Black Maria Film + Video Festival 2014

  • Des Moines
  • Art Center
  • 4700 Grand Ave
  • Des Moines, Iowa
  • 515.277.4405
  • Hours | Directions

  • John & Mary Pappajohn
  • Sculpture Park
  • 13th and Grand Ave
  • Downtown
  • Des Moines, Iowa
  • Hours | Directions

Friday, March 14 / 6:30 pm
Saturday March 15 / 1:30 pm (not a repeat)


Friday, March 14 / Total running time = 124 minutes

Montauk / 15 minutes
Vinz Feller, Brooklyn, NY
Jury’s Stellar Award

Elisabeth's husband commits suicide and his last wish is for her to travel to Montauk, NY, where they met and fell in love many years ago. To honor him and scatter his ashes, she embarks on a journey from her home in Switzerland to the United States. Her experience is filled with anger, acceptance and reconciliation.

Autumn / 5 minutes
Eva Colmers, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Jury’s Choice

An editor works on his last film project about autumn. As he cuts and pastes, memories of his childhood flash into his consciousness. Images of the past collide with images from the present and weave themselves into a timeless fabric.  

The Last Time - You Be the Judge / 5 minutes
Candy Kugel, New York, NY
Peoples’ Choice Award & Director’s Choice

For thirty-eight years, Vincent Cafarelli and Candy Kugel worked together on animated films. Then Vincent, after a day at work, went home, went to bed and never woke up. The Last Time is both a tribute to their collaboration and recognition of sudden, profound, and massive loss.

Close the Lid, Gently: A Home Document Scan / 5.5 minutes
Ariana Gerstein, Barton, NY
Jury’s Choice

A video made entirely from two home desktop scanners—one a photo scanner, the other a refurbished low-end document scanner. Each has its own texture and sees the domestic environment in its own particular way, one scan at a time. This film deals with the deliberate misuse/re-purposing of commercial image producing machines for a slow, individual, low-tech, approach to the motion picture making process.

Yield / 2 minutes
Caleb Wood, Deer River, MN
Director’s Choice

Road kill deaths mount up. The filmmaker documents and re-animates this collection of animal victims with a provocative result.

Watching, Waiting / 11 minutes
Wesley Strick, Los Angeles, CA
Director’s Choice

At a women's health clinic, a small, dedicated staff goes to work in the face of a subtle but pervasive sense of threat and danger. Watching, Waiting dramatizes an idealistic girl's first day of volunteer work with these caring professionals. Meanwhile, beyond the clinic's secure confines, a mysterious man is patiently watching and waiting. As the clock ticks and he moves from a hilltop perch to a sniper's nest behind a grove of mesquite trees, the tension steadily mounts. This film is a surprising look at the hot-button issue of women's reproductive rights by framing the controversy as a taut thriller.

Strange Wonderful / 4.5 minutes
Stephanie Swart, Brooklyn, NY
Jury’s Choice

In this unconventional, quirky animated film, Little Monster goes to school. She thinks, 'They probably call me snail face when I'm not around.' Sometimes she is lonely, but she begins to find happiness as she learns to accept being different.

Globe Trot / 4.5 minutes
Mitchell Rose, Worthington, OH
Director’s Choice

Fifty-four filmmakers on all seven continents each contribute two seconds of movement orchestrated by renowned choreographer Bebe Miller in this international, crowd-sourced, dance-film project.

Sidewalk / 4 minutes
Celia Bullwinkel, Brooklyn, NY
Jury’s Citation

A woman walks through life, but her real journey is deep within as she confronts her changing body and learns to love herself.

Spooners / 13.5 minutes
Bryan Horch, Pelham, MA
Director’s Choice

A romantic comedy about two men and their epic quest for a grown-up bed. After finally convincing his partner to retire their beloved futon, Nelson goes off by himself to shop for a proper replacement. Spooners is a playful and humorous film that brings to view the absurdities and contradictions of modern life.

Inquire Within / 4 minutes
Jay Rosenblatt, San Francisco, CA 4 min. by
Jury’s Choice

A hypnotic, apocalyptic examination of false choices, double binds, vulnerability, and faith.

Place of Spirit / 6.5 minutes
Natalie Conn and Jay Weichun, Brooklyn, NY
Jury’s Choice

This is the story of Andrea Phillips, a Staten Island based artist, facing eviction from her home after 44 years.  Rather than center itself on the policy issues associated with Andrea's eviction, A Place of Spirit focuses on Andrea's emotional and spiritual relationship to her eccentric, unique, and uncommon home.

Chop / 6 minutes
Ariana Gerstein, Barton, NY
Director’s Choice

Chop is a thought-provoking film, contemplating the texture of wood, soy sauce, rice, the crack of a fortune cookie, and a to-go box, presented within the disturbing context of de-forestation. Still images created through macro photography are animated and integrated within the body of this documentary short.

Little Block of Cement with Disheveled Hair Containing the Sea / 15.5 minutes
Jorge Lopez Navarrete, Barcelona, Spain
Jury’s Choice

A German Shepherd dog and an adventurous mare embark upon a voyage together. With every step they take, the differences between them become clearer, and yet there is a profound connection and mutual knowledge developed over time. Invoking the spiritual and aesthetic style of Robert Bresson, this powerful film celebrates the luminous connections between horse and dog without one word of dialog.

Wise Choice or Lucky Guess / 3.5 minutes
Ellen Raines, Fox Point, WI
Director’s Choice

A recently deceased man has to make a choice between heaven and hell, while sitting on an escalator.

Saturday, March 15 / Total running time = 105 minutes

Every Day is a Holiday / 57 minutes
Theresa Loong, New York, NY
Jury’s Stellar Award

Growing up in suburban New Jersey, Chinese-American filmmaker Theresa Loong knew little about her father's past. One day, she discovered his secret diary, written when he was a teenager and POW in a Japanese work camp during World War II. In it, he vowed to make 'every day a holiday' if he survived. Every Day is a Holiday tells the painful, but life-affirming story of her father's unlikely journey from Chinese Malay teenager and Japanese POW to merchant seaman, Veterans Affairs doctor, and naturalized citizen of the country that liberated him—the United States. Using intimate conversations, rare archival footage and his wartime diary, the film traces how, through sheer strength of will, Paul Loong overcomes the horrors of war and obstacles as an immigrant.

Salmon Deadly Sins / 7 minutes
Steven Vander Meer, Arcata, CA
Jury’s Choice

Five thousand salmon colored index cards, the seven deadly sins, bizarre anagrams and a host of serendipitous occurrences mingle in the artist's imagination and emerge as Salmon Deadly Sins. With music by Leftover Salmon, this flipbook style film is a moving drawing—each frame was created individually, by hand, on a 3x5 inch index card. Envy, gluttony, greed, lust, pride, sloth, and wrath are the inspiration for each chapter in this ingenious animation.

Sleight of Hand / 10 minutes
Michael Cusack, Adelaide, Australia
Director’s Choice

Sleight of hand refers to skill in feats requiring quick and clever movements of the hands, especially for entertainment or deception, as in juggling, and card or coin magic, and with the intent to trick or deceive. Sleight of Hand is a stop-motion animated film about illusions. A man yearns to know his place in the world and how he fits in, when sometimes it's better not to know.

Human Body Battleground Organ Organism / 9.5 minutes
Metrah Pashaee, Iowa City, IA
Director’s Choice

This is an appropriated moving image collage investigating human sex organs as disembodied vessels. Utilizing a digital voice to narrate the scientific found footage, the filmmaker creates a witty, sarcastic, high camp romp through the juxtaposition of gender-specific sexual functions of the human body.

The Apothecary / 17 minutes
Helen Hood Scheer, Palo Alto, CA
Jury’s Choice

The Apothecary is a moving portrait of beloved druggist, Don Colcord, in a rural Colorado outpost. Don is a man who operates the only pharmacy within 4,000 square miles. He navigates a profound divide between his public persona and his personal life. To the community, he is jovial and heroic. At home, he is impotent and isolated due to his wife's disability. The film explores notions of individual duty and obligation in the face of privately held grief and ambivalence.

5 Ways 2 Die / 16.5 minutes
Daina Papadaki, Nicosia, Cyprus
Director’s Choice

How many ways are there to commit suicide? Can a suicide attempt be considered successful? One cuckolded husband over-analyzes this subject as he struggles to achieve his ideal result.

Virtuous Virtuell / 7.5 minutes
Thomas Stellmach, Hessen, Germany
Jury’s Citation

 Hand crafted ink drawings inspired by the overture of the opera, “The Alchymist,” by Louis Spohr, serve as basis for this animation. The drawings play on the threshold between the figurative and abstract, thus allowing for a wide range of associations to form. Synchronized to the music, they grow and change. The drawings take on the characteristics and moods of the music and take the viewer on a journey into a musical world of pictures.

Jury’s Stellar Award = First Place
Jury’s Choice = Second Place
Jury’s Citation = Third Place
Director’s Choice = Fourth Place