home base of the Festival), and continues showings in various venues until the end of June. I attended the fourth screening of the Festival at the Hoboken Historical Museum and it was an enjoyable and diverse menu of shorts, from a stark animation of a Vietnam War vet's memories to a folksy profile of a Brooklyn rooftop beekeeper.

The films screened at Black Maria differ from location to location, so if you're a fan of short films I'd recommend going to several screenings if you can, so you can see a variety of different films.

Visit the Web site of the Black Maria Film Festival to find out locations, dates, and times of the screenings.

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