Black Maria Film + Video Festival

32 Annual February 01, 2013 to September 27, 2013

The Black Maria Film Festival annually conducts an international juried competition followed by a multi month tour of the award works to cultural and centers, museums and colleges across the nation and abroad thus fulfilling its mission to advocate, exhibit and reward diverse short works up to an hour long made by independent film and videomakers. The festival is widely appreciated for its abiding commitment to independent short works.

Following the jurying process conducted by well qualified and knowledgeable panelist, the festival launches its national tour each February. 60 or more host institutions welcome the Black Maria Festival, where each individual program is custom tailored, ensuring an accessible and meaningful experience for varied audiences in at least 20 or more states coast to coast.

The Festival was initiated over 32 years ago at the world’s first motion picture studio built by Thomas Edison at his West Orange, NJ labs a short distance from Manhattan. The 1893 studio was nicknamed Black Maria because it was reminiscent of police paddy wagons of the times. It had a hinged roof and rotated on a circular wooden track, allowing the building to track the sun and illuminate the stage within.The Black Maria is an important landmark from the dawn of moving pictures. Acrobats, strong men, vaudeville performers, actors and dancers (such as sharpshooter Anne Oakley, Buffalo Bill, and dancer Annabelle Whitford whose artful and edgy Serpentine and Butterfly dances challenged late Victorian mores were invited to the Black Maria to be filmed. Only shorts were made in the studio.


Since 1981 the Black Maria Film + Video Festival – named after the world’s first motion picture studio built by Thomas Edison – The Festival Mission has been to celebrate and recognize diverse independent shorts up to 1 hr. or shorter and made within 3.5 years of the submission date. We conduct a juried annual competition with awards to 40 to 60 works chosen for the tour to 60 or more host venues per season. It is the tradition of lively inquiry, innovation, open artistic exploration, independent vision, and illumination of the human condition in all of it’s manifestations that motivates the festival’s work on behalf of contemporary film and video.

Moviemaker’s Spring 2010 issue lists the Black Maria Film + Video Festival as one of “25 Film Festival Worth the Entry Fee in 2010.”

In varied years, the Black Maria has been recognized by The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and has been covered on National Public Radio, awarded recognition by The New Jersey State Council on the Arts for excellence three years in a row. Following it’s annual premiere at New Jersey City University just across the Hudson from NYC, the Festival travels to such notable venues as The National Gallery of Arts in Washington, DC, The American University of Rome, DesMoines Art Center, Princeton University, The Edison Ford Winter Estates – Ft. Myers FL, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, New York Public Library Branches, Berks Filmmakers and Pittsburgh Filmmakers, Colgate University, Savannah College of Art and Design, University of Colorado-Bolder, University of Oregon, Bentley and Emerson College,
Rhode Island School of Design, University of the Arts-Philadelphia, Lascaux Micro Theater in Buckhannon, WV, Alabama Filmmakers’ Coop, Monmouth University,and others.

John Columbus (Festival Director) ; John Columbus (Festival Director) ; John Columbus (Festival Director) ; John Columbus (Festival Director) ; John Columbus (Festival Director) ; Kerrie Young (Operations Associate/Festival Tour Coordinator) ; Marilyn Consulmagno (Business Manager)

The Festival welcomes submission of diverse short works no longer than 1 hour, total running time, into its annual juried competition. Submissions are sought and accepted starting at the end of August annually and running to deadline at the end of November each year. Early submission is highly recommended. Following jurying, winning works are included in the Festival’s multi state tour. Works may be considered according to categories but leaves it up to the entrant should she or he wish not to submit according to any particular category. For those who’d like to use categories the Festival suggests the following range:

•hybrid form
•no category

We simply seek fresh, lively and/or exploratory works in any genre which demonstrate such qualities as: creative vitality, human insight or sensitivity, edginess, free spiritedness, lyricism, whimsy, boldness, etc.

Works by and about people with disabilities are also welcomed.

The Festival will offer four ranges of recognition:

• Stellar Awards – 4 or 5 of these highest awards will be made around the following genres: documentary, fiction, animation, hybrid/open form, and experimental- alternative.
•Jury’s Choice – Equivalent to 1st Prize, without specifying category, typically 15 or so works are selected for the annual tour program.

•Jury’s Citation – Equivalent to 2nd Prize, without specifying category, typically 15 or so works are selected for the annual tour program.

Director’s Choice – Equivalent to 3rd Prize, without specifying category typically 20 or more works are selected for the annual tour program .

Director’s Citation – Equivalent to Honorable Mention, without specifying category typically 15 or so works are selected and will be listed on the website this coming season.

Entry Formats:
The submission format is DVD, regardless of the original production format. Although DVD is most often used for exhibition purposes, other exhibition formats may be preferred by certain select venues if work is released in: 35mm, 16mm, or mini-DV (NTSC) and other digital formats.

Awards & Prizes:
Awardees will be announced as soon as possible following the jurying at the end of December. Tour Honoraria will be determined shortly after the end of the Festival Fiscal Year and Tour


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.