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FLEFF Intern Voices

The Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival from the interns' point of view

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Posted by Alexis Lanza at 12:13AM   |  2 comments
Alexis Lanza

Blog posting written by Alexis Lanza, Film, Photography, and Visual Arts, '15, FLEFF Blogger, Enfield, Connecticut.

 

My name is Alexis Lanza. I'm a Junior at Ithaca College, pursuing a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Film, Photography, and Visual Arts. Although I applied and was accepted to IC as a BFA major, more than once I came close to changing my major. Something always stopped me right before I handed in the paperwork. By the second semester of my sophomore year, I found myself putting everything I had into a film for my second Cinema Production class. In a moment when I was feeling particularly overwhelmed, I found solace in the quiet of the Athletics and Events Center track during a weekend-long swim meet and called my older brother. “I can't do this,” I said to him. He told me to keep trying, to push through. If I hadn't called him that day, I might have given up what has become the most important thing in the world to me: creating.

 

I spent the first nine years of my life on the shores of Leonardo, New Jersey, soaking in the salty air and collecting bits of sea glass on the beach. My family relocated to a minuscule town in upstate New York called Rockdale, which was about as exciting as it sounds. We lived in a renovated brick schoolhouse that became my home for almost ten years. I spent most of my time wandering around fields, climbing trees, and writing about the bits that were revealed to me in that quiet, dusty slice of the world. I graduated from a class of forty four students and was shipped off to college. Shortly after, my family moved to Connecticut.

 

Here at Ithaca College, I work as a supervising lifeguard at the campus pool, as well as at PPECS (Park Portable Equipment Center and Services). Outside of classes, I volunteer on student film sets in pursuit of as much experience as possible. When I find extra time, I illustrate and photograph for Ithaca College's Buzzsaw Magazine and participate in ICES meetings (Ithaca College Environmental Society). My major is broad; I have the opportunity to take a wide variety of classes in Film Production Film Theory, Photography, and Art History. Classes that open my mind as far as it can possibly go in the limitations of a traditional classroom setting fulfill my Anthropology minor. I also have a minor in Honors, which means I can choose fun seminars and take trips to National Parks in the summer through a program called Partners in the Parks. My favorite seminar was Cultural Encounters at Ithaca College, in which we were required to attend a certain number of events on campus: music, performative, intellectual, et cetera, and blog weekly about our experiences. I attended events I never would have even thought to go to otherwise and was given the chance to write about it.

 

Last semester was a growing experience for me as an artist. I took two production classes: Advanced Cinema Production: Experimental and Selected Topics in Photography: Photobook. In both classes, I explored techniques I hadn't known about before and discovered my tendency to incorporate narrative aspects in my photography, while I enjoy experimental techniques in my filmmaking. I also acted as the Director of Photography for a student film for the first time, and nothing has ever felt more right than how I felt behind the camera. There is something inside me that is larger than I am. It grows, sometimes painfully strong, pressing against the inside of my chest until I am sure I will break— but it is released into my work as an artist. Learning how to understand this was a long process; unfamiliar, dark, and downright terrifying.

 

I am looking forward to FLEEF this year and will be experiencing the festival for the first time. I am eager to be working as a blogger, and will be trekking into every event possible with wide eyes. Nothing excites me more than an opportunity to learn about myself and grow as a person, and my instincts tell me working as a blogger for FLEFF won't let me down in that aspect. I most look forward to having the opportunity to meet filmmakers at events. I ache to talk with them and discover I am not the only one who experiences such a raw, innate need to create films.

 

I hope you're all as excited as I am for the 17th annual Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival! I fondly cling to this quote by Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., “A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions.” If there's one thought I hope to stir in the murky section of your brain where ungraspable thoughts often linger, it is: what experiences have you had so far that have shaped who you are?


2 Comments

You are a fascinating person, Alexis. I so appreciate your willingness to share about your journey as an artist and I can't wait to get to know you better as we work together this semester!

Alexis, it's really inspiring to hear how motivated and excited you are by your major! I think almost everyone in college can attest to having that moment of uncertainty in which one questions what he or she is doing! I'm excited to read more of your blogs; I think you bring an interesting perspective to the blogging team!



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