About this blog
The Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival from the interns' point of view
Tuesday, February 18, 2014
1. Film festivals are meant to generate discussion about events and issues.
2. Festivals host a number of different events aside from screening films.
3. Festival guests welcome conversation with students, faculty, and various other festival-goers.
4. Music and concerts are an integral part of the Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival.
5. Based in Ithaca, New York, FLEFF links the local culture to a global perspective by being a host for international guests and creating discussion of worldwide issues.
Tuesday, February 18, 2014
Blog post by Blaize Hall, Television-Radio Communications, '15, Georgia, VT
Tufts of hair poke every which way after he runs his hands over his head, making him look all the more like a passionate artist. John Scott leans back in his chair and exhales slowly. There is a long pause, the only sound in the room is the quiet hum of a Macbook Pro with AVID video editing software, and a class syllabus both pulled up on the screen.
Then he chuckles. “I’ve been having these conversations with a lot of people about football. I’m really against it. I think it’s this dangerous thing that people do and they wreck their brains playing this game... Part of it is, I think, because I’m from Canada, and I didn’t grow up with this game the way Americans have.”
“When you come from a different place, and grow up in a different model, it puts you in opposition to the culture in a way that can create some really good discussions.”
“There’s lots of things where I feel like I agree with the mainstream model. Then there are other things where I feel like I’m sort of this rock in the river, and maybe the river is slowly wearing me away, or maybe I’m diverting the path of the water.”
This is Scott’s own experience with dissonance. On the topic as FLEFF 2014’s theme, he praised it. “I’m definitely interested in having a media landscape that’s got some variety,” he expressed. He describes the current model for major film distribution as limiting.
John Scott knows all too well the struggles facing independent filmmakers, documentarians, and especially those in the business of documentary shorts. Having successfully distributed his own shorts, including Sandpiper (2011), The First Death in Nova Scotia (2012), One Art (2011), and a feature length documentary, Scouts Are Cancelled (2007), he has plenty of first hand accounts of wrestling for grants, taking on producing the work he is also directing, and spending countless hours working to circulate his films.
Scott’s films have been featured in FLEFF for three straight years. Scouts Are Cancelled had its U.S. premiere at FLEFF in 2008 after coming off of the Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Film Festival. His most recent short, In The Waiting Room (2013), is slated to show at FLEFF this season.
He says he appreciates that FLEFF includes local films as well as international. “I think it’s great when you can get a collection of them (short films) together from the same region. It’s interesting to have a model that’s focused on local concerns...it has its own ethos. Maybe there will be different perspectives that will come out of that.”
When asked what the biggest benefit is of festivals in general, he replied, “audiences”, without a moment’s hesitation. Scott described the dialogue that happens at festivals as the singular most beneficial aspect of getting people together in one place to view media not available in mainstream forums. “When you’re at a film festival, you can FEEL the energy.”
Will you come be part of the energy this year at FLEFF?
Tuesday, February 18, 2014
Blog posting by Kimberly Capehart, Documentary Studies and Production '16, FLEFF Blogger, Cherry Hill, NJ
The blogging team has been busy interviewing and writing for the past couple of weeks, but we've also been doing quite a bit of learning. In order to more fully understand our position in the festival world, we've been reading a number of books about the history of film festivals, the process behind programming films for a festival, social media tactics, and more!
Here are 5 things that I've learned about film festivals so far:
1. Film festivals are places where the global meets the local
The Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival may be based in Ithaca, New York, but that doesn't mean that the festival starts and ends here. FLEFF will be showing a number of international works and bringing in guests from all around the world to share their experiences and interpretations of Dissonance. It's a great opportunity for students and community members to experience the excitement of a global film festival right in their backyard.
2. Film festivals are about meaningful, intellectual dialogue
As mentioned by Dr. Thomas Shevory, film festivals create a space where intellectual conversations are frequently occurring. The films, music performances, guest speakers, and labs at FLEFF are all opportunities in which to engage with another person in a meaningful dialogue about anything! Very few people have the opportunity to immerse themselves in such an environment, so it's important that festival guests take advantage of the festival by talking to as many people as possible. You'll be surprised at how many ideas will be exchanged during FLEFF week.
3. Festivals are about diversity
Especially in the modern age of the film industry, which seems to be over-saturated with Hollywood cinema, festivals seek to bring in a wide range of media and programming choices. But festivals aren't only about diversity in the works being shown, but diversity on a larger scale. For a film festival, FLEFF programs a lot of guest speakers, music performances, new media works, and more in addition to films.
4. Audience participation is a huge factor in the success of film festivals
This is where you come in! The audience is, arguably, the most important part of a film festival because they are the people who will be initiating the ever-important conversations that are so essential to a film festival. Whether you attend a film or a lecture on campus or downtown at Cinemapolis, it's important to respond to what you are seeing and to share your ideas with others.
5. Film festivals are flexible
It's important to have an open mind when getting involved with a film festival because they are constantly changing and adapting. A discussion with a director may run longer than expected and push the screening of the next film back a little or a different guest may be attending an event or a screening than previously scheduled or any number of things that weren't expected might happen. Film festivals need to be flexible in order to manage all of these changes and it's important that spectators share this flexibility.
What assumptions do you have about film festivals?
Friday, February 14, 2014
We brought the teams together on Tuesday night for a fun-filled photo shoot. Proudly donning FLEFF staff uniforms with big smiles across our faces, we took some goofy pictures.
We jumped, posed, grinned and synchronized every movement, choreographed by the talented IC Cheerleading Team Coach, Tiffani-Amber Muller.
Check out all the photos from our energetic photo shoot, here.
Thursday, February 13, 2014
Blog post written by Blaize Hall, Television-Radio Communications, '15, Georgia, Vermont
Pizza from Sammy’s, gorge jumping, picnics at Buttermilk Falls, great theatre at Dillingham, Apple Fest, Chili Fest, ICTV, The Ithacan, bagels from the Ithaca Bakery. All of these are special traditions of Ithaca. FLEFF, however, offers something more. The Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival is a tradition with a purpose.
FLEFF has been an important establishment in Ithaca for 17 years. What began as an outreach project by the Center for Environment at Cornell University in 1997, has become a popular event, highly anticipated by Ithaca College students and faculty, Ithaca residents, and visitors from afar. The broad range of artistic displays, coupled with the focused genre of environmental films make this festival relatable to a wide audience, but still allow for unique themes, (like this year’s theme of Dissonance!). It’s location in Ithaca gives it an approachable low-key feel, while also being a hotspot for activists, world-renowned artists, and film historians alike, and providing the opportunity for meaningful connections. And that’s ultimately the purpose of film festivals, to make those connections and learn not only from the films, but from the guests, and other participants in the festival.
All of these factors make FLEFF a truly valuable Ithaca tradition, one that students should NOT miss out on while they’re here! I’m looking forward to seeing A Touch of Sin at the 2014 festival. What films do YOU want to see this year?