Virginia Film Society Presents the Black Maria Film and Video Festival

February 26, 2009

February 26, 2009 — The Black Maria Film and Video Festival returns for its 15th annual visit to the Virginia Film Society on April 9 at 7 p.m. at Vinegar Hill Theatre. Nine films will be featured during the film society event.

The Black Maria Film and Video Festival features a variety of short experimental, documentary, narrative and animation works, in an international juried competition and award tour, with a mission to exhibit and reward cutting-edge works from independent film- and videomakers.

Following a rigorous jury process, the festival winners go on the road with festival director John Columbus as he exhibits the standout films around the country. Each individual program is tailored to the location of its screening.

The festival takes its name from the world's first film studio, built by Thomas Edison in West Orange, N.J. It is one of only a handful of festivals that qualify short films (40 minutes and less) for Academy Award nominations. Since 1981, the festival has toured coast to coast to fulfill its mission to advocate, exhibit and reward the poetic, expressive and insightful vision of independent film- and videomakers.

Virginia Film Society events are co-sponsored by the Virginia Film Festival and the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities.

Admission is free to Virginia Film Society members. Tickets for remaining seats will be available at the box office for $9 each 30 minutes before the screening.

For information about screenings or Film Society membership, call 434-982-5560 or visit

27th Annual Black Maria Film and Video Festival
Charlottesville Program Descriptions

"Ice Bears of the Beaufort"
Arthur C. Smith and Jennifer Vadenberg, Kaktovik, Alaska
This picturesque work picks up where "The March of the Penguins" left off. Magnificent scenery and radiant cinematography capture the lives of the endangered Polar Bears. Sows and cubs romp, nuzzle, nurse and hunt in their natural habitat.

Alla Kovgan and David Hinton, Somerville, Mass.
A narrative/dance film shot in Mozambique. "Nora" is based on childhood memories of dancer Nora Chipaumire, who was born in Zimbabwe in 1965 and now resides in Manhattan. With close-ups of drumming and panoramas of majestic African scenery, Nora's presence amid local tribal members brings to life a rich and expressive heritage, an amalgam of modern interpretive dance and indigenous performances. The original score was composed by Zimbabwean legend Thomas Mapfumo.

"Yours Truly"
Osbert Parker, London, England
Film icons burst through lost layers of yesterday's emulsion in this assemblage of noir cinema clips and recreations, told as a mixed media mystery/romance with unexpected plot twists as lovers find more than they bargain for when their worlds of animation and live-action cutouts collide in a frenzied tribute to celluloid history.  

"7 Days of the Week"
Sean McBride and David Cowles, Brooklyn and Rochester, N.Y.
This wacky, spirited animation/music video employs inventive strategies to accompany music by "They Might Be Giants," the Grammy Award-winning alternative rock band, also known for their children's music.

"Bob's Knee"
Michael Attie, Menlo Park, Calif.
Frustrated by the fallibility of his joints, a home garage inventor employs unconventional methods to understand the mechanics of the human knee. "Bob's Knee" is a delightfully offbeat and appealing ditty that will appeal to all ages.  

"The Death of Grandma Gladys"
Kate Lain, Bozeman, Mont.
The filmmaker found old photos of her grandmother after her death. In those pictures her grandmother most often wore men's clothing and was usually seen with female pals in playful poses. The filmmaker talks about the intriguing images and the possible cultural and personal subtexts they evoke.

"Hold the Soup (Matzo Ball Eating World Championship)"
Faye Lederman, Fort Lee, N.J.
It's not the soup but the quality and size of the matzo balls that matters to the home cooks who supply this traditional Jewish staple as contestants vying to be crowned as the world champion of an unexpected culinary event.

Arwen Lee Curry, San Francisco
The evolution from collector to pack rat to hoarder can creep up on a person. This eye-opening work visits the domiciles of three hoarders who share their stories and show their stuff. Each person has a strategy to manage the ramifications of his or her obsession, but sometimes the behavior becomes so all-consuming that it's not possible to function normally.

"Utopia Variations"
Gregg Biermann, Hackensack, N.J.
Polymorphic algorithms transform sample moments from Judy Garland's performance of "Over the Rainbow" into a time-shifted, multi-screen encounter with a cinema classic.

— By Jane Ford