FSW Hosts 35th Anniversary of Black Maria Film Festival

Oct 6, 2016

OCTOBER 5, 2016 – FORT MYERS, FLA. – Florida SouthWestern State College (FSW) welcomes the Black Maria Film Festival back to the college for its 35th anniversary tour at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 22, at the FSW Thomas Edison Campus, Rush Library Auditorium, Building J, Room 103. Tickets are $10 for the general public, $8 for members of the Edison/Ford Estates, and $5 for FSW students and faculty. Tickets can be purchased at the door; cash only.

Founded in New Jersey in 1981 to honor Thomas Edison’s pioneering spirit in cinema, this festival celebrates the creative vision of contemporary independent directors by showcasing an eclectic variety of bold short films. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences recognizes the Black Maria as an Academy Award qualifying festival.  Its annual collection of cutting-edge films travels across the nation to universities, museums and other venues. Festival organizers work directly with the host institution to select a variety of short narrative, experimental, animation and documentary films that are tailored to their particular audience.

“This year’s featured films were chosen by students in the National Society of Collegiate Scholars,” said Dr. Wendy Chase, Program Coordinator, FSW Honors Scholar Program. “They selected these particular films in hopes that they will provide a platform to engage in meaningful and civil conversations about pressing issues of social justice. The students will facilitate a discussion following the screening.” 

Proceeds from ticket sales will benefit the Santa Julia women’s coffee cooperative in Managua, Nicaragua. FSW’s connection to Santa Julia was established by Dr. Bruno Baltodano, who took students to their village as part of a study abroad experience embedded in his honors course last spring.

This year’s films are:

“Daybreak/ L’aube”– Animation

7 min. by George Ungar, Toronto, Canada

Opening our eyes each new day, we stare for a few minutes into space, seeing the first sights, hearing the first sounds.  It is neither night nor day but something in-between.  Fragments of dreams refuse to expire, the grip of the day is not yet upon us, memory and desire hovers around the edges.   

“Video” – Narrative

15 min. by Randy Yang, New York, NY

Two teenage African-American girls capture a woman’s racist remarks on video. The woman, concerned for her reputation, bargains with the two girls to delete the incriminating footage.

“Words They Said to Her” – Experimental

3 min. by Ella Zhu, Chicago, IL

Words are not just words. They can be used to accuse, to deceive, or to drive a victimized woman to insanity and beyond. This short film examines the effects of blaming the victim, the culture of rape, and its devastating effect on women.

“Dysmorphia” – Animation

5 min. by Katherine Grubb, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

“Dysmorphia” is a film depicting the experience of body dysmorphic disorder and scoliosis. It follows the main character's memories of growth and treatment, while depicting her every day experiences - a bulimic episode, projecting one's flawed image, and the act of looking intensely at one's body.

“Lockdown” - Documentary

6 min. by Lauren Knapp, Stanford, CA

Over the past decade, American schools have become concerned with protecting their students from the threat of an armed gunman. In the aftermath of the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut, most elementary schools are now conducting safety drills that will prepare teachers and students for such a threat. “Lockdown” explores this chilling new reality through the voices of students, a teacher, and a parent. It provokes us to contemplate the emotional weight of this new normal.

“Films by Syrian Girls” – Documentary

22 min. by Laura Doggett, Durham, NC

During a two-month workshop, Syrian girls living as refugees in Jordan's Za'atari refugee camp and Irbid created expressionistic video diaries that provide openings into their everyday lives.

“The Gift” – Narrative

10 min. by Tarique Qayumi, Woodland Hills, CA

On her birthday Sadaf, an Afghan teenager, is given the gift of a burqa by her mother. This means that her life as a child is over. Her family has arranged a marriage for her. As she settles into her new life, books and toys are cast aside for domestic duties. Years later, when Sadaf is a grown woman with a teenage daughter of her own she is faced with the decision of what gift to give to her daughter. Will she follow tradition and give her the gift of the burqa or will she send her daughter on a different path?

“The Making of a Mensch” – Documentary

11 min. by Tiffany Shlain, Mill Valley, CA

“The Making of a Mensch” explores ancient Jewish ideas about being a “mensch” - aka being a good person, thinking of the bigger picture, and living a meaningful, purposeful life - through a vibrant 21st century lens.

“The Bench” – Narrative

6 min. by Cameron Burnett, Malibu, CA

An old blind man’s world is transformed when he is given a chance to see for the first time through the eyes of a man he meets on a park bench.

For more information, contact Dr. Chase at Wendy.Chase@fsw.edu or (239) 489-9470, or visit www.blackmariafilmfestival.org.

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Florida SouthWestern State College is Southwest Florida’s largest and one of the most affordable institutions of higher education. Annually serving nearly 22,000 students globally, FSW offers a variety of nationally-ranked, career-focused academic programs with two- and four-year degrees, and professional certifications. Students are also active in clubs and programs catered to their interests. FSW debuted its intercollegiate athletics program in January 2016. Visit www.FSW.edu for more information.