About this blog
The Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival from the interns' point of view
Thursday, March 6, 2014
Blogging Post by Alexis Lanza, Film, Photography, and Visual Arts '15, FLEFF Blogger, Enfield, CT
I joined the FLEFF blogging team not knowing what to expect. All I knew was I wanted to learn and I wanted to write about it. My job is a blogger. I am a number; part of a group that is part of a larger group. We are the festival team.
The theme is dissonance. It's all we've been talking about for weeks. Every time I interview someone, I ask, “What does dissonance mean to you?” because every person has a different answer.
I have learned that festivals are a place for thought, discussion, and ideas to mass together in the same pot. I am excited for this. I think FLEFF is fascinating and every person who I have talked to has been completely different. It's a giant pot of soup with ingredients and flavors that somehow meld together to create an unexpectedly pleasant, bold, and unforgettable flavor. By result of some happy circumstance, I have been able to talk with people who offered an insight on something that directly correlated with my life: a concept I learned in class the day before that made me question my opinions, an idea I was on the fence about, or perhaps something that has been floating in the gray matter of my brain for awhile now.
I was given the privilege to speak with Karen Rodriguez, Upstate Filmmakers Showcase Curator, who talked with me about her experiences in the Pacific Northwest and experimental film. Hearing her story was the encouragement I needed to solidify my desire to move to Seattle and pursue what life has to offer me there. My blogging team also had the pleasure of Skyping with Leila Nadir, co-founder of ecoarttech (and her dogs!). Leila talked with us about the environment, nature, and her work. For that whole week, I had been subject to discussion along similar veins, focusing mainly on the National Parks, in my Environmental Anthropology class. I had been visibly struggling as these ideas threatened to irrevocably destroy everything that was important to me in my life before I questioned these topics. Without even realizing it, Leila put my mind at ease and helped me to see, as she put it, that nature “exists, but it's constructed.”
Dissonance. Throwing a wrench into the mix. I experience this every day. Although a contributor to opening my mind, thus far FLEFF has also been a way for me to calm the dissonances in my life and in that way fully grasp the lessons the world is trying to teach me. These two examples embody the feelings I have been experiencing as a blogger for FLEFF the past couple months. I am a little tentative— but mostly excited— for the festival week, when every day will be these experiences one after another. I am open and ready to question the world.
Thursday, March 6, 2014
Blog post by Haley Stearns, Still Photography '15, FLEFF Blogger, Buffalo, New York
When I first donned by FLEFF Staff t-shirt, I can honestly say I felt a sense of belonging and pride. This took place during my first year of college when I began my FLEFF journey as an intern. Two years later and being a blogger this year has taught me more than I could have expected about the Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival and other film festivals in general.
Beginning as a blogger was somewhat of an intimidating experience for me. I had never posted on a blog, let alone conducted weekly interviews before. Being a FLEFF blogger has placed me outside of my comfort zone and forced me to learn different ways of gathering and distributing information. Learning to analyze rather than generalize has been a bit of a challenge for me, but one that I am embracing fully.
In terms of this year’s festival, the theme of dissonance encourages me to not only to embrace discord, but also seek it out. Through this experience, I have witnessed and experienced perspective-altering discussions and interpretations that come from dissonant topics. I used to strive for consonance in my life. Being a part of FLEFF has taught me that dissonance has the ability to play an integral role in developing personal beliefs, attitudes, and perspective.
I’m really looking forward to FLEFF week and being able to experience all of the different events that are planned this year. FLEFF has a remarkable way of connecting the local community of Ithaca, New York to the global world in which we live. Having the opportunity to learn about new ideas, meets new people, and explore different avenues of thought through an international film festival is bound to be incredibly rewarding for all.
Wednesday, March 5, 2014
Being a FLEFF blogger has absolutely been one thing above all else: challenging. I have read and reread critical film festival theory books, such as Film Festivals and Activism, as I have become immersed in this historical and forward moving industry. I have written and rewritten blogs while attempting to refine my blogging skills. As someone with little skill in theater, I have stepped out of my comfort zone practicing and performing flash mobs – dancing, posing and all.
Honestly, I wouldn’t have it any other way. To challenge a student is to insight engagement, critical participation and progressive thought. As an upcoming Ithaca College graduate, FLEFF has pushed my abilities in blogging and media industries, preparing me to step out into the new media world as a skilled and capable individual.
My favorite aspect of being a FLEFF blogger is the genuine feeling of being part of a team. From interviewing filmmaker like Mara Alper to attending Cloud Chamber Orchestra’s accompaniment of Grass: A Nation’s Battle for Life (1925), my team has had amazing opportunities and stimulating experiences.
As FLEFF rapidly approaches I continue to look forward to a plethora of upcoming films, projects and events – especially the world premiere of the film Cotton Road, a continuation of the new media project that traces the cotton industry.
Tuesday, March 4, 2014
Blog posting written by Lucy Yang, Journalism and Politics, '14, FLEFF Blogger, Puyang, Henan, China
This film has won the Best Screenplay Award of Cannes Film Festival 2013 and is on the top of every film critic’s list of the year. Jia Zhangke, the director and screenwriter of the film, is one of the most influential figures of the “Sixth Generation” filmmakers of Chinese cinema.
The film tells four individual stories that are adapted from four real events in China. Jia has done a splendid job transforming these social events and news reports into his screenplay.
An angry miner revolts against the corruption of his village leaders. A migrant worker at home for the New Year discovers the infinite possibilities a firearm can offer. A pretty receptionist at a sauna is pushed to the limit when a rich client assaults her. A young factory worker goes from job to job trying to improve his lot in life. Four people, four different provinces. A reflection on contemporary China: that of an economic giant slowly being eroded by violence.
A Touch of Sin was originally planned to screen in China in November, 2013, but was eventually censored by the state.
Sunday, March 2, 2014
The last decade has seen an unprecedented spur of ideas and technology that has made the world smaller and brought global communities closer together. Along with these innovations, media has evolved to become more and more accessible to the public.
This is why Rachel Maus, a junior cinema and photography major at Ithaca College and intern for the Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival, believes media is not only significant, but has incredible potential for social change in this day and age.
"There are different forms of media ... so it’s so easy for people to make it, which means that it’s so easy for so many people to get involved with it," she said. "That’s why I think it’s important, because it’s something that anybody can get involved in. You dont have to be a professional in order to experience creating media."
Maus was an intern for the festival two years ago, her freshman year at the college. At FLEFF, she was able to experience films and new media projects that sparked discourse on social issues. Films like Beijing is Besieged by Waste, which she saw at the festival, brought to light the garbage that contaminates the environment in Beijing and the lives of those who put themselves at risk to work in the wastelands.
"You just never think about some things that are going on in the rest of the world," she said. "FLEFF really draws attention not just to filmmakers that we wouldn’t normally be exposed to but also issues that we wouldn’t be exposed to."
She said participating as an intern so early in her college career also helped boost her confidence to be involved in social activism and achieve her goal of working in film production. The festival offered her a space to initiate intelligent discussions with people in the film industry and others who attend the festival and are interested in social issues.
"One of the great things about FLEFF, especially the internship program, is that it’s not just hanging around and passing out fliers and selling merchandise, but you actually learn how to interact with people at a festival," she said.
This year, Maus encourages students from all schools and departments at Ithaca College to become more involved with the festival. It's a "tremendous opportunity," she said, one students should not miss.