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Selections from the 40th Annual Thomas Edison Film Festival

  • Wednesday, August 25, 2021
  • 12:00 p.m.
  • Week-long Film Presentation
  • Virtual Program

Streamed online August 25 through August 31

Twelve works from the 40th annual Thomas Edison Film Festival, an international juried competition open to makers of short films in all genres, foregrounds the power of clear and concise expression in all art forms. The festival is named for the famous American inventor who created the world’s first film studio, in West Orange, New Jersey. The program is curated by Jane Steuerwald, director of the Thomas A. Edison Media Arts Consortium.

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The Ephemeral Orphanage

Tattered paper dolls dream of alternate realities while quietly exploring the secret lives of their young caregivers. Created with found paper dolls cut from a 1920s newspaper, the film also explores the adult world’s influences over young girls, and the girls’ talents for discovering forbidden truths. (Lisa Barcy, 2020, 15 minutes)

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The Toxic Pigs of Fukushima

The Great East Japan Earthquake of 2011 triggered a tsunami, nuclear meltdown, and mass evacuation in Fukushima Prefecture. Today, as part of a government push to encourage resettlement, local hunters have been enlisted to dispose of radiated wild boars that now roam the streets. The film follows a lone hunter into this forsaken landscape as others, who still live nearby, share perspectives. The Toxic Pigs of Fukushima was inspired by the photographs of co-producers Toru Hanai and Yuki Iwanami, with original score written and performed by Midori Takada. (Otto Bell, 2019, 35 minutes)

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De-Eschatology

De-Eschatology is a physical manifestation of the claustrophobic conditions created by the Covid-19 crisis, with attention to the heightened sense of touch that resulted from lack of physical contact. The film’s trajectory drolly explores a gradual de-escalation of shelter-in-place orders, and the psychological effects of the ordeal. (Charly Santagado and Eriel Santagado, 2020, 5 minutes)

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A Trip with Mom

Xia Changming is at home and out of work, caring for his wife, his son, and a mother with dementia. Trying to bear up under this agonizing burden and his unprecedented distress, Changming finally decides to go on a fateful journey. (Sophie Shui, 2019, 25 minutes)

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A Family That Steals Dogs

Strange experiences and realizations lead a grieving artist to reconsider his identity and beliefs in this animated meditation on grief, family, and mental illness. (John C. Kelly, 2020, 7 minutes)

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Black Thoughts 

Aiming to bridge one of the long-standing divides that exists among Americans, Black Thoughts places viewers within the history-ravaged mind of a broken-hearted Black man as he contemplates how confusion has held his fellow citizens in an endless cycle of conflict.  (Dwayne Logan, 2019, 30 minutes)

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BoxBallet

One day, a delicate ballerina named Olya meets a rough, surly boxer named Evgeny. The contrast between their lives and values is so sharp, however, that even the possibility of their paths ever crossing would have seemed unlikely. Are they ready to embrace the shy feelings of love that have suddenly sprung up between them? (Anton Dyakov, 2020, 15 minutes)

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Ekstase

Ekstase is a montage of excerpts from European silent films exploring stereotypical images of women on the verge of insanity. Reaching its peak in an eruption of hysteria, the film displays women as captives in a continuous cycle of symptom, diagnosis, and treatment. (Marion Kellmann, 2020, 11 minutes)

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Metro6

During a short ride on a city bus, Zak goes through an epiphany about human connection and the dangers of the virtual existence. Under the film’s comedic surface lies a lesson, as Zak becomes more appreciative of his diverse and communal surroundings. (Geoff Hecht, 2020, 8 minutes)

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My Body Given for You

Shot in lush black and white, the lovely and enigmatic My Body Given for You invokes themes of religion, desolation, and emotional hunger. (Anna-Clair Ostasenko Bogdanoff, 2020, 12 minutes)

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No Place

Inspired by a chance meeting between director Gabriel Amaral and a farm laborer in Brazil’s Nordeste region, No Place relates the story of the laborer, who learns that the cacao farm he works on is to be sold. He must then face the loss of not only job and home, but also daily contact with the land he cherishes. A story of a hierarchical and codependent relationship between employer and employee. (Gabriel Amaral, 2020, 23 minutes)

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Last Stop for Lost Property

Deep underground, as millions rush through New York’s subway system, countless items get left behind. The Metropolitan Transit Authority’s gargantuan Lost Property Unit is nearly impossible to navigate alone—but luckily, Sonny Drayton can help. With humor and intimate personal knowledge of the system, unofficial lost item guide Drayton invites us to consider what it means to lose and be lost underground, as Last Stop for Lost Property slyly questions how we value the artifacts of our lives. (Vicente Cueto, 2019, 13 minutes)

Film Programs: Virtual Cinema at the Gallery

Each Wednesday the Gallery shares a unique film on its website, free of charge, for one week. Join us for recent restorations, classic art cinema, exceptional documentaries, and a variety of films by artists. Click here to learn more.