About this blog
The Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival from the interns' point of view
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.
Sunday, March 2, 2014
Blog posting by Kayla Reopelle, Documentary Studies and Production ’14, FLEFF Blogger, Roy, WA
Leslie Thompson, senior Film, Photography and Visual arts major from Annapolis, Maryland, leaned against the black leather couch in the Ithaca College Photo Gallery. She just finished testing some new techniques in the lab for her darkroom photography class.
“[I like] trying out new things, testing and manipulating material, just playing with things, and being okay with failure.”
Thompson transferred to Ithaca last year after studying at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design her freshman year and at a community college near her home her sophomore year.
Photography has been Thompson’s passion for a long time, but during her sophomore year she became interested in film. When she found Ithaca College’s BFA program, she saw it as a perfect fit.
“[Film is] an escape... it’s nice to be able to immerse yourself in something that isn’t necessarily your reality. Opposite of that, pretty much 90 percent of my photography is self portraits.
“Both [are] honestly a nice way to express yourself without having to be loud about it. You can hide behind it a little bit, but you can still get your thoughts out there.”
When she came to Ithaca, she saw FLEFF T-shirts and stickers everywhere. Once she learned what the acronym stood for, she wanted to get involved.
“I’ve been interested in film festivals from afar. I had never really worked on them. I had some experience working with Bonnaroo, music festivals, so it seemed like a really good opportunity to do something...with my peers and experience what a film festival is.”
Thompson took the Festivals mini-course last year and works as an intern for the festival this year.
She’s looking forward to interacting with filmmakers. Thompson expects it will be challenging, yet beneficial: challenging because she isn’t comfortable with “casual schmoozing,” beneficial for the different perspectives these filmmakers acquired through their work in the field.
Her advice for students is to immerse themselves in the festival.
“Go to as many films as you can. I didn’t go to quite as many as I could have last [year] and I think it was definitely a missed opportunity. If you can swing it or afford it definitely go as much as you can.”
Saturday, March 1, 2014
Blog post by Blaize Hall, Television-Radio Communications, '15, Georgia, VT
We meet in “the Pub” or IC Square, which is noisy and crowded with students having lunch, working on projects and studying. She rushes over to the table, carrying a large school bag. Leah Galant is a busy girl.
The first few minutes of our conversation consist of swapping stories of our jam-packed weeks, with assignments due before Spring Break, and our multitude of other extracurricular commitments outside of FLEFF.
The FLEFF student positions have undergone much restructuring for the 2014 festival. More clearly defined responsibilities for bloggers and interns has translated into a more concrete hierarchy of communication within the FLEFF staff. Leah works as the Assistant to the Internship Coordinator for FLEFF this year.
Leah serves as a liaison to the Internship Coordinator, and also works to aid the two Assistants to the Co-directors, Tiffani-Amber Muller, and Chenruo Zhang in their communications with the interns. Leah fields questions from her peers, and is taking a role in planning the intern retreat, a training event for the intern team.
Leah has a history with FLEFF, having served as an intern and a team leader in past years. She also works for the All American High School Film Festival as a volunteer coordinator. “It’s been a really exciting experience to work for festivals, to help plan, to recruit volunteers, to promote them, and it’s so rewarding when it all comes together. It’s really rewarding,” she said.
Future career goals for Leah involve combining her knowledge of film festivals with her passion for documentary work. Last semester she worked on a student documentary called “Beyond the Wall” about a man recently released from the Auburn Correctional Facility after about twenty years . The film examined what reintegration into society is like post-prison. She and her team already sold the viewing rights to Cornell University and are currently submitting the film to festivals and waiting to hear back.
Documentary studies majors at Ithaca College have to acquire a minor to round out their education. Leah studies sociology for her minor. She explained, “I think it’s a great combination with documentary film making. In order to make something that you’re going to show the public, it’s important to have a sociological background so you’re not doing more injustice to the film. If you are trying to make a film for social change, this understanding will help it actually be effective.”