About this blog
The Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival from the interns' point of view
Thursday, February 27, 2014
Blog posting by Kimberly Capehart, Documentary Studies and Production '16, FLEFF Blogger, Cherry Hill, NJ
Last week, my fellow blogger, Kayla Reopelle, interviewed Mr. Brett Bossard for an in-depth Q&A blog. I followed up with him this week, downtown in the warm lobby of Cinemapolis as the wind howled outside, to get his take on the festival's theme of Dissonance.
"I like to think of [Dissonance] in terms of cultural dissonance. It's important to recognize [cultural dissonance] because we're living in a time where we have a 24-hour news cycle and people are constantly talking about the culture wars that are being fought. I think cultural dissonance is a "chicken or egg" situation: is it the result of the culture wars being fought or is it the cause of those culture wars, is it what's driving this feeling people have of their ways of life and their belief systems being endangered? I don't know if it's technology that is making us more aware of the differences in how people choose to lead their lives. I definitely think that technology helps to break down some of the economic barriers that separate people and allow more people to broadcast their individual messages. There aren't as many impediments to someone across the world seeing whatever you have to say. I think, in part, though, that this is also driving a sort of fear or discomfort that people have regarding cultural dissonance.
Drawing largely from his experience as Executive Director of Cinemapolis, a position he acquired in August 2013, Bossard added:
"I think film, [as a technology], is a great way to engage with other people. One of the things I love about film is that it's one of the most accessible art forms: people who might not feel comfortable going to a play or to an art museum usually have no problem sitting down in a movie theater. That kind of accessibility is great because once you have people sitting in a theater, then you have their attention, and you can use film challenge them. Also, movie theaters are safer spaces [for challenging opinions] because they're dark and so your reactions are your own and you don't necessarily have to share your experience with the people around you, even though they're experiencing the same thing at the same time. Seeing films communally is one of the most important aspects of a festival and it's the best way for directors and activists to get their message and their argument across to an audience.When you share an experience that challenges your ideas with others, it eases the dissonance that all of us experience: it can almost bring us into a state of consonance."
Sunday, February 23, 2014
Blog posting by Kayla Reopelle, Documentary Studies and Production '14, FLEFF Blogger, Roy, WA
On a rainy Thursday night, I walk past the entrance to Cinemapolis. All the red formica tables are pushed together into a long line. Members of the board for Ithaca’s non-profit art house cinema gather before the doors open for business.
Brett Bossard, the executive director of Cinemapolis, smiles and walks behind the ticket counter. Customers for the National Theatre Live 6:30pm screening of Coriolanus hand their self-printed tickets to him.
How would you describe yourself?
“I guess I’m sort of a, I just put this on my Twitter thing, I’m a culture pro-sumer. I’m an equal opportunity culture consumer when it comes to art, film, culture, television, media. [I’m very media literate,] which naturally drives me toward the work that I do here. Can I?”
Mr. Bossard pointed to the ticket counter. I nodded. He glided from our table to the counter. As director of Ithaca’s non-profit art house cinema, he often wears many hats.
What are some aspects of being director that people wouldn’t expect?
“In a small place like this, you’re changing toilet paper. ... There’s a lot of minutiae that happens that you might not automatically associate with what a director does in an oragnization like this. I actually enjoy running box office occasionally because I think it’s important for me to see who the regulars are.”
"Because we’re a nonprofit, there’s a lot of community buildling, friend raising and fund raising work that you also might not normally associate with being the director of a movie theater. Grant seeking is something that I spend time at least thinking about whether or not, whether I actually have the time to go out and do it is another issue all together."
Bossard graduated from Ithaca College as a Television-Radio major with a screenwriting concentration in 1995. He’s been a student of film in some way or another since a young age.
When did you first get interested in cinema?
“Some of my first memories are going to the movies. I grew up in a small town called Hornell, little town west of here, and so there wasn’t a lot happening, but we had a movie theater which was a few blocks from the house I grew up in.
"...I got carted around to the movies at a young age and it just sort of blossomed from there ... appreciating film for the experience as well as for the content.
"...I think the art form of film is not in danger, everyone has a screen in their hand at all times. The language and vocabulary of cinema is probably stronger and more readily understood than it’s ever been, but the cinematic experience is actually in great danger...
"There’s something important about seeing the art form of film the way it was intended, which is in a communal environment. I think that’s a really important element of experiencing art of any kind ... especially with film because its such a collaborative art form, part of that collaboration is with the audience.”
What kinds of films or ideas excite you?
"I really enjoy when we can show a film here that might on the outside feel like a real broad, more commercial, general audience kind of movie and then introduce some really challenging content or challenging concepts or even challenging technical elements. It gets people in the door that might not otherwise come here."
How is Cinemapolis connected to FLEFF? What is your relationship to the festival?
"FLEFF [provides] for us an opportunity for bring in new faces and also bring to our screens really specialized material that might not otherwise make it here... There’s this great win-win: we’re providing what I think is a fantastic home for the festival and the festival is giving us a chance to showcase the kind of filmmaking that we might not do otherwise."
This year’s theme is dissonance. How do you think it’ll play out in the festival?
"The concept of dissonance to me is great, especially when you think of it as cultural dissonance, which I think there is an abundance of when you talk about the haves and the have-nots in our society, what is considered appropriate and not appropriate, cultural norms.
"There’s a lot of dissonance we’re presented through media with a lot of what would be considered anti-social behavior, and yet, in the real world and daily life, the actions that we’re consuming on a day-to-day basis would be frowned upon by the general public."
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
"... I think it’ll be really interesting this year because we have all digital projection now, so it should make [screening] a little easier to juggle all of the different films because I know it has always been historically challenging with all different formats, some 35 some, Blue Ray, some DCP; so I’m excited, hopefully, knock on wood, it’ll be a little smoother this year."
So does that mean there won’t be any “film” films screened?
Bossard points to the gray projector sitting before the wall of paintings that reflect moments in cinematic history.
“That is the only 35mm projector we have in the building right now and its an artifact.”
Two patrons stare at the projector, walking around it, moving their faces closer, contorting their bodies around it. They turn and head into the cinema.