Black Maria film festival to screen winning entries

Bates will screen winning entries from the 17th annual Black Maria Film and Video Festival May 2 and May 3 in the Olin Arts Center Concert Hall. The Saturday program begins at 8 p.m., and Sunday’s different program begins at 2 p.m. Admission is $5 for each screening, and tickets can be purchased at the door. The festival is sponsored by the Bates College Museum of Art with support from the Bates Filmboard.

Named after Thomas Edison’s experimental tar-paper shack studio, the Black Maria has been an international forum for cutting-edge independent film makers for 17 years. John Columbus, a filmmaker and lecturer at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, directs the festival and will introduce this year’s selections of films at Bates.

More than 850 artists from around the world competed for six Juror’s Choice Awards. The festival also recognizes other contributions with Juror’s Citation and Director’s Choice awards. Selections from each of these categories will be part of this year’s program, including a range of genres from documentaries to art films, many with biting social commentary, according to Anthony Shostak, the museum’s education coordinator, who has organized each Bates screening since the Black Maria first came to the college in 1995.

“The Black Maria celebrates fiercely independent vision,” Columbus said. “The festival exhibits work that is not typically available anywhere else and takes it on national tour. As in the past, I expect that some of our pieces will go on to be nominated for and receive Academy Awards.”

Among the approximately 17 films to be screened at Bates are:

  • Creosote by Erik Saks. Based on the true story of a Boy Scout who disappeared during a camping trip, this film seeks to connect violence in the family to the spiritual crisis of the end of the millennium.
  • Everyone Must Tighten Their Belts by Rohesia Metcalf. A satire in which a late-night TV host attempts to get an unusually wordy guest to explain the relationship between unemployment and inflation.
  • Still Revolutionaries by Sienna McLean. A glimpse into the memories of two women who were members of the controversial Black Panther Party.
  • Dream Quilt by John Serpentelli. A mystical animated work employing an evolving array of children’s drawings and a girl’s recollection of her dream experienced while asleep under her grandmother’s quilt.
  • What More Could You Ask For? by Joan Nidzyn. A powerful experimental film about the physical effects of a compound known to college students as “The Date Rape Drug.”
  • Zero by Joe Kelly. An experimental, animated exploration into the genocide of the Beothuk Nation of Newfoundland.
  • Dancing With Light by J.C. Earle. A beautiful study of light and shadow as they glide across interiors, forests and mountains, in foreshortened time.
  • Sea Slugs by Adam Lane. Marauding pirate gastropods second-guess their avocation and the vision of their leader.

For more information about the festival, call the Museum of Art at 207-786-6158.

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