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Madison Arts and Culture Alliance brings The Black Maria Film and Video Festival to town; Evening includes Bartleby, a film by South Orange filmmakers Gerard Amsellem and Richard Stephen Bell, with Playwrights Theatre of NJ’s Artistic Director John Pietrowski in a featured role.


Through a sponsorship from the Madison Arts and Culture Alliance, the Black Maria Film and Video Festival will make a stop at the Chase Room of the Madison Public Library, 39 Keep Street, Madison, NJ, on Friday, March 1 at 8:00 pm. Tickets for the event are $10 and are availableat the door. There are no advanced sales.

The evening will feature a number of short films and videos from 50 winning films selected from over 700 entries. Since 1981, the annual Black Maria Film and Video Festival, an international juried competition and award tour, has been fulfilling its mission to advocate, exhibit and reward cutting edge works from independent film and videomakers. Named by MovieMaker Magazine as one of the “25 Film Festivals Worth the Entry Fee,“ the festival is known for its national public exhibition program, which features a variety of bold contemporary works drawn from the annual collection. Every program presentation in the tour is custom curated to specific audiences and virtually every program is presented by the Festival Director John Columbus. The festival is named after The Black Maria, Thomas Edison’s film studio, the first such film studio in history. The festival website can be found at

“The Black Maria tour is an exciting evening of film and video. It’s not often that we can see innovative and well-constructed short films in a community setting. The shows are balanced and excellently curated. John Columbus presents a compelling and knowledgeable narrative that places the films in context and helps us to gain an insight into the more challenging work,” said Deborah Starker of the Madison Arts and Culture Alliance.

The March 1 program will include the short film Bartleby,from South Orange filmmakers Gerard Amsellem, who directed the piece, and Richard Stephen Bell, who adapted the screenplay from Herman Melville’s Bartleby the Scrivener. Bell is also featured in the movie, along with Playwrights Theatre of New Jersey’s Artistic Director John Pietrowski. The film has received a 2013 Director’s Citation from the Black Maria Film Festival, and has recently been made an “official selection” at the Garden State Film Festival, and will screen during the festival (April 4-7, 2013). Amsellem, Bell, and Pietrowski will be present in Madison for a post-viewing talkback session.

The program is part of the continuing efforts of the Madison Arts and Culture Alliance to promote and present quality arts and cultural offerings to Madison and the surrounding communities. A calendar of events and additional information on MACA can be found on their website at


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