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

EUGENE, Ore. – (April 26, 2013) – The Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art’s monthly Schnitzer Cinema brings back The Black Maria Film and Video Festival on Wednesday, May 8, at 7:00 p.m. A live Skype conversation with festival director John Columbus is part of the evening. 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 refreshments are provided by the Museum.

“The Black Maria Film and Video Festival tour is a wonderfully diverse collection of the best short films being made today,” says Richard Herskowitz, artistic director of Cinema Pacific and Schnitzer Cinema curator.


Thirteen short films are featured in this year’s selection, including “Bug People,” a whimsical film essay from Paul Meyers, San Francisco, CA; “Pulling Teeth, a documentary by Jennifer Suwak, Bangor, PA, that follows the no frills work of an equestrian dentist; and “Lionfish Delusion,” an imaginative underwater neo-noir animated short by Quique Rivera Rivera, San Juan, PR.


“This year's program is a typically edgy and eclectic Black Maria mix of experimental, documentary, and narrative works, with a special emphasis on animation,” says Herskowitz.


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 thirty-second year and its fourth at the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art. 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.




13 min. by Daniel Sousa, Pawtucket, RI

Jurors' Citation Selections

“Feral” is very artful, lyrical animated work rendered in silhouetted images. A windmill floats in from the firmament, a feral boy crouches in the forest, he snarls in an encounter with a wolf. A hunter “liberates” the child and carries him to town, introduces him to school and the vicissitudes of “civilization.” But the boy must return to the only home he has ever known.


“Light Plate”                                                            

9 min. by Josh Gibson, Durham, NC.

Jurors' Choice Selections

In this shimmering, hand processed, black and white visual poem, the filmmaker explores the Tuscan landscape, capturing the textures and tones of its fields and the relationship between tradition, modernity and agriculture. In beautifully composed scenic ruminations, time passes; licks of light infuse the images while a storm gathers and woman kneads pasta dough.


“Here and Away”

11 min. by Meena Nanji, Santa Monica, CA.

Juror’s Stellar Selection

“Here and Away” is a visually poetic film shot in India as inspired by a short story by Franz Kafka entitled “Children on a Country Road.” Kafka’s story describes a day in the life of a boy living in the countryside. In Nanji’s film, Ravi is found lying in the grass contemplating the sky and the mystery of nature. He is aware of changing times and the possibilities of the future. In the evening an older companion and Ravi gaze at the distant city lights on the horizon and muse about those who dwell there, questioning with wonder in moments of becoming.


“Fanfare for Marching Band”

15.5 min. by Daniele Wilmouth, Chicago, IL

Director’s Choice Selection

“Fanfare for Marching Band” is a decidedly offbeat work which traces the antics of a ragtag musical militia as they romp through unexpected environs with their exuberant music and crazed frolicking. This music and dance film features choreography by Peter Carpenter and performances by the circus punk marching band Mucca Pazza, who stage musical “Actions for Joy” at various inappropriate locations around the city of Chicago


“Bug People”

15 min. by Paul Meyers, San Francisco, CA

Jurors' Citation Selections

In this whimsical film essay, the maker investigates Western cultural biases and discomfort with things multi legged with exoskeletons. Bugs for breakfast, lunch and dinner can be a great source of protean and an alternative to the flesh of four legged creatures.


“Pulling Teeth”

9.25 min. by Jennifer Suwak, Bangor, PA 

Director's Choice Selection

“Pulling Teeth” is an out of the ordinary and wholly arresting documentary that erupts as an honest, close up, and unfettered look at the work and philosophy of no frills Equestrian Dentist, John Baker. His communication with horses and his ability to bond with them discloses the uniqueness of his approach to his patients.



7.5 min. by Helen Hood Scheer, Palo Alto, CA

Director's Choice Selection

This riveting documentary portrays a woman whose work is to craft extremely life-like infant dolls. It all seems to be a bizarre endeavor but there’s a demand for this sort of doll. The woman’s work is almost like that of a mortician; perhaps their skills sometime serve a similar function for people who’ve sustained the loss of a child.


Time Exposure”

11 min. by Alfred Guzzetti, Brookline, MA – 

Director’s Choice Selection

This is a vibrant work about a haunting nighttime photograph taken in South Philadelphia many years ago by the filmmaker’s father. Filmmaker Guzzetti goes on a personal quest to find the original location of the photograph with the hope of recapturing a time long passed. 



7.5 min. by Daniela Delago Viter, Manabi, Ecuador

Jurors' Choice Selections

A bus is stranded in the middle of nowhere, but the passengers seem resigned; some pray the Rosary, others fidget, or are solemn. Have they arrived at the juncture of Purgatory and eternity, are some destined for a place in Zion while others disembark for the Netherworld?


“Lionfish Delusion (El delirio del pez león) “

4 min. by Quique Rivera Rivera, San Juan,PR      This is an imaginative underwater neo-noir and colorful animation inspired by the Lionfish plague. Fishes dream, lobster claws trans-mutate and the sea swirls in a story about greed and hierarchy in the Caribbean reefs.     



 4 min. by Brynmore Williams, Somerville, MA – 

Jurors' Citation Selection

At the intersection of healing and performance Catherine employs lyrical dance in the story of one woman’s journey with the cancer. She expresses her newfound freedom in the stunning henna tattoo on her breast.

“Queen of the Night Aria”

 3 min. by Harry Hall, Los Angeles, CA Director’s Choice Selection

An aria from Mozart’s “The Magic Flute” is parodied in this outlandish parody of a classic. This version utilizes puppetry, absurdist subtitles and sound effects to create a flamboyantly humorous animation. FUN to end a program with.


“Cellular Circuitry

2 min. by Benjamin Ridgeway, San Francisco, CA

Director's Choice Selection

Cellular Circuitry” is a stream of digital sculptures and sounds that transmute between organic and circuit like motifs. The filmmaker’s goal was to closely link the visual changes on screen with a mix of natural and digitally sourced sounds. Some sounds are meditative and inviting while others are edgy and alien. They are an auditory parallel of what the viewer is seeing as they change in sync with the morphing visual forms they represent.



About the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art

The University of Oregon's Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art is a premier Pacific Northwest museum 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 among the 108 institutions chosen from 4,633 U.S. universities for top-tier designation of "Very High Research Activity" in the 2010 Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. The UO also is one of two Pacific Northwest members of the Association of American Universities.


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


Link: Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art,

Cinema Pacific,