A Film Festival Tour Comes to Town

The 41st Annual Thomas Edison Film Festival (formerly known as the Black Maria Film Festival) is the latest edition of an institute that has been in existence since 1981. The festival gathers cinematic works from the finest filmmakers throughout the world and provides awards for those who they deem the best of the outstanding achievements they experience. Categories for these awards include The Edison Innovation Award (EIA), The Jury’s Stellar Award, The Jury’s Choice Award, The Global Insights Award, The ADA Award, The Jury’s Citation Award, The Director’s Choice Award, and Awards for Honorable Mentions.

Those who organize the festival endeavor to share their discoveries with film lovers throughout the world. But, the sheer number of the films chosen makes it nearly impossible to screen all of them in one or even several settings. However, the festival provides a streaming service for those who would like to watch the films they select online as well as a tour of a portion of the films that are shown in film venues throughout the United States and occasionally beyond.

Saturday, May 21, 2022, The Pocono Cinema and Cultural Center in East Stroudsburg, PA, became one of the venues to present some of the award-winning films from The 41st Annual Thomas Edison Film Festival. After a brief welcoming statement by the President of the theater, Courtney Tolino, the event began with additional welcoming words addressed to the film lovers attending the festival by its touring director Jane Steuerwald. It was accompanied by an introduction to the festival and the films about to be seen. Shortly after she completed her welcoming introduction, the theater grew dark, and the first of many films began.

The first film to be shown was an Experimental film by Zillah Bowes from Cardiff, UK titled, “Allowed.” The next film was another Experimental film titled “Miles and Kilometres” and directed by Sonali Gulati from Richmond, VA. A Documentary titled “A Parisian Circus,” that was directed by Hugo Besson from Paris, France was shown and followed by “Babbit and the Dream Tree,” which was a Narrative film directed by Jeremy Mann from Oakland, CA. “My Brother is Deaf” was a Documentary film directed by Peter Hoffman Kimball from Bethesda, MD, and another documentary titled “The Sticklet Weaver,” directed by James Hollenbaugh from Harrisburg, PA, was shown next.

The festival continued with yet another documentary titled “Alone beneath the Northern Lights,” directed by Valentin Boitel-Denyset from Paris, France. An Experimental film titled “Lost Horse Valley,” directed by Caleb Smith from Harrisburg, PA was followed by “Ten Degrees of Strange,” which was an Animation piece directed by Lynn Tomlinson from Owings Mills, MD. The first set of films shown before an intermission concluded with a Documentary directed by Timon Birkhofer from Pasadena, CA, titled “Dawn.”

After the intermission, The Narrative films titled “Rivage (The Shore)” directed by Lisa Fuchs from Paris, France, and “Charon” directed by Yannick Karcher from Strasbourg, France. The festival screenings concluded with a short Screen Dance film titled “Digital Afterlives,” directed by Richard James Allen and Karen Pearlman from Surry Hills, which is an inner-city suburb of Sydney in the state of New South Wales, Australia. Ms. Steuerwald returned to the front of the theater as the lights began to grow and thanked the audience for their attendance while introducing filmmaker Jim Hollenbaugh who directed “The Sticklet Weaver,” to the gathering. A question and answer session took place, which produced an engaging dialogue between everyone who participated. The afternoon came to its conclusion and a number of farewells took place as Ms. Steuerwald, Mr. Hollenbaugh, and the film lovers left the theater.

Since 1981, the mission of the Thomas Edison Film Festival (TEFF) has been to promote innovation in the art of the moving image and advocating for independent filmmakers through a juried international competition celebrating all genres and hybrids from filmmakers around the world. According to its website, The festival reaches out to diverse audiences with provocative, timely, edgy, and compelling new works through a socially conscious, modern, fiercely independent traveling festival for short films. To learn more about the Thomas Edison Film Festival (TEFF) and all its endeavors can do so by exploring its website at www.Tefilmfest.org.

Filmmakers who would like to participate in the 42nd Thomas Edison Film Festival may do so by entering their cinematic endeavors. The early bird entry dates are from June 1 to July 31, 2022. Their regular submission dates are from August 1 to October 15, 2022. Entries may learn more about the festival and submit their work to www.filmfreeway.com/Thomasedisionfilmfestival.

The Pocono Cinema and Cultural Center in East Stroudsburg, PA, opened in 1884 as The Academy of Music which was a vaudeville theater and opera house. The establishment was converted to a movie theater in 1913 and it was the first of its kind in Monroe County. The theater suffered a devastating fire in 1929 but was rebuilt and reopened on January 9, 1930. It was known as the Grand Movie theater and (along with the Sherman Theater) showed mainstream films until 1970, when it began showing adult films.

The theater discontinued showing films when it became a carpet store until 1996 when John Yetter and Carolyn bought it and named it The Pocono Cinema, which began showing independent films that had unique points of view and artistic merits that conventional theaters did not. Mr. Yetter eventually left the endeavor and several individuals attempted to keep the treater operational with little success. This changed when the theater was purchased by Daniel Dunn and Skip Scheetz and opened in 2008 as a non-profit endeavor named The Pocono Community Theater. The theater was later taken over by its board of directors in 2015 and changed its name to its current title. You can learn more about The Pocono Cinema and Cultural Center and all its endeavors to serve the community by exploring its website at www.PoconoCinema.org.

The Pocono Cinema and Cultural Center in East Stroudsburg, PA, now shows a variety of films along with special events and amenities. These include providing a meal from Rogue Tacos for their dinner and a movie discount, combo packages consisting of a movie ticket along with a small bag of popcorn and soda, and special premiers of big-budgeted films. You can learn more about their upcoming art-related events and opportunities by visiting The Forwardian Community Arts Calendar at www.facebook.com/forwardiancommunityartscalendar.

See more photos at https://photos.app.goo.gl/LXwSbpt41fBWNEjq9