Friday, October 26, 2018

Black Maria Film Festival at The Bickford

2018 Winners to Be Screened on November 14
The Morris Museum to once again present the Black Maria Film Festival on Wednesday, November 14, at 7:30 PM with the screening of winners in this year’s juried competition at the Bickford Theatre.
The Black Maria Film Festival is a project of the Thomas A. Edison Media Arts Consortium. It was Edison's New Jersey studio, the world’s first, which he called the “Black Maria” from which the Black Maria Film Festival takes its name. Now celebrating its 37th consecutive year, Black Maria focuses on short films –  animation, documentary, experimental and narrative - including those, which address issues and struggles within contemporary society such as the environment, race and class, family, and issues of global concern.
The Film Festival’s Executive Director Jane Steuerwald will emcee the program and introduce a selection of some of this year’s most thought-provoking films. The program includes animation, documentary, and the festival’s Stellar Award for Narrative, “The Peculiar Abilities of Mr. Mahler.”
The evening begins with, The Peculiar Abilities of Mr. Mahler by Paul Philipp and Moritz Helmes, Berlin, Germany.  We travel to East Germany, 1987:  Special investigator Mahler is said to have paranormal abilities. The police assign him to solve the case of 6-year-old Henry Kiefer, who has been missing for weeks, before the issue leads to political tensions with the West.  
In a film by Dawn Dreyer of Durham, NC, Fear, is told through stop-frame animation techniques.  Dr. Zenglo Chen has lived half his life in China and half in America. He speaks with grace and humor about his journey, sharing his wisdom, small victories and ordinary joys.
Also featured is a remarkable documentary by Melissa Lesh and Tim Laman, Person of the Forest.  In the vanishing lowland forests of Borneo, a team of researchers and photographers uncover unique cultural behaviors in wild orangutans, shedding new light on the similarities between these amazing creatures and ourselves.
The other Black Maria films slated for screening on November 14 include Little Fiel a powerful documentary by Irina Patkanian, NY, NY; Red Lopez a beautifully shot narrative film, by Stephen Frandsen and Hadleigh Arnst, Brooklyn, NY; and Contigo (With You) a documentary featuring the Latin-American tradition of “conjunto,” played by small accordion-centric musical groups, by Daniel Boord and Luis Valdovino, Boulder, CO.
Other film series offered at the Bickford Theatre this season include Inside Cinema (classic film)  on select Wednesday mornings at 10:00AM, Real to Reel – (documentary film) on select Thursday evenings at 7:30PM, and 3 films on Wednesday evenings at 7:30PM from Exhibition On Screen about Degas, Picasso, and Rembrandt.  For further details visit
Tickets for the Black Maria Film Festival are $15 for the General Public; $12 for Museum Members; and $10 for Students (with valid ID). Tickets may be purchased online at, by phone at 973.971.3706 or in person at the Bickford Theatre Box Office. The Morris Museum’s Bickford Theatre is located at 6 Normandy Heights Road in Morristown, NJ, and offers free parking and full accessibility. Box office hours for phone sales are Monday through Friday, 10:00 am to 5:00 pm. Walk-up hours are Tuesday through Friday, 11:00 am to 5:00 pm.
About the Morris Museum
Founded in 1913, the Morris Museum is an award-winning, community-based arts and cultural institution serving the public through its exhibitions in the arts, sciences and humanities.  The Museum is home to the historic and internationally-significant Murtogh D. Guinness Collection of Mechanical Musical Instruments and Automata.  Changing exhibits of contemporary content also explore the Guinness themes of art, sound, and motion.  The adjacent Bickford Theatre is the museum's 312-seat performing-arts facility, offering unique programming, often related to the museum's exhibition themes.  Continuously serving the public since 1913, the Morris Museum has a proud tradition of innovative educational programs and family events.  The first museum in New Jersey to be accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, it has been designated a Major Arts Institution and has received the New Jersey State Council on the Arts’ Citation of Excellence, among other awards.
The Morris Museum is a Blue Star Museum, offering free admission to active duty military personnel and their families, from Memorial Day to Labor Day.
Location and Hours
The Museum is located at 6 Normandy Heights Road (at the corner of Columbia Turnpike) in Morristown, NJ, and is open Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday, 11:00am to 5:00pm and Sunday, 12:00 to 5:00pm. In addition, the Museum is open evenings from 5:00 to 8:00pm on the second and third Thursday of the month. Admission to the Museum is $10 for adults and $7 for children, students and senior citizens. Admission is always free for Museum members.  For more information, call (973) 971-3700, or visit

Graphic: The Black Maria Film Festival Graphic provided courtesy of the Thomas A. Edison Media Arts Consortium.

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