Black Maria Film Festival kicks off this week with Jersey City, West Orange events

The logo of the Black Maria Film Festival.

The logo of the Black Maria Film Festival.

The Black Maria Film Festival is based in New Jersey, but it has a national presence: From Feb. 4 to April 30, it will bring 17 events to New Jersey and seven other states.

The festival, now in its 35th year, takes its name from Thomas Edison’s film studio in West Orange, the world’s first. It focuses on short films that address various contemporary social issues, as well as films that strike out in new, experimental directions.

The festival kicks off Feb. 4 at 8 p.m. at the the Gothic Lounge at Hepburn Hall at New Jersey City University, with five winners of the festival’s Stellar Award:

“Born in Battle” (20 min.), by Yangzom Brauen, about a 12-year-old child soldier.

“Notes for My Homeland” (9 min.), by Ed Kashi and Julie Winokur (both of Montclair), about Syrian-American composer Malek Jandali.

“teeth” (6 min.), by Tom Brown and Daniel Gray, an animated film.

“Ripple” (4 min.), by Conner Griffith, an experimental film.

“On Beat” (7 min.), by Reid Davenport and Cheng Zhang, Stanford. A documentary about a family of deaf parents and their children.

The festival will also present programs of different films, Feb. 6 at 8 p.m. at Art House Productions in Jersey City, and Feb. 7 at 2 p.m. at the AMC Dine-In Theaters Essex Green 9 in West Orange. There will also be events in Mahwah, Feb. 12; Madison, Feb. 19; Hackettstown, March 9; and Caldwell, April 16.

For information, visit


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