Film Focus Weekend: Featuring Ric Burns

Join us for our third Film Focus Weekend with special guest and acclaimed documentary filmmaker, Ric Burns. He will be presenting two great works, Ansel Adams and The Pilgrims, from an amazing career that has spanned thirty years. This year we also host the return of The Black Maria Film Festival. Join Jane Steuerwald, the Executive Director of Black Maria for enlightening Q & A’s before and after the films. On Saturday night join Alexander Heffner, host of Channel Thirteen’s long running television program The Open Mind, as he hosts a panel discussion on the state of documentary filmmaking. Guests on the panel include filmmakers Ric Burns, Seth Kramer, Pegi Vail and Melvin Estrella. Weekend events include a late-night showing of The Shining, Seth Kramer’s film The Anthropologist, Pegi Vail and Melvin Estrella’s film Gringo Trails, and a cocktail class and tasting featuring cocktails inspired by the movies.

The Black Maria Film Festival was founded in 1981 and is named after Thomas Edison's first movie production studio in West Orange, New Jersey. It is a juried competition of new short works in all genres, held annually. Following the Festival's premier in February, it travels throughout the year and across the US and abroad.

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Mohonk Mountain House is a National Historic Landmark resort located just 90 miles north of New York City. Overnight rates include breakfast, lunch, dinner, afternoon tea and cookies, and most activities, including hiking and use of the indoor heated swimming pool and fitness center in our Spa wing.


FILM FOCUS EVENTS

Friday | Saturday | Sunday | Program Leaders |

Friday, January 20

4:00 p.m.  Ansel Adams, a film by Ric Burns
Running time: 100 minutes
Join us for the first film of the weekend, a ninety-minute film biography of the great American photographer, broadcast nationally in April 2002 as a part of the PBS series American Experiences. The film explores the meaning and legacy of Adams’ life and work. At the center of the film are the great themes that absorbed Adams throughout his career: the beauty and fragility of “the American earth,” the inseparable bond of man and nature and the moral obligation the present owes to the future.

8:45 p.m.  Selected Shorts from The Black Maria Film Festival
The Black Maria is back again this year with a powerful line-up of documentary shorts from the 35th Black Maria Film Festival.  Based at NJ City University, the Black Maria focuses exclusively on the short form including narrative, documentary, experimental, and narrative genres.  The selections for Mohonk’s Film Focus weekend feature an outstanding collection of documentaries from the 2016 season and a special preview from the 2017 touring collection presented by Festival Director Jane Steuerwald. Prepare to be inspired, amused and touched with this rich and varied collection of short films. After the films join us in the Lake Lounge for . . .

10:00 p.m.  Meet, Greet, Music, and Refreshments
Mingle with our group leaders, talk films, and enjoy a cocktail from our cash bar.


Saturday, January 21

9:00 a.m.  Environmental Shorts from The Black Maria's Global Insights Collection
Running time: 60 minutes
These films were selected for our Film Focus Weekend by Jane Steuerwald, Executive Director of the Thomas A. Edison Media Arts Consortium - Black Maria Film Festival 

10:30 a.m.  The Anthropologist
A Film by Seth Kramer, Daniel A. Miller, and Jeremy Newberger

Running time: 80 minutes
The Anthropologist examines climate change like no other film before. The fate of the planet is considered from the perspective of American teenager Katie Crate. Over the course of five years, she travels alongside her mother Susie, an anthropologist studying the impact of climate change on indigenous communities. Their journey parallels that of renowned anthropologist Margaret Mead, who for decades sought to understand how global change affects remote cultures.

2:00 p.m.  The Pilgrims, a film by Ric Burns
Running time: 120 minutes
Followed by an Interview and Q&A hosted by Alexander Heffner
The Pilgrims explores the forces, circumstances, personalities and events that converged to propel their crossing, a story universally familiar in broad outline, but almost entirely unfamiliar to a general audience in its rich and compelling historical actuality, and rarely presented in the broad global context required.

5:00 p.m.  Tasting: Classic Cocktails Inspired by the Movies*
Learn tips and techniques for creating classic cocktails as you sample specialty drinks inspired by the movies!           
*Note: Pre-registration is required. There is a $30 per person program fee for admittance to the tasting. Space is limited. Participants must be age 21 or over to attend.

9:00 p.m.  Film Focus Panel Discussion
Join Alexander Hefner, host of Channel Thirteen’s long running television program The Open Mind, as he hosts a panel discussion on the state of documentary filmmaking, followed by a Q&A session. Guests on the panel include filmmakers Ric Burns, Seth Kramer, Pegi Vail and Melvin Estrella.  Refreshments will be available.

11:00 p.m.  The Shining
Running time: 146 minutes (Rated R)
Test your nerve and join us for a late night showing of Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining. Warning! This film is not for the little ones or the faint of heart.


Sunday, January 22

9:00 a.m.  Environmental Shorts from The Black Maria's Global Insights Collection
Running time: 60 minutes
These films were selected for our Film Focus Weekend by Jane Steuerwald, Executive Director of the Thomas A. Edison Media Arts Consortium - Black Maria Film Festival 

10:30 a.m.  Gringo Trails
Pegi Vail & Melvin Estrella
Running time: 80 minutes
Are backpackers destroying the planet—or saving it? How do travelers change the remote places they visit, and how are they changed? From the Bolivian jungle to the party beaches of Thailand, and from the deserts of Timbuktu, Mali to the breathtaking beauty of Bhutan, Gringo Trails traces stories over the course of thirty years to show the dramatic long-term impact of tourism on cultures, economies, and the environment.


Black Maria Film Festival – Mission and History:
For thirty-five years the Black Maria Film Festival has been celebrating creativity and innovation in the moving-image arts. The Festival’s home is New Jersey City University in New Jersey, not far from the site of Thomas Edison’s original film studio in West Orange, known as the “Black Maria.” The name comes from Edison’s employees, who thought the studio’s boxy shape and black tarpaper covering resembled the so-called “Black Maria” police paddy wagons.

The Black Maria Film Festival was founded in 1981. It is a juried competition of new short works in all genres, held annually. Following the Festival's premier in February, it travels throughout the year and across the US and abroad.

The films that become the centerpiece of the Black Maria Film Festival honor the vision of Thomas Edison, New Jersey inventor and creator of the motion picture.  The Festival reaches out to diverse audiences in diverse settings including universities, museums, libraries, community organizations, and arts venues. The cutting edge, cross-genre work that makes up the Festival’s touring program, has been traveling across the country and abroad every year for decades. 

The focus is on short films – narrative, experimental, animation, and documentary - including those, which address issues and struggles within contemporary society such as the environment, public health, race and class, family, sustainability, and much more. These exceptional works range from animation, comedy, and drama to the exploration of pure form in film and video and are the heart and soul of the festival. 


Program Leaders

Jane Steuerwald is the Executive Director of the Thomas A. Edison Media Arts Consortium - Black Maria Film Festival. 

She studied film, photo and video at Syracuse University and film at Bard College with Adolfas Mekas.  Prior to taking over as the Executive Director, she served as a member of the Board of Trustees of the Black Maria Film Festival for many years. Her films have been shown in arts venues and festivals including MoMA; the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.; the Thalia Cinema; Anthology Film Archives; The Gramercy Theater; the Jersey City Museum; the Atlanta Film Festival; Athens International Film Festival; Millennium Film; and The Kitchen. Her film The Memory Box toured with the Black Maria and was featured at MoMA as part of the Festival’s 25th Anniversary Retrospective in 2006. Her video is in the permanent collection of the Donnell Media Center. Steuerwald has taught film and video production at New Jersey City University for 36 years.

Ric Burns is an internationally recognized documentary filmmaker and writer, best known for his eight-part, seventeen-and-a-half hour series, New York: A Documentary Film, which premiered nationally on PBS to wide public and critical acclaim when broadcast in November 1999, September 2001, and September 2003.

His work has won numerous film and television awards including six Emmy Awards, two George Foster Peabody Awards, two Alfred I. DuPont-Columbia University Awards, three Writer’s Guild of America Awards for Outstanding Individual Achievement in a Craft: Writing; the Eric Barnouw Award of the Organization of American Historians, and the D.W. Griffith Award of the National Board of Review.

Seth Kramer directed The Anthropologist with his Ironbound Films partners Daniel A. Miller and Jeremy Newberger. Their last film Evocateur: The Morton Downey Jr. Movie premiered at Tribeca and aired on CNN in 2015 to rave reviews. Earlier films include The New Recruits, which was narrated by Rainn Wilson, aired on PBS, and was nominated for an Emmy in 2011; and The Linguists, which premiered at Sundance, aired on PBS, and in 2010 was also nominated for an Emmy. Kramer resides in Red Hook, NY with his family.

Pegi Vail (Director/Producer) is an anthropologist and filmmaker at the Center for Media, Culture, and History at NYU. Pegi teaches documentary production through the Program in Culture and Media in the Department of Anthropology at NYU. She is a former Fulbright scholar, has previously taught at Columbia University and lectured on travel study tours with the Columbia Alumni Travel Study Program, Smithsonian, and National Geographic. As a curator, she collaborates with colleagues at NYC arts and cultural institutions such as the National Museum of the American Indian, Museum of Natural History, MoMA, and through organizations such as the The Moth, the storytelling collective she was a founding board member and curator for. Vail is a sustainable travel consultant who additionally serves as a judge for National Geographic’s World Legacy Awards. Most recently, she was the cultural advisor and APP co-writer for Felix & Paul Studios’ Nomads virtual reality (VR) series for Oculus / Samsung / Facebook. 

Melvin Estrella (Director of Photography/Producer) has worked in numerous capacities within the independent film arena as well as within commercial, television, and non-profit production. Clients have included ESPN It’s the Shoes, Filmlance Sweden The Last Contract, Daniel Fridell Beneath the Surface, Galavision, 3rd Edge Communications, Hock Films, House Films, Make a Wish, and TV-One. Melvin shot and produced the documentary, The Dodgers Sym-Phony and is the director of photography on the documentary-in-progress Wall Street in the Black. His short film, Firebird, premiered at Jazz at Lincoln Center during the New York Indian Film Festival. Melvin was on the founding board for The Moth.

Alexander Heffner is host of The Open Mind on PBS, a weekly excursion into the world of ideas, across science, technology, politics, the arts and all realms of civic life. His work has been profiled by Variety, The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, New Hampshire Magazine and on CNN, C-SPAN, NY1, HuffPost Live and BBC, among other media outlets. His essays, reviews and op-eds have appeared in Reuters, RealClearPolitics, Fortune, The New York Times, Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, The Boston Globe, and The Root, among other publications (www.alexanderheffner.com).


See you there!

Book Now

For reservations, please call .