Thomas Edison Film Festival
Tuesday, March 21 at 6:30 PM
Sitnik Theatre : 715 Grand Avenue
This event is made possible through the generous support from the Warren County Cultural & Heritage Commission.
The Thomas Edison Film Festival is FREE to attend and open to the public. Seating is limited and on a first-come-first-served basis. (no reservations)
About the TEFF:
Since 1981, the mission of the Thomas Edison Film Festival (TEFF) has been to promote innovation in the art of the moving image, and the films that are the centerpiece of the festival honor Edison’s vision.
Edison’s films did for the eye what his phonograph did for the ear. He made 75, twenty-second-long films in his West Orange studio. His earliest films presented magic shows, plays, vaudeville shows with dancers and strongmen, cowboys, and boxing matches.
The festival’s relationship to Thomas Edison’s invention of the motion picture camera and the kinetoscope and his experimentation with the short film is an essential part of our mission. Shorts are the essence of the festival - not a sidebar to feature films. TEFF is a socially conscious, modern, fiercely independent traveling showcase for shorts, reaching out to diverse audiences with provocative, timely, edgy and compelling new works by both accomplished and emerging filmmakers.
The Thomas Edison Film Festival welcomes all genres including narrative, experimental, animation, documentary, screen dance and hybrids. We celebrate films which address the environment, race and class, immigration, the LGBTQ+ community, people with disabilities and issues of social justice. The films we celebrate are artistic, empathetic and engaging works which simultaneously teach and entertain.
Jurors for the Thomas Edison Film Festival (TEFF):
Henry Baker began his career at the ground-breaking video arts facility: Synapse Video Center. His work as educator, curator and director helped launch video as an art form in America. He co-created the NYS Media Alliance. As premiere video Paintbox artist, his work on award-winning and innovative videos includes the first MTV Video Music Awards: The Cars “You Might Think.” Establishing his own company enabled projects with Menudo, Celeste Holm, HBO, SONY, Panasonic and others. You’ll find his works in the permanent collections of the NY Public Library and Everson Museum of Art. His award-winning documentary “PISS OFF” has been included in 40+ film festivals around the world. He served as a dedicated juror for the National Endowment for the Arts, WNET-TV Lab, Corporation for Public Broadcasting and Thomas Edison Film Festival. He resides with his husband in Washington DC.
Margaret Parsons, Curator Emerita, founded the film program at the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC. She served as curator of film for the Gallery for decades and organized screenings related to film history, film art, and the role of time-based media in society. She has curated media exhibitions and programs at embassies and cultural organizations including the Corcoran Gallery of Art, American University, the National Archives, the Smithsonian Museum of American History, and Smithsonian Museum of American Art. She has served on the boards of film organizations ranging from the Robert Flaherty Film Seminar to the Environmental Film Festival in the Nation's Capital, and has been on the editorial boards for The Moving Image and the Getty Trust’s experimental Art on Film in association with the Metropolitan Museum of Art. She has been an international festival juror and in 2012 she founded Glimmerglass Film Days in central New York State. For her work in film preservation Parsons has received awards from the governments of France, Georgia, Italy, and the Czech Republic, and in the U.S. has been the recipient of life achievement awards from the Thomas Edison Black Maria Film Festival, DC Independent Festival, and Women in Film and Video. Her scholarship is in the field of outsider art and her articles have appeared in Raw Vision, Folk Art, The Folk Art Messenger, New York Folklore, Curator, and The Moving Image.
The Consortium is grateful for generous funding and support:
New Jersey State Council on the Arts
Lewis Center for the Arts at Princeton University
The Charles Edison Fund – Edison Innovation Foundation
The Hudson County Office of Cultural and Heritage Affairs and Tourism
Hoboken Historical Museum
Lowenstein Sandler, LLC
Big Sky Edit
Syracuse University Dept. of Film and Media Arts
Fairleigh Dickinson University School of the Arts - Filmmaking
East Brunswick Tech School of the Arts
Corporations and private donors
To learn more about the Thomas Edison Film Festival and the Thomas A. Edison Media Arts Consortium visit www.TEFilmFest.org,
Jane Steuerwald, Executive Director,
Giroscopio – Experimental
8 min. by John Muse, Bryn Mawr, PA, US and Brendamaris Rodriguez, Puerto Rico
“giroscopio” is a short experimental film by two artists, one in Pennsylvania and one in Puerto Rico, each in pandemic lockdown, each disoriented. Objects seem to control them; their bodies are unbalanced, unwieldy, comical. The horizon spins; the ground falls away; and yet a strange wonder reigns.
Heidi Lau’s Spirit Vessels – Documentary
8 min. by Bryan Chang, NY, NY, US
Sculptor Heidi Lau channels personal history, colonial culture, and the spiritual world through her hands to create otherworldly clay works, bridging the opposing worlds of the human and non-human. Set in the Catacombs of Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn, New York, we follow the Macau-born artist as she researches traditional Chinese burial objects after her mother’s passing and creates a body of iridescent work that recall funerary vessels and mourning garments.
Slower Animals – Animation
7 min. by John C. Kelley, Knoxville, TN, US
While aimlessly following a winter goose migration across the American south, a professor slips in and out of childhood memories that all surround a forgotten trauma. This short, animated film explores the ways we are shaped; both by what we remember and what we forget.
Intersextion – Experimental
4 min. by Richard Roger Reeves, Creston, BC, Canada
Two abstract energies fall in love, unite as one then disappear into a vanishing point. Both sound and picture handmade onto 35mm film. “Intersextion” expresses a symbiotic interplay between two cosmic energies contrasting the intersection of reality and self-expression. A film without words. No musical instruments or camera used.
Life Left Behind – Screen Dance
6 min. by Valia Phyllis Zwart, Oslo, Norway
Whilst driving, a woman attempts to reconcile with her past and the scars it left behind.
Dancing in the Shadows – Animation
3 min. by Elliot Bloom and Alexandra Gordon-Gibson, Amsterdam, Netherlands
The story of a lonesome and deflated figure aimlessly roaming the metropolis at night. They gradually realize that their shadow has come to life, moving freely from its owner. Their shadow soon discovers new ways to move and dance. The protagonist is first apprehensive about their shadow's newfound rhythm of movement, but as they chase their shadow through the streets, they are soon mesmerized and form a unison through dance.
Viper – Narrative
11 min. by Raine LeMay, Vancouver, BC, Canada
“Viper” is the story of Joe, a young jazz musician living in Vancouver's Hogan’s Alley in the 1950’s. Joe practically lives out of the neighborhood’s local jazz club with his band mates Ray, Danny, and Arnold. When they learn that the club is being torn down for a new overpass, the group must decide if they will abandon the joint or stand up for the place that they call home.
Free from Fear – Documentary
14 min. by Berenice Manjarrez, San Juan, Puerto Rico
Luis Felipe Passalaqua, Puerto Rican blind sculptor, was a medical illustrator when, at the age of 40, he became blind due to misdiagnosed meningitis. His life is transformed into an urgent overcoming of fears, decision making and perseverance, reinventing himself as a person and as an artist. Since then, he
has been searching for ways to transcend these limits and, with the same intensity, those of a society that separates us.
Triboro – Experimental
7 min. by Nate Dorr, Brooklyn, NY, US
The Triboro Line is a 24-mile freight rail spanning New York City from the Brooklyn Army Terminal in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, to Co-Op City in the Bronx. Once largely a passenger line, then serving only reduced intermittent industrial use for decades, the rails have become the focus of efforts to restore crosstown commuter service to the lower eleven miles of track.
Fog – Documentary
10 min. by Michael Pedraza, LA, CA, US
In a city known for innovation and solving some of the world's most difficult challenges, San Francisco is faced with a crisis: how to address the worsening homeless situation. As thousands of residents flee San Francisco to other parts of the United States, hundreds of homeless arrive in search of a city known for taking in the downtrodden and outcast. Moved to act, a local doctor begins a journey to chronicle the stories of homeless individuals in his community.