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2014 Black Maria Film Festival

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Black Maria opens October 24 at the Edison Ford Winter Estates (10-23-14)

Marketing_Events_539.1 (5)The Thomas Edison Black Maria Film Festival returns to the Edison & Ford Winter Estates this weekend. On Friday, October 24, films will air outdoors on the river side lawn of the Ford Estate and on Saturday, October 25, inside the Richard H. Rush Library and Auditorium of Florida SouthWestern State College (FSW).

The Black Maria Film Festival is an international, black mariaaward-winning festival that has toured the nation for 33 years and is hosted by museums and colleges throughout the country showcasing independent and experimental film and video.  The films include a variety of contemporary works drawn from the annual juried selection of award winning films and videos. The Black Maria is recognized by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences as an Academy Awards qualifying festival for short films.

The Black Maria at Edison Ford will be introduced by renowned filmmaker Clayton Hemmert and Dr. Wendy Chase, with Florida SouthWestern State College.  The films will run The_Sneezefor approximately 90 minutes and there will be an opportunity for questions and answers from the audience at the end.

There is a Dinner and the Movies option available at the Edison & Ford Winter Estates. Dinner will be served on the historic grounds of the Ford Estate and include a choice of a pulled pork sandwich or platter, two sides (potato salad, baked beans homemade roll), vegetarian meal (roasted veggie couscous, salad and homemade roll), chocolate cake or lemon bars. Prices vary and beer and wine will be available for purchase. The pre-ordered dinner will begin at 6 p.m. and reservations are requested by calling the Edison Ford at 239-334-7419.  Seating is limited.

Edison_AerialTickets are on sale NOW at Edison Ford.  Cost:  October 24, Edison Ford Members $10, FSW Students $8, non-members $15; October 25, FSW Students FREE, general public $15; $25 for both nights.  For reservations call 239-334-7419. For more information visit www.edisonfordwinterestates.org; www.fsw.edu; www.blackmariafilmfestival.org.     The event will be held rain or shine.  In the event of inclement weather, the films will be shown in the Edison Ford Museum. The Black Maria Film Festival is sponsored by Hotel Indigo located at 1520 Broadway #104, Fort Myers, FL 33901. (For hotel reservations, please call (239) 337-3446.)

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Tickets on sale for the Thomas Edison Black Maria Film Festival (09-15-14)

The Mangoes (2)The Thomas Edison Black Maria Film Festival returns for its eighth season to the Edison & Ford Winter Estates on October 24 and Florida SouthWestern State College on October 25.

The Black Maria Film Festival is an award-winning international festival showcasing independent and experimental film and video. Hosted by museums and colleges throughout the country, it has toured the nation for 33 years. Its films include a variety of contemporary works drawn from the annual juried selection of award winning films and videos.

Marketing_Events_539.1 (4)At Florida SouthWestern, the festival takes place in the plush Rush Library auditorium. But at the Edison & Ford Winter Estates, the films air outdoors under the stars shining down on the riverside lawn of The Mangoes, Henry and Clara Ford’s winter estate. It’s a romantic, garden setting that serves as a perfect backdrop for a film festival that bears the name of the inventor and the studio where his team made the first commercially-exhibited motion pictures.

300px-Black_MariaSeeking to design “an instrument that does for the eye what the phonograph does for the ear,” Edison and experimental staff member W.K.L. Dickson invented a motion picture camera and a peephole viewing device called the Kinetoscope in 1892. The devices were shown publicly for the first time in 1893, with the first Edison films being exhibited commercially a year later. Those films were made in the Black Maria, a tar-paper shack at Edison’s West Orange Laboratory.

The roof of the Black Maria lifted up to let sunlight in because early films required a tremendous amount of bright light. The studio was built on a turntable so the window could rotate toward the sun throughout the day, supplying natural light for hundreds of Edison movie productions over its eight year lifespan. But the facility was so cramped and uncomfortable that it reminded Dickson and fellow Edison employee Jonathan Campbell of Black Marias (police vans that were also called “paddywagons” at the time), which were notoriously cramped, stuffy and a similar black color. While Dickson, Campbell and the rest of Edison’s staff called the studio the Black Maria, Edison simply referred to it as “The Doghouse.”

The_SneezeOne of the first films that Dickson made in the Black Maria was Fred Ott’s Sneeze (The Edison Kinetoscopic Record of a Sneeze). Made to accompany an article in Harper’s Weekly for publicity purposes, the film consists of a series of still photographs of Dickson’s colleague, Fred Ott, sneezing comically for the camera. It became one of the earliest motion pictures to receive a copyright.

When word spread about the new invention, performers flocked to the Black Maria from all over the country in order to be in the films. The silent movies that Dickson and his cohorts subsequently made featured dancers, boxers, magicians, vaudeville performers and even acts from Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show.  The performers’ appearances at the studio were used as publicity opportunities by Edison, who would often pose with the actors for newspaper articles.

The studio was closed in 1901 after Edison built a glass-enclosed rooftop movie studio in New York City. Two years later, Edison had the building demolished, but the U. S. National Park Service maintains a reproduction of the Black Maria that was built in 1954 at what is now the Edison National Historic Site in West Orange.

Rush Library 04 (4)Tickets for the Seventh Annual Thomas Edison Black Maria Film Festival are available at the Edison Ford ticket office located at 2350 McGregor Boulevard, Fort Myers. For more information and updates visit the Edison & Ford Winter Estates website at www.edisonfordwinterestates.org.

The Edison Ford is open daily from 9:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. The Edison Ford is the winner of the 2009 National Stewardship Award from the National Trust for Historic Preservation and is an official project of “Save America’s Treasures” at the National Trust for Historic Preservation, a Florida Historic Landmark and a National Register Historic Site. For additional information call 239-334-7419 or visit the web site at www.edisonfordwinterestates.org.
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Black Maria Film Festival right around corner (10-18-14)

Marketing_Events_539.1 (5)The Thomas Edison Black Maria Film Festival returns for its eighth season to the riverside lawn at the Edison & Ford Winter Estates or October 24 and in the Richard H. Rush Library and Auditorium on the Lee campus of Florida SouthWestern State College on October 25. The Black Maria Film Festival is an award-winning international film that has toured the nation for 33 The Mangoes (2)years and is hosted by museums and colleges throughout the country showcasing independent and experimental film and video.

The films include a variety of contemporary works drawn from the annual juried selection of award-winning films and videos. The Black Maria is recognized by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences as an Academy Awards qualifying The_Sneezefestival for short films.   Tickets are on sale now at Edison Ford.  Cost

  • October 24, Edison Ford Members $10, FSW Students $8, non-members $15
  • October 25, FSW Students FREE, general public $15
  • $25 for both nights.

For reservations, please call 239-334-7419. For more  information, please visit www.edisonfordwinterestates.org, www.fsw.edu or www.blackmariafilmfestival.org.

There is also a dinner and movies option, where dinner will be EdisonFrankensteinserved on the historic grounds of the Ford Estate and include a choice of a pulled pork sandwich or platter, two sides (potato salad, baked beans and homemade roll), vegetarian meal (roasted veggie couscous, salad and homemade roll), chocolate cake or lemon bars.  Prices vary and beer and wine will be available for purchase. Dinner will begin at 6 p.m. and reservations are requested by calling the Edison Ford at 239-334-7419.  Seating is limited.

Edison & Ford Winter Estates is open daily from 9:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. Edison Ford is the winner of the 2009 National Stewardship Award from the National Trust for Historic Preservation and is an official project of “Save America’s Treasures” at the National Trust for Historic Preservation, a Florida Historic Landmark and a National Register Historic Site. For additional information, please call 239-334-7419 or visit www.edisonfordwinterestates.org.

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