Tuesday, February 10, 2009

2009 Black Maria Film Festival is Underway

The quirky, independent touring film festival, the Black Maria, kicked off its 28th edition the other day at its home base, Jersey City State University. I caught its show last night at a screening sponsored by the Hoboken Historical Museum, and as usual it offered an extremely diverse range of short films. There was a one-and-a-half-minute film of a filmmaker dressed as a monk in a crucifixion pose beside a highway; an amazing film noir story that combined live action and cut-out images; and a look at a matzo-ball-eating contest in New York, to name just a few.

I've written before about the history and origins of the Black Maria Film Festival, which pays homage to the Thomas Edison's film studio of the same name, which was the first movie studio in the world. The Festival tours the Northeast extensively and also ventures out to other areas of the country, altering the lineup of films to mesh with local interests and filmmakers. Check the Web site above for dates, times, and locations. The screening I attended was only $5, and some are even free (such as one I went to last year at a branch of the New York Public Library).

If the Black Maria is coming near you, skip whatever's playing at the local multiplex and check out this Festival's innovative short films instead.

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