38th Annual Thomas Edison Black Maria Film Festival

October 23 only

Bay area premiere – featuring a stellar group of independent filmmakers from California.

Featuring a Q&A with filmmaker Jan Millsapps.

Madame Mars: Women and the Quest for Worlds Beyond Documentary 32 min. by Jan Millsapps, San Francisco, CA Madame Mars reframes the story of space exploration as a feminist issue, connecting the original space age that denied opportunities to women, to current Mars initiatives that still lack a full commitment to diversity, and argues for a more inclusive spacefaring future. Madame Mars is populated by accomplished, intelligent and curious women who share the dream of finding one’s own place in space, as we take our next big step out into the universe.

Random Thoughts – Animation 7 min. by Steven Vander Meer, Arcata, CA Having recently completed a film made of circles and personal health problems, our hero ships his masterpiece off in a box to a film festival. As he makes his way to the festival on foot, his thoughts reveal how inspiration can come to a creative spirit from anywhere, about anything, at any given time. After the festival, on his walk back home, the filmmaker feels super inspired and can hardly wait to start his next project – until, that is, he gets to his mailbox…

Black HatNarrative 14 min. by Sarah Smith and Phillip Guttman, Los Angeles, CA At first blush, Shmuel is a pious Hasidic man leading a fairly simple life. By day, he prays dutifully at the local synagogue and manages a busy dry cleaner. When his wife and daughters leave town for a few days, Shmuel steps out of his simple life by day and into a more complex world by night. When he misplaces his black hat along the way, Shmuel’s two lives interconnect in a way he never expects.

Mom’s Clothes – Animation 6 min. by Jordan Wong, San Francisco, CA A meditation on being in and out of the closet. A once docile child grows out of his mother’s patterned clothes. Now he can navigate between different forms of intimacy and gender – queer and colorful.

I’d Never Bother Another Chicken AgainExperimental 4 min. by Helen Cho Anthos, Reseda, CA A man relives an intense childhood memory, illuminating his greatest regret.

Gloria’s CallDocumentary 17 min. by Cheri Gaulke, Studio City, CA In 1971, graduate student Gloria Orenstein received a call from Surrealist artist Leonora Carrington that sparked a lifelong journey into art, ecofeminism and shamanism. Gloria’s Call, uses art, animation and storytelling to celebrate this wild adventure from the cafes of Paris to the mountaintops of Sami Land. Now, more than 40 years later, Dr. Gloria Feman Orenstein is a feminist art critic, author, pioneer in the field of the women of Surrealism and scholar of ecofeminism in the arts. Her delightful tale brings alive a history of women in the arts.

Pwdre Ser – The Rot of StarsExperimental 7 min. by Charlotte Pryce, Los Angeles, CA It was once believed that the appearance of a comet told of some horrible thing in the offing. Blamed on the stars is the Welsh idea of “pwdre ser” (pronounced poo-druh sair) which literally translates to “rot or excrement of the stars.” Legend tells of stars falling to the ground and exuding a jelly that caused illness. Belief in this strange substance was so common that poems were written about it.

Henrietta Bulkowski – Animation 15 min. by Rachel Johnson, Los Angeles, CA. 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.

The Consortium is grateful for the generous funding and support from: New Jersey State Council on the Arts; Lewis Center for the Arts at Princeton University; The Charles Edison Fund; The Hudson County Office of Cultural and Heritage Affairs and Tourism; Hoboken Historical Museum; WithumSmith+Brown; Lowenstein Sandler, LLC; Monster Remotes; Massachusetts College of Art and Design; Fairleigh Dickinson University School of the Arts – Filmmaking; Corporations and private donors 

Please visit their website at blackmariafilmfestival.org


38th Annual Thomas Edison Black Maria Film Festival: Upcoming Showtimes