February 10, 2021

Edison Film Festival Offers Screenings, Talks

ANIMATED SHORT: A still from “Ephemeral Orange” by Lisa Barcy, one of the works to be shown at the 40th Annual Thomas Edison Film Festival virtual premiere on February 20 at 7:30 p.m.

The Thomas Edison Film Festival, formerly known as the Black Maria Film Festival, kicks off its 2021 season February 20 at 7:30 p.m. with a free online screening and filmmaker conversation. The festival will premiere with a virtual screening of five award-winning films by Lisa Barcy, Otto Bell, Charley and Eriel Santagado, Lynne Sachs, and Sophie Shui.

The films represent experimental, animation, documentary, and narrative genres. The screening will be preceded by a discussion with filmmakers led by director Jane Steuerwald, and the presentation of the Edison Innovation Award to Sachs.

The festival is an international juried competition celebrating all genres and independent filmmakers across the globe. It was founded in 1981 and originally named for Thomas Edison’s West Orange film studio, whose resemblance to the familiar black-box shaped police paddy wagons sparked the nickname “black maria.” The festival’s relationship to Edison’s invention of the motion camera and the kinetoscope, and his experimentation with the short film, is at the core of the annual event.

The festival received more than 500 submissions for the 2021 season from every continent except Antarctica. Jurors Margaret Parsons, head curator of film at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, and Henry Baker, filmmaker and former director of Synapse Video Center, chose 100 films and awarded the top prizes. Following the Princeton premiere, the films are made available for screenings in the United States and abroad.

The premiered films will remain to view on-demand through February 21. Advance registration is required. Visit Princeton.edu for the Zoom link.