The Black Maria Film and Video Festival returns to the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art

The Black Maria Film and Video Festival returns to the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art
Includes a Skype conversation with festival director John Columbus

EUGENE, Ore. -- (Feb. 29, 2011) – The Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art’s monthly Schnitzer Cinema brings back The Black Maria Film and Video Festival for the third year on March 14, 2012, at 7:00 p.m. Cosponsored with the Cinema Pacific film festival, Schnitzer Cinema is the JSMA's monthly showcase for adventurous cinema and media art. Schnitzer Cinema screenings are free and include free popcorn and soda.

Twelve short films are featured in this year’s selection including “Choreography for Plastic Army Men,” a five minute animated music video created to music by Pink Martini and directed by David Fain; Patricia McInroy’s “I Do,” is a one minute short that looks at the fast pace of life in the 21st Century; and “4000 Gallons: Daniel Johnston’s Large Jar Project,” a documentary film by Jay Yager that records an artist making 100 hand-thrown pots.

“This year’s program is a typically edgy and eclectic mix of films of experimental, documentary, and animated works, with subjects ranging from Allen Ginsberg’s poetry to the history of the kudzu vine to climate change in Alaska,” says Richard Herskowitz, artistic director of Cinema Pacific and Schnitzer Cinema curator.

The Black Maria Film and Video Festival is an international juried competition with a mission to exhibit and reward cutting-edge works from independent film and video makers. The festival takes its name from the first motion picture studio, built by Thomas Edison in 1893, and is now in its thirtieth year. Approximately fifty jury and director’s prize-winning short films and videos go to more than 65 sites around the country, with each individual program tailored to the location of its screening.

Program (listed in alphabetical order)

4000 Gallons: Daniel Johnston’s 100 Large Jar Project–30 min. by Jay Yager, Sanford, NC. Jury’s Citation.
In this piece, which is fraught with irony about “large-scale” production and “selling out,” artist Daniel Johnston challenges himself and the system of mass production when he attempts the “100 Large Jar Project.” This documentary records Johnson’s process of making 100 hand-thrown pots, each one beautiful and unique.

Choreography for Plastic Army Men–5 min. by David Fain, Pasadena, CA. Director’s Choice
A witty, playfully animated music video, featuring toy soldiers, perhaps with a double meaning, created to the instrumental track of “Ohayoo Ohio” by the band Pink Martini.
Dziad I Baba–9 min. by Basia Goszczynska, Lexington, MA. Jury’s Citation.
Two soul mates struggle with opposing fears of death and loneliness in this short, dark comedy, which is based upon an old Polish fable. This gorgeous stop-motion film features characters and a world created entirely from natural objects such as seedpods, animal skulls, and crustacean claws.

Everything Is Going To Be Fine–14.5 min. by Ryan Malloy, San Francisco, CA. Director’s Choice
This charmingly idiosyncratic consideration of society’s current maladies offers a refreshing tongue-in-cheek perspective on what one person might do or not do in the face of catastrophe. Filmmaker Malloy’s personal anecdotal style leaves one bemused and reassured despite the tribulations of contemporary life.

Hill Dancers–13 min. by Doug Cooper and Ryan Woodring, Pittsburgh, PA. Director’s Choice
Set in 1960 in hilly Pittsburgh, this original work is a hybrid form that mixes live action recorded against a green screen with hand drawn industrial drawing by artist Doug Cooper. Hill Dancers unfurls Grace’s story; she’s a devout daughter who loves to dance ballet on her porch to the sacred music of her church, but becomes infatuated with a young man who drives a convertible and loves Doo-wop.

Kudzu Vine–20 min. by Josh Gibson, Durham, NC. Jury’s Stellar Documentary Selection.
Photographed in black and white, and radiating with the luminosity of early cinema, this ode to the climbing, trailing, and coiling species Pueraria lobata evokes the agricultural history and mythic textures of the South, while wryly paying tribute to the human capacity for improvisation.

Live Outside the Box–4.25 min. by Shu-Hsuan Lin, Fremont, CA. Director’s Choice
The leading character in this jazzy animation is a workaholic with too little social contact. His world is suddenly contracting as he finds that his “Main Street America” is succumbing to a “big box” mentality and nothing remains but corporate drudgery.

Once There Were Polar Bears–6 min. by Arthur C. Smith III, Kaktovik, AL. Director’s Choice
Filmmaker Arthur C. Smith III and his wife, Jennifer, live in the Inupiat Eskimo village of Kaktovik on Alaska's remote Barter Island in the Arctic Ocean. As climate change reshapes the Arctic, this gripping work tells the history of Alaskan polar bears living on land, and explores how this past could save their future.

Places Other People Have Lived–6.75 min. by Laura Emel Yilmaz, Los Angeles, CA. Jury’s Stellar Animation Selection.
Places Other People Have Lived is a mixed media animation exploring the relationship between memory and place. Incorporating old photos, recorded interviews with family, and multiple animation techniques, the film deconstructs, room-by-room, a house that was a family home for more than twenty-five years.

To Do–1 min. by Patricia McInroy, Denver, CO. Director’s Choice
This succinct, whimsical work captures a near universal truth about the pace of life in the twenty-first century. The filmmaker presents a frantic rush of “to do” memos to herself, in close-up, all with a pithy beat.

Year, Make & Model–8 min. by Marta Renzi, Nyack, NY. Director’s Choice
This inventive dance film incorporates a working auto repair shop as its location. Work will go on in the shop as mechanics and dancers join forces and find groovy ways to party in the workplace.

Yelp, With Apologies to Alan Ginsberg’s Howl–3 min. by Tiffany Shlain, Mill Valley, CA. Jury’s Citation.
Technology can be addictive. In a tribute to Allen Ginsberg's classic 1956 poem, this short film reincarnates Ginsberg’s inflections and rhythms but replaces his words with ones that lampoon addictions of our generation. Narrated by Peter Coyote.

About the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art
The University of Oregon's Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art is a premier Pacific Northwest visual arts center for exhibitions and collections of historic and contemporary art based in a major university setting. The mission of the museum is to enhance the University of Oregon’s academic mission and to further the appreciation and enjoyment of the visual arts for the general public.  The JSMA features significant collections galleries devoted to art from China, Japan, Korea, America and elsewhere as well as changing special exhibition galleries.  The JSMA is one of six museums in Oregon accredited by the American Association of Museums.

The Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art is located on the University of Oregon campus at 1430 Johnson Lane. Museum hours are 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesdays, and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays through Sundays. Admission is $5 for adults and $3 for senior citizens. Free admission is given to ages 18 and under, JSMA members, college students with ID, and University of Oregon faculty, staff and students. For information, contact the JSMA, 541-346-3027.

About Cinema Pacific
Cinema Pacific is an annual film festival based at the University of Oregon that is devoted to discovering and fostering the creativity of international films and new media from Pacific-bordering countries, including the United States.

About the University of Oregon
The University of Oregon is a world-class teaching and research institution and Oregon's flagship public university. The UO is a member of the Association of American Universities (AAU), an organization made up of 62 of the leading public and private research institutions in the United States and Canada. Membership in the AAU is by invitation only. The University of Oregon is one of only two AAU members in the Pacific Northwest.

Contact: Debbie Williamson Smith, 541-346-0942,

Link: Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art,

Sekino Jun'ichirō (1914–1988). Japanese; Shōwa period, 1974. Woods, Oregon. Sōsaku hanga woodblock print; ink and color on paper, edition 94 of 138, 25 13/16 x 18 3/8 inches. Gift of Professor Junpei Sekino, Willamette University in memory of Professor Yoko Matsuoka McClain. 2011:17.19

Enduring Bonds: Recent Japanese Acquisitions in Memory of Yoko McClain

February 01, 2012 to July 15, 2012

Last year, the JSMA lost our dear friend and supporter Yoko Matsuoka McClain (1924-2011), who first came to Oregon in 1952 as a student and began working for the museum, eventually receiving a B.A. and M.A. A pillar of the community and UO professor of Japanese language and literature from 1964 to 1994, McClain wrote numerous books and articles and spoke frequently on both sides of the Pacific. As the granddaughter of Sôseki Natsume (1867-1916), one of Japan's most famous writers, McClain was revered by anyone familiar with Japanese literature, and yet she wore this legacy lightly, charming all she encountered both with her intellect and approachable attitude. Her grace and stature as a scholar and educator opened many doors, both here and abroad.
      McClain’s fifty-seven-year connection to the museum made her a most fitting recipient for our Gertrude Bass Warner award in August 2011. She immeasurably enriched our collection by donating 150 Japanese objects and collaborating on brilliant exhibitions, including two featuring the sôsaku hanga (creative print) master Sekino Jun'ichirô (1914-1988) that marked new territory for the scholarly study of modern Japanese prints. Because McClain acted as translator for Sekino whenever he came to Oregon, their families developed an enduring bond. Thus it was that in 2011 McClain urged the artist’s son, Professor Junpei Sekino of Willamette University, to consider donating some of his father’s works to the museum. Her encouragement and his generosity resulted in a gift of 24 large-format Sekino landscape and figural prints spanning a period of over 25 years.  A selection of eight of those gifts, plus two more Sekino portraits purchased using funds donated by McClain’s friends and admirers, are displayed in this inaugural installation celebrating Professor Sekino’s magnanimous gift and commemorating Yoko McClain.

Russel Wong, Jackie Chan, Hong Kong, 2000. Silver gelatin print. Courtesy of the artist.

Russel Wong: The Big Picture

April 21, 2012 to August 19, 2012

Singaporean UO graduate (BS '84, Finance) and renowned photographer, Russel Wong (born 1961) began his career taking pictures of star athletes during his time as an undergraduate in Eugene. Soon he was shooting commercial photos for Nike, fashion photography for leading magazines like Vogue and Elle, and high-profile sports, celebrity, and Hollywood and Asian movie star portraits for a variety of U.S. and international publications, as well as 16 covers for TIME. He has also directed numerous award-winning commercials and begun plans to direct his first feature film. Considered the "Avedon of Asia," Wong strives to distinguish his work by re-defining and re-styling glamorous figures with greater depth, texture, and imagination. In addition to a star-studded roster of A-list sitters, he was recently commissioned to produce formal photographs of Singapore's then Prime Minister. His exquisite and perceptive character studies, movie-related stories, publicity photos, and more recently, evocative landscape photographs, give viewers a rarefied view of compelling people and places.

The Long Now

January 21, 2012 to April 08, 2012

The first JSMA Art Department faculty exhibition in six years features the work of many artists who have joined the faculty recently as well as significant developments in the work of long-standing artists. Stamatina Gregory, an independent curator from New York City, organized the exhibition, which encompasses diverse contemporary practices and ideas, ranging from drawing to emerging technology, from abstraction to relational aesthetics. A catalogue with critical essays, and gallery tours that explore creative inquiry accompany the show. A smaller exhibition focusing on one set of ideas emerging from the large show will run concurrently at the White Box in Portland, January 24 – March 24.

Faculty Literary Reading: UO Creative Writing professor Garrett Hongo

Garrett Hongo was born in Volcano, Hawai`i and grew up on the North Shore of O`ahu and in Los Angeles. He was educated at Pomona College, the University of Michigan, and UC Irvine, where he received an M.F.A. His work includes three books of poetry, three anthologies, and... Volcano: A Memoir of Hawai`i. He is the editor of The Open Boat: Poems from Asian America (Anchor) and Under Western Eyes: Personal Essays from Asian America (Anchor).

Schnitzer Cinema: Unfinished Spaces with Skype interviews with filmmakers Alysa Nahmias and Ben Murray

Unfinished Spaces (2011, 86 min.) follows three architects as they return to Cuba, after forty years in exile, to finish what was considered the world’s most spectacular and futuristic art school, which the country’s revolution had inspired and then abandoned. Todd McCarthy for the Hollywood Reporter describes Unfinished Spaces as “an apt and unstressed metaphor for the history of the Cuban revolution itself … lucidly filmed and absorbing.”


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