About this blog
The Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival from the interns' point of view
Saturday, February 22, 2014
Margaux Neiderbach is the Director of Student and Young Alumni Programs at Cornell University where she graduated in 1999. She also serves as a member of the Cinemapolis Board.
What do you do for FLEFF and year round as a member of the Cinemapolis board?
I volunteer as a greeter for FLEFF and have enjoyed attending many of the films that I would not otherwise have had the opportunity to see.
As a board member, I've been involved with special events such as the "Local Favorites" series, events surrounding the digital conversion, and the annual "And the Winner Is" fundraising gala, which will be held this year on 3/2/14.
I know Cinemapolis has converted to all digital projectors. How will this affect FLEFF, whether positivity or negatively?
The board is thrilled about the digital conversion and our movie-going audience is benefiting from it as well. The visuals and sound quality are infinitely better. FLEFF films can now be screened at a higher quality.
Tell me about a challenging aspect of your job, which, despite being difficult, has been rewarding?
Many community members don't realize that Cinemapolis is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that relies heavily on individual donations and grants. The theater depends on membership and donations, not only for the digital conversion, but also for day-to-day operations.
Informing individuals about the theater's unique role and importance in our community and nonprofit status can sometimes be a challenge. There are many ways that Cinemapolis benefits the community through lectures, talk-backs, cry-baby cinema, FLEFF, and much, much more that would not necessarily take place at a commercial venue.
Can you give me your “Top 3” memories from FLEFF where you remember feeling amazed and proud to be part of the festival?
Volunteering for FLEFF has provided me the opportunity to meet and speak with fascinating film directors and producers and spend time with dedicated Ithaca College students. I've seen incredible films from around the world and from our own backyard. This annual local tradition holds such an important place in the diverse local culture.
Do you have any words of wisdom for this year's FLEFF goers?
Check out the schedule in advance, buy a festival pass, bring your friends, and see as many movies as you can!
Friday, February 21, 2014
Sundance. Venice. Cannes. Berlin. Tribeca. Austin. Hot Docs. Ann Arbor.
Well-known film festivals from around the big wide world have the glamour of foreign lands and international fame. However, for college student, affording trips and tickets to these fabulous events can be difficult, to say the least.
Which brings me to FLEFF – an intellectually engaging, thought provoking film festival. And it’s right here in Ithaca.
Recently, the FLEFF blogging team generated a list of 17 reasons Ithaca students should attend FLEFF, in honor of its 17th birthday. Presenting Number 16: You don't have to go to France to experience a film festival.
FLEFF has everything and more: censored films such as the upcoming “A Touch of Sin,” captivating performances by world renowned musician Jairo Geronymo, remarkable guest speakers, and explorative new media artists like Nicholas Knouf.
Stay close in Ithaca. Have some popcorn. Go to FLEFF. There’s no place like home, right?
Friday, February 21, 2014
Blog post written by Blaize Hall, '15, Television-Radio Communications, Georgia, Vermont.
Edited excerpts from a personal interview with Mead Loop, Associate Professor and Documentary Studies Program Coordinator, Department of Journalism, Ithaca College
Q: I’d like to hear about your experience as an adjudicator for The Dissonance Project that FLEFF ran this spring for high school students. Will you tell me about it?
A: The dissonance contest was an attempt to push our outreach with FLEFF to the high school audience. That’s generally the audience that doesn’t attend FLEFF, so we’re broadening that focus. We had submissions from as far away as Texas. The responses ranged in topics from personal dissonances in their lives, to one person who wrote about dissonance surrounding conflict in the Middle East.
Q: Do you think this will prompt students to travel to FLEFF and bring their families, or was the purpose more to get students involved in film festival culture at a younger age?
A: Well, we chose five submissions as grand prize winners, and we are inviting them to Ithaca for FLEFF. Whether someone from Texas chooses to come is up to them. It’s not our real focus whether they are twelfth grade, headed to college, or somewhere in high school and eventually headed to college. But, I suppose for some it will be an introduction to Ithaca College.
Q: It seems a common theme in a lot of the conversations I’ve had that youth, even up through college, tend to be a lesser part of the population at festivals. Why do you think that is?
A: It’s just the nature of giving up a couple weeks from school. There will be classes in session at the end of March, beginning of April, so I think it’s just a factor. There are after-school activities and homework.
Q: Can we go back and talk more about the dissonance writing contest? I’d like to hear more about the winning essay.
A: Sure, the winner actually was the girl who wrote about conflict in the Middle East. Of course, it’s a 2,000-year-old conflict, but it was her evaluation of right and wrong, and both sides having claims.
Q: Did she say why this topic was important to her?
A: She didn’t. I could hazard a guess that it may be something she learned about in high school and wanted to explore. The title is “Approaching the Arab-Israeli Conflict With an Open Mind”. She talked about the political, nationalistic, and religious dispute over Jerusalem. It’s such a contentious issue. The tendency is for people to come down hard on one side or the other, but she evaluated both.
Q: Thank you. My other question for you is this: You are a journalism professor, and, of course, the writing contest could be considered journalism related. How did you originally become involved with FLEFF? I think a lot of people have the concept that it’s a strictly film focused experience, and clearly it does cross departments.
A: Well, FLEFF is sort of the physical representation of our documentary studies degree. We emphasize non-fiction. Within that broader realm, there are lots of ways you can go, including experimental journalism. If you look at how we structured that degree, we have the journalism component, we have the television production component, we have the cinema verite or view as well. It’s defined pretty broadly in the degree, and if you’ve attended FLEFF, it’s all over there. There’s a general theme, and a lot of things fit under that.
Q: Speaking of the theme, how do you think dissonance fits into the environmental theme?
A: The only constant is the change in our Earth. We are evolving and devolving. It’s not as if our environment is static. It’s always changing, sometimes for the good, sometimes for the bad.
Q: Thank you. Any closing words?
A: Come and enjoy!
Thursday, February 20, 2014
Dr. Auyash, the Associate Professor and Department Chair of the Health Promotion and Physical Education (HSHP) department at Ithaca College, sees FLEFF as far more than a festival – because in reality it is so much more than a festival.
“One of the things I love about FLEFF is that it’s not just about film,” said Dr. Auyash. “It’s websites, activism, guest speakers, music; even parties downtown where students can meet filmmakers, activists, distributors just to talk about what life is like outside of our narrow professional areas.”
This year, like they have in the past, HSHP is partnering with FLEFF. Along with the FLEFF mini-course Dr. Auyash is teaching, HSHP also hosts a Global Citizens Speaker Series during FLEFF week. They bring the speaker and FLEFF provides the promotion.
Last year in his International Scholarly Conversation course, HSHP brought in Dominica Dipio, a Fulbright Scholar, from Kennesaw State University and Makerere University, Kampala, Uganda. She spoke at Ithaca College but also screened her film “Crafting the Bamasaba” at FLEFF.
One of Dr. Auyash’s favorite programs of FLEFF is the Festival Graduate Fellowship, which, according to FLEFF, “brings outstanding graduate students of color enrolled in Ph.D. programs to campus during the festival to immerse in screenings, lectures, workshops, master classes, concerts, and events within an engaging, interdisciplinary, think-tank environment.”
When Dr. Auyash showed the film “Ladies of the Gridiron,” in his class last year, the Festival Graduate Fellows engaged in a discussion with Ithaca College students about the film. “That’s one thing I love about FLEFF,” said Dr. Auyash. “It generates discussion.”
Students are able to encounter experiences they wouldn’t find elsewhere at FLEFF. “For some of them it’s the first time they’ve ever seen a subtitled movie.” Last year, Dr. Auyash’s students attended a screening of Buster Keaton and students were blown away.
They couldn’t believe that he did his own stunts. After the screening, students wanted to see more silent films. For Dr. Auyash this is why students should attend FLEFF. “It’s just a great opportunity for this campus.”
This year’s theme of dissonance is intriguing for Dr. Auyash because it forces a conversation about issues across the board. Dr. Auyash explains, for example, “not everybody agrees on what human rights is. That’s why dissonance occurs. Because one person’s human rights activist is another person’s terrorist.”
As words of wisdom for this years festival goers, Dr. Auyash recommends that students “Go to as many things as you possibly can. Go to the movies where the speakers are.”
“Even if I wasn’t chair I would still want to participate and get my department to work on those things,” says Dr. Auyash. “I care about it because I want students to get as much as possible out of their college education.”
Wednesday, February 19, 2014
Blogging post by Alexis Lanza, Film, Photography, and Visual Arts '15, FLEFF Blogger, Enfield, CT
Our blogging team brainstormed a list of 17 reasons why students should attend FLEFF.
Number 11: An opportunity to learn through different mediums, art forms, and formats.
There are so many different ways one can learn— through hands-on experience, a lecture, a discussion, a screening, et cetera. It differs for everyone based on learning preference. It is important to allow oneself to soak up a variety of learning techniques.
Students spend a good chunk of their time studying; underlining articles, frantically trying to type the stream of consciousness that comes from their professor's mouth, and holed up on the 4th floor of the library at separate cubicles, cramming for exams.
I think sometimes students forget that they can have a learning experience in which they sit back in comfortable theater seats, take a breath, and watch.
Observation is a powerful thing. FLEFF offers students a chance to take a break from the mainstream undergraduate learning practice and allow themselves to gain knowledge through film screenings, musical performances, discussions, and other formats.
Check out the full list here! /fleff/blogs/fresh_at_fleff/