by Leah Habib
Black Maria Film Festival will be coming to Upstate Films on July 29. The festival consists of nine short films: documentaries, animations, and narratives. Film and video artist Jane Steuerwald specifically curated the program for the Rhinebeck venue.
Now in its 35th year, Black Maria Film Festival productions honor the vision of Thomas Edison, New Jersey inventor and creator of the motion picture. Named for Edison’s New Jersey studio which he nicknamed the “black maria,” the films showcased depict issues and struggles in contemporary society.
The Bravest, the Boldest, a narrative piece, centers on Sayeeda Porter receiving news regarding her son who is serving in the war in the middle east. Her reaction is portrayed in 17 minutes. Documentary Notes from My Homeland celebrates the power of art to catalyze social movements. Malek Jandali, a Syrian-American composer, transitions from classical musician to powerful activist to respond to the Assad regime in this nine-minute film.
Some movies are slightly on the lighter side: Signwriter is a five-minute documentary about a British man who has had his dream job painting signs and narrowboats for the past sixty years.
Black Maria Film Festival will begin on July 29 at 8:30 pm at Upstate Films in Rhinebeck. For more information about the Black Maria Film Festival visit their website blackmariafilmfestival.org.