Virginia Film Society Presents the Black Maria Film and Video Festival

March 23, 2006

March 23, 2006 — The Black Maria Film and Video Festival returns to Charlottesville for its 12th annual visit to the Virginia Film Society on Wednesday, April 5 at 7 p.m. at Vinegar Hill Theatre with Festival director John Columbus. Eleven films will be featured during the festival, including three films from Virginia filmmakers. These filmmakers, Phil Hastings from Charlottesville, currently teaching in the U.Va. Art Department, Sonali Gulati from Richmond, and Stephanie Juanita Via from Roanoke, have all been invited to attend.

Columbus has consulted with Virginia Film Festival director Richard Herskowitz in choosing titles that will appeal to the adventurous Charlottesville audience. The selections range from brilliant and biting social and political satire to whimsical, creative documentaries and experimental pieces.

"We have some great experimental animation and collage films this year, but the documentaries are particularly strong and varied. Among the subjects of these films are the visions of an Iraq war veteran, the black man murdered at the Rolling Stones concert at Altamont, the outsourcing of telemarketing jobs to India and the Jewish origins of Barbie," said Herskowitz.

The Black Maria Festival is 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 Columbus as he exhibits the standout films at over 70 sites around the country. Each individual program is custom 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. Itis one of only a handful of festivals that qualify short films (40 minutes and under) for Academy Award nomination. 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 video makers.

All Virginia Film Society events are co-sponsored by the Virginia Film Festival and the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, with the support of the Omni Hotel Charlottesville. For more information, visit

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25th Annual Black Maria Film & Video Festival
Charlottesville Program Descriptions

Cruel Frederick - 5 min. video by Helen Quinn, Brooklyn, N.Y.
Cruel Frederick is an offbeat, hilarious and dark animated tale about an evil little boy named Fred. A deadpan, falsetto singing voice with perfect dramatic delivery exposes the wacky and bizarre story of the malevolent antagonist.

I Am (Not) van Gogh - 5 min. 35mm film or video by David Russo, Seattle, Wash.
A tour de force of cinematic acrobatics I Am (Not) van Gogh teases and delights the eye. The filmmaker exercises his prowess with the medium through stunning pixilated photography.

Lot 63, Grave C - 10 min. video by Sam Green, San Francisco, Calif. - Flaherty Seminar Filmmaker
This haunting video deals with the tragic events found in the classic 1970 film Gimme Shelter by the Maysles brothers. Sam Green gradually reveals the story of a young black man who was murdered by Hell’s Angels because he was with a white girl at the infamous Rolling Stones Altamont concert.

Nalini by Day, Nancy by Night - 26 min. video by Sonali Gulati, Richmond, Va.
This timely and telling documentary incorporates animation, live action and archival footage as it looks at globalization, identity and the outsourcing of American jobs to India. The filmmaker, herself a native of India, visits call centers in her homeland, where telemarketing companies train people to speak with American accents so that they can pose as someone they are not.

Night Visions - 7 min. video by Kathy Huang, Mount View, Calif.
Night Visions is a reflection on life and loss as seen through the eyes of a young soldier returning from service in Iraq. Through his intimate interviews and personal photos of the battlefield, we come to realize that the greatest casualties of military conflict are not always visible to the naked eye.

One Night Sit: Gay, Disabled and Looking for Love - 11 min. video by Carmelo Gonzalez and Diana Naftal, c/o Downtown Community Video, New York, N.Y.
Four gay men who have physical disabilities unrelated to AIDS discuss the difficulties facing them within the gay male community. In this reflective and often optimistic documentary, these men without self-pity discuss dating men with and without disabilities as well as the impact the so-called “cult of the body” has had on them.

Reveries from Cistae Memoria - 11 min. video Phil Hastings, Charlottesville, Va.
A mysterious multilayered work filled with re-photography, step printing, complex sound montages and ephemeral imagery, Hastings creates a world where we see the gears and pulleys of our childhood memories.

T.S.H. - 6 min. 16mm film by Jesse Lerner, Los Angeles, Calif. - Flaherty Seminar Filmmaker
T.S.H., a short experimental film using found footage which includes shots of a boxing match, is based on the 1924 poem by Kyn Taniya (a.k.a. Louis Quintanilla) who was a member of the vanguard group known as the “Estridentistia.” Lerner’s seemingly anarchical tactics celebrates a poorly tuned radio and the search for transcendence in the ether.

A Time to Die - 8 min. video by Joe Gibbons, Malden, Mass.
Among first person video diarists, iconoclast Joe Gibbons has no equal. In this new work, he examines the pecking order within the natural world of flowers mapping on his own psychological issues and fears.

Tribe - 18 min. video by Tiffany Shlain, San Francisco, Calif.
The Tribe takes the audience on an electric ride through the complex history of both the Barbie doll and the Jewish woman who created the pre-teen icon of the ideal female (exaggerated) body. Using archival footage, graphics, animation, Barbie dioramas, and slam poetry, The Tribe sheds light on what it means to be an American Jew in the 21st Century.

True Story - 3 min. video by Stephanie Juanita Via, Roanoke, Va.
True Story is an offbeat picture of a woman who reminisces about her distant past as she wanders through her now abandoned homestead in the old South. As she contemplates the past she tells the story of her Manx cats, one of who lacked the short tail for which the breed is known.