SEPTEMBER 27, 2017 – FORT MYERS, FLA. – Florida SouthWestern State College (FSW) welcomes the Black Maria Film Festival back to the college for its 36th anniversary tour at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 14, 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, $5 for FSW staff and faculty, and free for FSW students with an ID. Tickets can be purchased in advance at the Edison/Ford Estates or at the door. Tickets purchased at the door must be paid for in cash.
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.
FSW has partnered with the Edison/Ford Estates to bring the Black Maria for eight years. In the past, the Estates hosted an outdoor screening on the river one night while the college hosted a screening of different films on campus the following night. However, due to damage caused by Hurricane Irma, this year’s screening at the Estates has been postponed until the spring. They will be showing a selection of films from the 2018 Black Maria collection.
“The films we will screen at the college this year were chosen by students in the National Society of Collegiate Scholars,” said Dr. Wendy Chase, 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 RCMA Immokalee Community School to aid low-income families who lost wages or property because of Hurricane Irma. Headquartered in Immokalee, RCMA provides quality child care to Florida’s rural poor. RCMA operates 66 child-care centers, three charter schools and some 25 family child-care homes. The child-care homes and six child-care centers are located in Immokalee, as is an elementary-level charter school. RCMA operates another child-care center in Bonita Springs.
This year’s films are:
“Mr. Sand” - Animation
8 min. by Soetkin Verstegen, Leuven, Belgium
A dreamy tale about early cinema, told as an ironic bedtime story. A mix of techniques brings to life the atmosphere of this dangerous new medium. In the back of the story moves Mr. Sand, a mysterious character that might be real or imagined.
“Ja Passou (Everything’s OK)” - Narrative
15 min. by Sebastião Salgado and Pedro Patrocinio, Lisbon, Portugal
The story of a father’s journey to save his son and how he is affected by indifference and social inequality.
“How Do You Raise a Black Child?” - Narrative
4 min. by Seyi Peter-Thomas, South Orange, N.J.
This short film adaptation of Cortney Lamar Charleston’s poem “How Do You Raise a Black Child?” paints an important portrait of everyday life for a young black man growing up in America. It is an impressionistic piece that explores the delicate balance parents must strike as they steer their children toward adulthood.
“Decision” – Animation
3 min. by Mary Jo Zefeldt, Chicago, Ill.
A short animated film that explores one woman’s experience with anxiety and how she handles a perceived false choice.
“We Regret to Inform You” – Documentary
11 min. by Eva Colmers and Heidi Janz, Quebec, Canada
Why does our society divide people into neatly-defined categories? Are “disabled” and “productive” mutually exclusive identities? Where do you place somebody with a strong mind and a weak body? Dr. Heidi Janz, a writer and an academic, is acutely aware of the limitations posed by her uncooperative body, but every day she navigates the world in her wheelchair and works very hard to make her impaired speech comprehensible to others. This film documents Heidi’s daily regime, and quietly questions our ideas around “either/or.”
“More Dangerous Than a Thousand Rioters” – Experimental
6 min. by Kelly Gallagher, Chester Springs, Pa.
An experimental animated documentary exploring the life of revolutionary Lucy Parsons, the wife of Haymarket anarchist Albert Parsons. She was an organizer first and foremost and led an inspiring life engaged in the struggle against capitalism. As a woman of color who was married to a famous white male anarchist, she is often unfairly and frustratingly overlooked in many labor histories. Parsons went on to become one of the most powerful voices in the labor movement, helping to found the legendary Industrial Workers of the World. She dedicated her entire life to fighting for the rights of the disenfranchised.
“All it Takes” – Documentary
17 min. by Geoff Pingree, Drew Dickler, and Jake Hochendoner, Oberlin, Ohio
With the ever-growing prescription and use of opiate pain medication, heroin addiction has spread across traditional barriers of class, race, gender, and age and become common in all segments of society. While the path to addiction is distressingly easy, the way out is unimaginably difficult. “All it Takes” explores the opiate epidemic in Lorain County, Ohio from the point of view of addicts and through the efforts of those who work to help them recover their lives and their dignity.
“Exquisite Corps” - Experimental
6 min. by Mitchell Rose, Worthington, Ohio
42 Contemporary American choreographers link together in a chain love letter in celebration of dance.
“Boomerang” – Animation
5 min. by Steven Vander Meer, Arcata, Calif.
Inspired by the song “Boomerang” by the Absynth Quintet, the workings of nature and the universe are mystically and whimsically illustrated in this fast paced, gorgeously hand-drawn film. Great music and a quirky sense of humor define the beauty of it all, and it's no coincidence when it happens this way.
“The Day Truffaut Died” – Animation
4 min. by John Akre, Minneapolis, Minn.
This animated short is about the loss of a mentor hero, even if he was one that I never met.” Musician Andy Stermer, wrote and performed a music track that perfectly evokes the films of Truffaut, and the quirky character of the filmmaker’s story.
“Chateau au Go Go” – Animation
4 min. by Steve Gentile, Boston, Mass.
A kinetic romp that investigates the images imprinted onto wine corks. This animated, macro-photographed film becomes a sort of frenetic history lesson that alludes to the human impulse to tame nature.
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.