The Black Maria Film and Video Festival is a juried festival which was proposed to the Thomas A. Edison National Historical Park 33 years ago and today operates out of New Jersey City University where it is a guest and independent non-profit organization. Following the festival's premier each February, it tours throughout mid winter and spring and winds down its season with a few shows each fall.
Among the festival's notable institutions are the National Gallery of Art in D.C., The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Savannah College of Art and Design, The Edison-Ford Winter Estates and Museum in Fort Myers, FL, University of Oregon, University of Colorado, University of the Arts, Philadelphia, The Des Moines Art Center, IA and many more. John Columbus, who is now the Artistic director, founded the festival in collaboration with the Thomas A. Edison National Historical Park in West Orange, NJ where the inventor built the world’s first motion picture studio in 1893. The studio was a curious contrivance which resembled police paddy wagons of the era, and was covered with black tarpaper, thus its unlikely appellation. But it represents a seminal moment in the history of films where only short works were made and first recorded motion pictures. It’s those possibilities of the moving image that motivated naming the festival after Mr. Edison’s film studio. Over all the years of the festival it has become known for it's commitment to the exploration of the potential of the moving image as a singular artistic medium and its potential to reveal the personal vision of independent and alternative makers and to the diversity of their sensibilities