The Thomas Edison Black Maria Film Festival will kick off its 39th annual season with two special screening events on consecutive evenings before launching its international tour.

On Friday night, February 7, filmmakers Su Friedrich, Edith Goldenhar, Emily Hubley, and Lynne Sachs will screen and discuss their work and participate in an audience Q&A with Festival Director Jane Steuerwald in an evening of “Women in Film.” 

Saturday night, February 8 will be the Festival’s 2020 premiere with a screening of five top prize-winning films with filmmaker/photographer/author Eugene Richards, winner of the Festival’s Stellar Award for Documentary, present to discuss his work and participate in an audience Q&A with Steuerwald.

A pre-screening reception on Feb. 8 starts at 7:00 p.m. at 185 Nassau Street. Both the reception and screening are free and open to the public; no tickets required. Free parking is available behind 185 Nassau Street in Lot #10 on Williams Street in Princeton.



paper cutouts of peopleTHE GIRL WITH THE RIVET GUN

Documentary, 15 min.
Winner of 2020 Jury’s Stellar Award

An animated documentary based on the adventures of three real-life “Rosie the Riveters,” Esther Horne, Susan Taylor King, and Mildred Crow Sargent. From vastly different backgrounds, these three women came of age in an America united by war but struggling with divisions of gender, economics and race.



figures in foggy frameFREEZE FRAME

Animation, 5 min.
by SOETKIN VERSTEGEN  (Brussels, Belgium)
Winner of 2020 Jury’s Stellar Award

A stop-motion film in which identical figures perform the hopeless task of preserving blocks of ice, as if they were archivists. Their repetitive movements re-animate the animals captured inside.





Documentary, 15 min.
Winner of 2020 Jury’s Stellar Award

This film tells the story of 90-year-old Melvin Wisdahl, who, though confined to a nursing home, lives an interior life filled with images of the war he fought in, the struggles of the early Norwegian settlers of North Dakota, his ghost town of a home, and his love of the ever-evolving and threatened land.



winding red staircaseTHE DIVINE WAY

Experimental, 15 min.
by ILARIA DI CARLO (Berlin, Germany)
Winner of 2020 Jury’s Stellar Award

This experimental film loosely based on Dante’s Divine Comedy takes the viewer into a woman’s epic descent through an endless labyrinth of staircases. As her journey takes her deeper and deeper, the staircases transform, and she becomes trapped and pulled into this dangerous landscape.



people standing in field of iceCOLD STORAGE

Narrative, 9 min.
by THOMAS FREUNDLICH (Helsinki, Finland)
Winner of 2020 Jury’s Stellar Award

A narrative film that takes place on a desolate arctic shore where a lonely fisherman discovers his prehistoric counterpart frozen in the ice and thaws him out as his newfound soul brother. The film pays homage to the virtuosic physical performances and melancholy comedy of the classic silent screen.


The Black Maria Film Festival attracts and nationally showcases the work of independent film and video makers. The festival is a project of the Thomas Edison Media Arts Consortium, an independent non-profit organization. The festival was founded in 1981 as a tribute to Thomas Edison’s development of the motion picture at his laboratory, dubbed the “Black Maria” film studio, the first in the world, in West Orange, New Jersey.

The Black Maria Film Festival annually conducts an international juried competition. Following the extensive pre-screening and jurying process by experts in the field of film curation, media studies and production, the festival launches its year-long tour traveling to museums, colleges and universities, libraries, cinemas, and arts venues. Black Maria received over 400 submissions for the 2020 festival tour from every continent around the globe, save Antarctica. The highly regarded festival jurors, Margaret Parsons, Head Curator of Film at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC and Henry Baker, Emmy Award-winning filmmaker and former director of Synapse Video Center, chose 55 films for the 2020 collection and awarded the top prizes.

Venues interested in scheduling a screening should contact Festival Director Jane Steuerwald at

To learn more about the Black Maria Film Festival and Thomas Edison Media Arts Consortium, visit

Map + Directions

The James Stewart Film Theater is located on the first floor at 185 Nassau Street in Princeton.


Alexander Street, between Lawrence Drive in Princeton and Canal Pointe Boulevard in West Windsor, will close for about six months beginning on Wednesday, November 6, 2019, for road construction.

Construction makes traveling to campus more time consuming. Traffic congestion from all routes to campus during peak times (weekdays, 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m., and 3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.) will be higher than normal. Drivers traveling to campus along Route 1 will see the greatest delays.

Visit for the most current information on detour routes, parking, and tips for planning your visit to campus.

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Presented By

  • Thomas A. Edison Media Arts Consortium
  • Program in Visual Arts