As part of its 38th annual tour, the renowned international Black Maria Film Festival returns to Princeton for a program featuring five films about the human experience and issues of global importance. Festival Director Jane Steuerwald introduces the program featuring short documentary, experimental, narrative, and animated films.





Documentary, 37 min.
by Bence Máté and Florian Schewe (Berlin, Germany)

Koka is a highly respected figure in the pigeon battling scene in Cairo, Egypt. His life revolves around his pigeons. Each year whole areas clash in contests to release and capture each other’s birds. As the face-off between warring factions unfolds, 30-year-old Koka faces unbearable social pressure to leave “pigeoneering” behind, so he can settle down and marry. A race against time begins in a peculiar world where pigeons are the foremost source of martial spirit and pride.




Experimental, 4 min.
by Helen Cho Anthos (Reseda, CA)

A man relives an intense child¬hood memory, illuminating his greatest regret.




Narrative, 15 min.
by Jorn Threlfall (London, UK)

New Mexico, July of 1945 — when the paths of an old farmer and a young Navajo boy cross, the world will never be the same.



Documentary, 20 min.
by Sumie Garcia & Santiago De la Paz (Mexico City, Mexico)

Yukio Saeki arrived in Mexico from his native Japan in 1955. He opened a photography store in the Santa Maria la Ribera neighborhood in Mexico City, which he named FotoSaeki. At 83 years old, he recalls life in Mexico, family, relationships with his Mexican customers, and remembers the echo of a hot Monday morning in Japan, as he walked across a field toward the ocean as an atomic bomb fell in his homeland.



Animation, 7 min.
by Ioanna Tsinividi and Harold Herbert (Athens, Greece)

Agastrophos, a Trojan hero, now a marble statue trapped on a tiny island, is focused on an upside-down beetle; its legs and arms are grasping the air in an attempt to flip over and save itself. If Agastrophos could simply give it a helping flick, it would “inverse” its destiny and find a second chance at life.




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 2019 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 2019 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


Poster | Press release

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Presented By

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