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All about FLEFF


Testimonials on FLEFF

Renate Ferro, New Media Artist

Past festival guests and collaborators share experiences


Our FLEFF experience is the highlight of every year at the theaters, allowing us to show more  innovative, offbeat, and socially conscious fare to an enthusiastic college and community audience.
--Lynne Cohen, Executive Director, 7th Art Corporation and  Manager, Cinemapolis and Fall Creek Pictures

Understanding the environment as natural and medial, plastic and electronic, toxic and wired, monied and pirated, FLEFF provides a unique festival platform for international interfaces of film, video, new media, and installation that demand critical reflection on environmental discomforts and creative solutions.
--Timothy Murray, curator, the Rose Goldsen Archive of New Media Art at Cornell University

In FLEFF, Voices from the Waters has found a vital and active partner from across the globe who have helped us and supported us as we grew from a Bangalore-based film festival to one of the biggest platforms in the world on water. The vision is the same. Not mere sloganeering but to reconnect the people with water as an ancient entity that is the source of all life. The vision is one of beauty and celebration. It is a vision we foster together for the future of our planet.
--Georgekutty, festival coordinator, Voices from the Waters Film Festival, Bangalore, India

is one of the most original and exciting festivals I’ve attended. The idea of embedding the screenings in regular classes is ingenious as it creates new and unexpected audiences for the work. I saw a lot of fabulous work and presentations, and made lasting contacts among fellow artists at the festival.

--Richard Fung, artist, Ontario College of Art and Design, Toronto

It has been a  special treat for me, as a guest artist, to perform at FLEFF for the past three years. FLEFF is well-organized, well-run and provides a great service to the community. From my perspective, the opportunity to perform live improvised sound tracks to interesting historic silent films and to collaborate with fine musicians and improvisers has pushed my career in new directions that I never dreamed of just a few years ago.
--Chris White, improvising cellist,

FLEFF is an extremely exciting happening in the vibrant cultural  landscape of Ithaca and upstate New York. A world-class film event showcasing important regional premieres along with diverse and intelligently curated films and videos, music and new media, the festival would be the pride of any metropolitan community. It represents a rare and valuable opportunity to come together around art and ideas in one of America's most beautiful and stimulating cities.
--Shannon Kelley, Gestor Artistico, Morelia International Film Festival, Morelia, Mexico

FLEFF was a wonderful experience for us and we really appreciated the invitation to participate. Besides the great name! FLEFF is a truly international and innovative festival with a unique and broad approach to enviromental concerns. The direction by Patty Zimmermann and Tom Shevory was inspired and they are clearly not afraid to takecreative risks.  The decision to include not just film but also music and new media art and installation work and presentations made for a very lively and involving event. There was an abundance  of stimulating conversations, films and talks – and particularly memorable was Mary Zebell's moving  installation, Counting... still a most vivid memory. So much to see and think about and  the engaged audiences, at others' and our own presentations, was a great testament to a well-conceptualised and carefully organised Festival.
--Maria Miranda and Norie Neumark, media artists  and Women Direct Distinguished Artists in 2006, Australia

FLEFF understands environment in its most holistic sense and demonstrates that understanding by knitting together film and video, university students and faculty, and the local community, in the most innovative ways. While most of the film festivals I go to are about the pleasure of viewing, FLEFF is about bringing people together for engagement and participation.
--Tim McCaskell, Activist, author, Race To Equity: Disrupting Educational Inequality, Canada

So much more than a film festival, FLEFF is a happening, a phenomenon, a provocation. FLEFF demolishes conventional boundaries between media, between arts and cultures, geographies and disciplines, landscapes and environments, us and them. FLEFF engages us in a new vision, plunges us into a new landscape and asks us to think and to act anew.
--Elisabeth Lyon is former Director of Development for Bona Fide Productions (Los Angeles) and teaches film studies at Hobart and William Smith Colleges.

The Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival --with its dedication to the environment, culture and politics --has become an international venue for an interdisciplinary group of individuals interested in art including film-makers, new media artists, musicians, conceptual artists, curators, and museum directors.
--Renate Ferro, new media artist and visiting assistant professor, Department of Art, Cornell University, USA

In a film festival landscape littered with swag and industry buzz, FLEFF is a refuge for intentioned film goers seeking cinematic experiences rich in ideas and calls to action.  As a film programmer and public media advocate, FLEFF for me was immersion therapy, an opportunity to recharge my batteries, experience new works of all genres in unique settings, converse with guest filmmakers, curators, scholars, IC students, faculty and community activists and be inspired by it all. 
--Gretjen Clausing, program director, Scribe Video Center

FLEFF brings the excitement of an international film festival to upstate New York.  Great films, stimulating discussions with filmmakers and enlightened audiences, convivial parties and much much more.
--Stuart Y. McDougal, film critic and author, most recently, of Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange

As a first time attendee and featured artist, I found FLEFF to be an extremely rewarding experience! The range and quality of films screened was remarkable. Many of these important, critical works are very difficult to gain access to and it was a pleasure to view them amongst a diverse audience. I also appreciated the intimacy of the screening andpanel venues, utilizing classrooms and local cinemas, that greatly contributed to an informed  dialogue with students, faculty and the local community throughout the festival event.

--Stephanie Rothenberg, new media artist,

The “E” in FLEFF plays itself out in the inclusive environment of the festival: people of different ages, interests, and cultures engaging with one another and a variety of art forms, including music, gaming, and dance. The films presented within this atmosphere remind us that our environment is not simply a physical or natural place but broadly encompasses our moral, social, economic, historical and global selves.  The “environment” is something you experience at the festival.  The festival is innovative” and meaningful.  I just want to add that FLEFF is fun.
--Jodi Cohen, former president of the Board of the 7th Art Corporation and professor of Speech Communication, Ithaca College

Economy and ecology share an etymology: "eco" from the Greek word  for "household."  At this moment in human history, we need,  desperately, to imagine how our two eco-systems--ecology and economy-- might sustain each other.  What should their reciprocal relationship  look like?  Nothing works better to prompt visionary thinking than  the medium of film.  That is why the Finger Lakes Environmental Film  Festival is one of the most vital cultural events in the nation.
--Sandra Steingraber, Ph.D., Scholar in Residence, Division of  Interdisciplinary and International Studies at Ithaca College and author of Living  Downstream: An Ecologist Looks at Cancer and the Environment, soon to  be released as a documentary film

 is a singularly unique film festival because it positions the environment as a global, social and economic issue. The support from Ithaca College has kept FLEFF independent from commercial influences---and thus able to maintain an uncompromising commitment to quality. This institutional protection of the ‘avant-garde’ in the arts is a very European concept that significantly distinguishes FLEFF from other film festivals. My personal experience with FLEFF has been multi fold.  As a musician,  I have been involved with several multimedia productions involving archival footage from the 
Human Studies Film Archives of the Smithsonian Institution. The professional handling of these complex avant-garde events by the FLEFF production team was extraordinary. I have also been involved as an advisor for musical events and programming streams-- a truly rewarding experience. Lastly, I have witnessed how FLEFF reaches out from the Ithaca community  to the world. And THAT is inspirational.
--Jairo Geronymo, pianist, Nurnberg, Germany

FLEFF codirectors Tom Shevory and Patty Zimmermann, along with their many international, national and local collaborators, bring meaningful, stimulating and provocative films to the Ithaca community that might not get to us otherwise.  As a Board member for Cinemapolis and Fall Creek theaters, I am personally dedicated to and passionate about insuring the future of independent, non-profit movie theaters—that’s economic sustainability in action, right here, in Ithaca. With their energy, excitement and hard work, Patty, Tom and the FLEFF team pack our theaters with an engaged audience each day of festival. They recently produced and spoke at  an eye-opening public forum after the Cinemapolis screening of the Academy Award short -isted documentary on Hurrican Katrina and poverty, Trouble the Water—and sold out every seat for the show.  I cannot thank them enough.
--Karin Strauss Ash, President, 7th Art (Cinemapolis and Fall Creek Theaters)

FLEFF is the perfect size festival -- small enough that you can have meaningful conversations with many of the participants, but big enough to allow for a good range of perspectives on the environment. The environmental theme is not your typical approach either. It is broadly interpreted to fit the complex times in which we live.
--Brooke Singer, new media artist, USA,

FLEFF's agility, programming and energy is a model for other film festivals across the United States, given its success in integrating students with Ithaca's local population as well as its emphasis on local politics meshed with global issues.  As a proud Ithaca College alum, I hope current Ithaca College students know how lucky they  are to be at the center of this event.  Last year's festival brought industry professionals, artists and filmmakers from a wide variety of audiovisual fields. The dozens of recently released art-house films screened there were some of  the most celebrated titles of 2007. So it's clear to me that FLEFF is not only a fantastic contribution to Ithaca's cultural and intellectual life, but also an event that deeply understands the world's political / audiovisual trends. For the sake of the  students and the city's community, I sincerely hope that FLEFF keeps on growing in the years ahead. I'm also still wondering how they managed to do all that with only a fraction of the staff used by other festivals... Great job!
-- Rodrigo Brandao, Director of Publicity at Kino International