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Contributed by Melissa Gattine on 02/26/2013
Patricia Zimmermann, professor of screen studies and codirector of the Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival, was invited to write the catalog essay for the 32nd Annual Black Maria Film and Video Festival.
Her essay, "Moana: Robert Flaherty, Frances Flaherty, and Documentary Fantasies," analyzes the history of Flaherty's 1926 film Moana, shot in Samoa. The docudrama prompted British producer and critic John Grierson to coin the term "documentary." This rarely seen film raises significant issues about fantasies of uncontaminated paradises and the ethics of documentary representation. Later, in the 1970s, Flaherty's daughter Monica and direct cinema legend Richard Leacock added new sound to the film, further complicating its history.
The Black Maria Film and Video Festival takes its name from Thomas Edison's West Orange New Jersey film studio. Focusing on films under 60 minutes in all genres, this major touring festival presents 60 programs to diverse audiences in over 20 states as well as internationally.