Posted by Chloe Wilson at 12:50PM
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Blog post by Chloe Wilson, Television-Radio '14, FLEFF Blogger, Ashland, Massachusetts
Happy first day of FLEFF, everyone!
Filmmaker Jon Bowermaster will be bring his film "Dear Governor Cuomo" to FLEFF later this week. He was kind enough to answer some of my questions and give some insight into his film. Read on for what to expect from "Dear Governor Cuomo"!
Chloe Wilson: For those who are unfamiliar, can you give a brief description of “Dear Governor Cuomo”?
: Hydraulic fracturing for natural gas - fracking
- is the most debated issue in New York state. It is a very divisive and complicated issue. We had the idea of a new kind of way to draw attention to the subject and simultaneously try and help educate movie goers about the process. The result was a music-and-message concert we put together last May in Albany, on the governor's doorstep. It featured musicians ranging from Natalie Merchant and the HorseFlies to John Medeski and Citizen Cope, as well as fracktivists and scientists, including Ithaca's own Sandra Steingraber.
CW: What was it like being at the concert event that the film depicts?
JB: The 3 hour long show, which we filmed with 6 cameras, was well-scripted. We didn't want anyone, including musicians, from launching their own soapboxes from the stage. The musicians were there to do what they do best - to entertain - and the others speakers were there to help try and explain the message and to educate about the risks of fracking - which is still not allowed in New York state, though it is in 34 others.
CW: Can you explain the best and worst parts about taking all the footage from the night and cutting it down into a film?
JB: The concert at The Egg in Albany was a sellout, but we wanted to be able to share the evening with many more, which is why we made the film. We had roughly 25 hours of film to cut down to 70 minutes. What helped was that the evening was scripted, so the film would essentially follow the script though we inserted interview footage and moved things around a bit. The only advantage to being at the concert was that it was 3 hours long and we essentially pared the film down to an hour. So there was lots of music and speech left on the proverbial editing room floor.
CW: Did any of your favorite moments from the event not make it into the film?
JB: My one regret is that the concert ended with Sly Stone's "Everyday People," which was fantastic. But in the end, the owner of the song wouldn't give us rights to use it in the film. Apparently if we'd been selling macaroni and cheese, that would have been an okay usage. But given the "politics" of the subject, they declined.
CW:How has "Dear Governor Cuomo" made an impact on fracking?
JB:I think the impact of "Dear Governor Cuomo" has been twofold. The fracking fight has been going on for nearly 5 years and I think the film helped energize those that have been working hardest on the issue. And it has also gone a long way towards helping people who see the film understand what fracking is and its risks. I've had hundreds of really smart people come up to me after screenings and say, "I had no idea it was so bad."
CW: Is there anything else you’d like to add?
JB: The goal of the film is to get as many New Yorkers to see it as possible, so we are offering it to anyone to show to community groups, schools, churches, in theaters anywhere! Please check out the website
See "Dear Governor Cuomo" at Cinemapolis on Sunday, April 7th at 1:45 PM!
Posted by Chloe Wilson at 1:18PM
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Blog posting written by Chloe Wilson, Television-Radio '14, FLEFF Blogger, Ashland, Massachusetts.
One of my favorite parts about FLEFF is the festival's partnership with Ithaca-based theater Cinemapolis. It's one of my favorite downtown spots - I frequent the place all the time - but I'm even more excited to head down during FLEFF because of the great programming the theater is offering!
Here are three FLEFF films at Cinemapolis that I'm most excited for:
1. Dear Governor Cuomo
The film is both informational and emotional - it discusses the dangers of fracking in the state of New York while also including the spoken and musical testimonies of those affected by fracking. "Dear Governor Cuomo" features celebrities like Mark Ruffalo, Natalie Merchant, Melissa Leo, and many other New Yorkers Against Fracking. If you love concert films, documentaries, or New York in general, this film is worth checking out.
2. Once Upon a Time
No, it's not the ABC show of the same name. This Korean comedy heist follows various individuals - including a jazz singer and a con artist - as they each try to steal a diamond from the government. The critically-acclaimed film is set in 1940s Korea, but don't think that the political drama of the time period makes this film any less fun to watch. You can check out the trailer (with English subtitles) here!
3. Sherlock Jr.
FLEFF is well-known for its tradition of showcasing silent films that are accompanied by live musicians and this year - the film is "Sherlock Jr.". A comedy that originally premiered in 1924, the film stars Buster Keaton as a man who falls for a beautiful girl and when her pearl necklace goes missing, he imagines himself the detective who solves the crime. Time Magazine named "Sherlock Jr." one of its Top 100 Films of All-Time and I can't wait to see if I agree.
Based on the current programming list (which you can find here), those are the films I'm excited to see! What are some of yours?