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Thomas Edison Film Festival

February 17, 2023 @ 8:00 am - February 25, 2023 @ 5:00 pm

Thomas Edison Film Festival website header


Over 40 years of Festival Screenings

Thomas Edison Film Festival and the Lewis Center for the Arts, Princeton University,
present TEFF’s 42nd Annual Premiere


February 17, 2023 @6:30pm

The 42nd season of the renowned Thomas Edison Film Festival (TEFF) will premiere with a screening, a virtual discussion with filmmakers, and films available to view on-demand, presented in collaboration with Princeton University’s Lewis Center for the Arts. TEFF’s in-person premiere opens at the James Stewart Film Theater at Princeton with a reception, screening of five Stellar Award-winning films, and a Q&A with filmmaker Janelle VanderKelen present.


February 18, 2023 @6pm

February 18 at 6:00 p.m. online via Zoom (no advance registration (required) for live-streamed discussion with eight filmmakers. February 18-25 to view all seven films on-demand at www.tefilmfest.org and click on “Watch the premiere on-demand.” Admission is free to the public and the zoom link will be available on our website.


February 17-25, 2023

The festival received 585 submissions for the 2023 season from every continent except Antarctica. The five Stellar Award-winning films being screened on February 17 are:

Cornucopia, an animated film by Ani Antonova and Dimiter Ovtcharov of Vienna, Austria, in which a man wanders in constant search and pursuit, driven by the longing for a magical cornucopia. His vicissitudes are brought to life on an ancient vase’s surface.

Inside the Beauty Bubble, a documentary by Cheryl Bookout of Joshua Tree, California, and Cheri Gaulke of Los Angeles. The film follows a renowned collector of hair artifacts fighting to keep his desert dreams alive. The Beauty Bubble Salon & Museum in Joshua Tree is the magical and kitsch-filled brainchild of Jeff Hafler. The film covers a year in the life of Jeff and his roadside attraction as the salon faces lockdowns, protests, and massive societal change. It is a film about family, fabulousness and folk art, a film that reminds us that it’s sometimes the strong people on the margins that hold a community together.

Language Unknown, an experimental film by Janelle VanderKelen of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, embraces plant sentience as fact and speculates how beings of the vegetal variety might approach interspecies communication with humans (who are far more sensorially limited). Leaves, mycelium, and roots playfully examine how humans experience the world, and the (supposedly) silent watchers consider what language those swift human blurs might possibly understand.

The Boy Who Couldn’t Feel Pain, a narrative film by Eugen Merher of Berlin, Germany, is set in Grants, New Mexico and tells the story of small-town legend, Chester, a street fighter who can’t feel any pain. When Annie, a bowling alley employee who just moved into town challenges him to a fight, things begin to change.

The Shimmering Extraordinary is a film in the genre of screen dance by FX Goby and the Scottish Ballet in Glasgow. Commissioned as part of the Scottish Ballet’s Safe to Be Me Festival, a digital festival of dance that celebrates diversity, this film is inspired by themes of acceptance, identity, and respect. Bringing together artists from various backgrounds, six short portraits focus on the stories of six individual dancers: Annie Edwards, Hayaat Zahra Shah, Madeline Squire, Mukeni Nel, Nikita Gold and Saul Nash.

These five films are among those also available to screen on-demand from February 18 through 25. Two additional films available on-demand are:

In Love with a Problem, a documentary film by Julie Kim of Vancouver in Canada, is the recipient of the festival’s Global Insights Stellar Award. As told through the film, Miranda Wang and Jeanny Yao were still in high school when they discovered plastic-eating bacteria in Vancouver’s Fraser River. Passionate about the problem of plastic waste, the two millennial innovators are now on an inspiring journey to solve it. Their dedication has taken them all the way from Vancouver to Silicon Valley. From bacteria to cutting edge chemistry, their story has illuminated one of our earth’s biggest eco disasters.

Chicken, winner of the festival’s Diversity, Equity, Access and Inclusion Award, is a narrative film by Lucy McNulty and Emma Pollard of Vancouver, Canada. When Sam splits up with her partner, she is forced to move back into her childhood home with her mother and Emmett, her neurodivergent brother. When depression sinks in, her brother gets in her face trying to cheer her up and in doing so makes everything worse. But when Emmett is confronted with a situation at a baseball game where he is called a chicken, Sam rises to the challenge to come to his aid and is reminded of what is truly important. Chicken features a neurodivergent cast and crew and is written and directed by women.

To view all seven films on-demand go to www.tefilmfest.org and click on “Watch the premiere on-demand.”


February 17, 2023 @ 8:00 am
February 25, 2023 @ 5:00 pm

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