News Article

Black Maria Film Festival Returns for 38th Anniversary

Oct 24, 2019

OCTOBER 24, 2019 – FORT MYERS, FLA. – Florida SouthWestern State College (FSW) in partnership with the Edison and Ford Winter Estates welcomes the Black Maria Film Festival for its 38th anniversary tour at 6 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 8, at the Edison and Ford Winter Estates, 2350 McGregor Boulevard, Fort Myers.

Tickets are $10 for the general public, $5 for Edison Ford Members and students with student ID, and free for FSW students with their Buc Card. Tickets can be purchased at the Edison and Ford Winter Estates ticket office on the evening of the event. Parking is free. Seating is limited; bringing a chair is recommended. No coolers are allowed.

Proceeds from ticket sales will benefit the Hurricane Dorian Relief Fund through Global Giving:

This year’s films are:

“My Gossip” – Documentary - 15 min. by Kelly Gallagher, Chester Springs, Pa.

Incorporating live-action, stop-motion and digital animation, this personal documentary colorfully explores the radical importance of women's close friendships. The filmmaker examines her relationship with her own best friend, and how women's friendships were historically weaponized against them.

“Voice” – Narrative - 10 min. by Takeshi Kushida, Tokyo, Japan

A lonely man becomes fascinated with a shadow that appears on the wall of his apartment.

“Black Dog” – Narrative - 6 min. by Wooseok Shin, Seoul, South Korea

“Black dog syndrome” is the name for the phenomenon in which dark-coated dogs are overlooked in shelters in favor of lighter-colored dogs. Don’t overlook that dark-coated beauty waiting in the shadows. You may be overlooking your new best friend.

”Henrietta Bulkowski” Animation - 15 min. by Rachel Johnson, Los Angeles, Calif.

A determined young woman, crippled with a severe hunchback, will stop at nothing to fulfill her dream of seeing the world. This is the story of how she finds happiness.

“Brainworm Billy” Animation - 3 min. by Emily Hubley, East Orange, N.J. 

A young man is haunted by a famous comedian.

“moT” – Narrative - 21 min. by Andrew Kastenmeier, Florianópolis, Brazil

An odd homeless boy with a mysterious past invades a stranger’s home, befriends him, and protects a goldfish with which he has a curiously powerful bond, in this quiet tale of love and mortality.

“The Velvet Underground Played at My High School” – Animation - 7 min. by Tony Jannelli, Summit, N.J., and Robert Pietri, Los Angeles, Calif.

On Dec. 11, 1965, an unknown four-piece rock 'n' roll band took to the stage for the first time at Summit High School, in Summit, N.J.  "Nothing could have prepared the kids and parents for what they were about to experience that night," wrote Rob Norris, a student at Summit at the time, in Kicks magazine. "Our only clue was the small crowd of strange-looking people hanging around in front of the stage.”

“Unsettled” – Experimental - 7 min. by Tara Knight, Denver, Colo.

Multiple layers of archival and historically based images appear and disappear as they reveal glimpses into the ecological and economic histories of the American landscape. This journey through American history includes the early lives of Indian peoples morphing into white settlements, industrial development, railroads and dense landscapes.

“Thanksgiving is Insane” – Animation - 5 min. by Josh Raskin, Toronto, Canada and Daniel Davis, Washington, DC

As generally understood, the American holiday of Thanksgiving commemorates a neighborly feast that was shared by pilgrims and Indians in 1621. However, Thanksgiving reveals the origins of a country forever fascinated, conflicted and shaped by its fraught relationship with American Indians.

“What Aristotle Said” – Documentary - 4 min. by David Gross, Brooklyn, N.Y.

A portrait of the painter, art director, illustrator and teacher, Bill Curran of Hoboken, N.J.

For 38 years, the Black Maria Film Festival has been celebrating creativity and innovation in the moving-image arts. The festival was founded in 1981 as a tribute to Thomas Edison’s development of the motion picture at his West Orange laboratory, dubbed the “Black Maria” film studio, the first in the world. The studio received its name from Edison’s employees who thought the studio’s boxy shape and black tar paper covering resembled the so-called “black maria” police paddy wagons.

An annual juried competition of short works in all genres, the Thomas Edison Black Maria Film Festival is a project of the Thomas Edison Media Arts Consortium, which also showcases the Global Insights Collection, an archive of films focusing on the environment, people with disabilities, international issues, and films with themes of social justice. The festival is in partnership with the Lewis Center for the Arts at Princeton University.

Support is provided by the Lewis Center for the Arts at Princeton, the New Jersey State Council on the Arts; The Edison Innovation Foundation – Charles Edison Fund; the Hudson County Office of Cultural and Heritage Affairs and Tourism; the Hoboken Historical Museum; WithumSmith+Brown; Lowenstein Sandler, LLP; Adobe Systems, Inc.; and Microsoft through

To learn more about the Black Maria Film Festival and Thomas Edison Media Arts Consortium, visit

For more information, contact Wendy Chase, humanities professor and FSW Honors Scholar program coordinator, at or 239-489-9470.


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 for more information.

Last Updated: October 24, 2019

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