34th Annual Black Maria FIlm Festival Tour
April 15 only
Directors: Christopher Upham and Catherine Axley are in Person
and Dolissa Medinafor joins via Skype for Q&A
The films that become the centerpiece of the Black Maria Film Festival honor the vision of Thomas Edison, New Jersey inventor and creator of the motion picture. It was his New Jersey studio, the world’s first, which he called the “black maria” from which we take our name. The Festival reaches out to diverse audiences in diverse settings including universities, museums, libraries, community organizations, and arts venues. The cutting edge, cross-genre work that makes up the Festival’s touring program, has been traveling across the country every year for decades.
7 min. by Catherine Axley, Menlo Park, CA.
Gladys Hansen is an 88-year-old former city librarian who has worked tirelessly for 50 years finding the names of those who died in the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake and Fire. After discovering that San Francisco did not have an official death list, Gladys began combing newspapers, tax records, registries, and reaching out to genealogy societies to create her own. She soon found out that the city had grossly underestimated the number of dead, and in fact, had intentionally downplayed the fatalities and damage from the Earthquake to avoid discouraging future investments in city business. As the Dead List grew and grew, Gladys became the pivot point for hundreds of families who wanted to find out more information on missing relatives.
30 min. by Dolissa Medina, Hessen, Germany.
“The Crow Furnace” is a narrative poem-essay about San Francisco, urban displacement, and the spectacle of loss. Two protagonists from different times, the Fireman and the Singer, become stranded in a purgatory state after death. They embark on a quest to find their last known locations in the now-unfamiliar city. In the process, they journey through time and place, encountering an itinerary of sights and objects pertaining to the city’s history of catastrophic fires – from the real, to the cinematic, to the supernatural.
Return to Dak To – Jury’s Citation Award – Documentary
49 min. by Christopher Upham, San Francisco, CA.
Director and combat medic Christopher Upham journeys to vibrant contemporary Vietnam with four veteran comrades. They reveal how their Army unit, the 299th Engineers were left at Dak To firebase in 1969, as bait for a North Vietnamese Army force. The veterans confront their feelings of abandonment by leaders and society alike as they reveal their sacrifices, shortcomings and pride of service, amidst shifting bouts of PTSD. Returning to Dak To provides an unexpected closure for these men as they give voice to personal traumas that connect to the universal sufferings of war.
34th Annual Black Maria FIlm Festival Tour: Upcoming Showtimes