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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."
Saturday, April 16, 2011
Blog posting by Brian McCormick, Film & Photo '12, FLEFF Intern, Wilbraham, MA
The last two nights have been very exciting for FLEFF! Now that the Cinemapolis screenings are underway it feels everyone has really gotten amped up!
The crowds down at the theater are very lively and energized. Every post-screening discussion has been full of energy and passion, since these issues and ideas are so important to the filmmakers and their audience. That's what makes seeing a film at FLEFF so unique -- the chance to talk to the filmmaker after the viewing.
Thursday night I saw "Even the Rain", a fiction feature film about a Spanish film crew making a movie in Bolivia amidst the Water Wars. In the film, the director casts a local Bolivian to play a major role. He soon finds out that this local is one of the prominent activists fighting for water and his rebellion throws the director and his crew through the biggest obstacles imaginable. I personally loved this film -- it really showcases the passion and determination put into filmmaking, as well as the passion of the locals to fight for water and essentially their lives.
Attending the screening was the film's casting director Rodrigo Bellot, an IC alum who it has been an absolute pleasure to have at FLEFF. Following the screening, Bellot conducted an enlightening Q&A, and he also spoke at the "How to Get Your Break" panel discussion yesterday evening.
Bellot will be at FLEFF again today -- don't miss the chance to meet him and the other FLEFF guests!
Last night, I then saw F. W. Murnau's "The Last Laugh" with live music performed by John Stetch. Really incredible. It felt very experimental in the way he would transition from scene to scene by isolating one sound or bringing a new one in, or just by changing the way he hit the drums or which keys he played. Keep in the mind the movie's original soundtrack is composed of an entire orchestra -- Stetch performed it by himself!
There will be two more silent film screenings with live music performances: Tonight, 7pm "Siren of the Tropics, and Tomorrow, 7pm "Storm Over Asia."
"Even the Rain" will also be screening again today -- go see it if you haven't!
Also, don't forget to head down to Delilah's for the after parties if you want to chat it up will all of the FLEFF guests!
Saturday, March 26, 2011
Blog post written by Brian McCormick, Film, Photo & Visual Arts '12, FLEFF Intern, Wilbraham, MA
With FLEFF almost two weeks away, I'm prepping myself for the films and events that I really want to see. I am especially excited for the wealth of documentaries being showed by internationally recognized filmmakers.
I am drawn to "human documentaries," which focus on human subjects' personal stories in order to speak to a whole, larger truth. Do you have a favorite kind of documentary?
I've focused my top five exclusively on the films being shown downtown at Cinemapolis -- for a larger list of documentaries and other films, make sure to check out our listings.
1) GOOD FORTUNE - a film by Landon Van Soest and Jeremy Levine
I had the privilege of interviewing Van Soest about his film and it sounds phenomenal. In Good Fortune, they explore the negative repercussions of efforts to alleviate poverty in Africa, honing in on the stories of Jackson and Silva who live in Kenya.
This is an extremely controversial subject. We are asked always to send money to these causes, but how do we know where that money is going? And also, is power always inevitably going to corrupt? Do we sacrifice good intentions for the "greater good"?
I think Jackson and Silva have an important story for us to hear.
(Showtimes: Cinemapolis, Sun. April 17 @ 2:00PM w/ Jeremy Levine, and 9:30PM)
2) AGRARIAN UTOPIA - a film by Uruphong Raksasad
The trailer for this film was the first piece of FLEFF that I saw, and I was blown away by the beauty and power in those images. This film shows two families working together on the same farm, trying to get through the season while adjusting to the country's changing economy, politics and society.
This documentary asks, does development and progression always mean increased happiness?
(Showtimes: Cinemapolis, Fri. April 15 @ 7:30PM; Sat. April 16 @ 9:30PM)
3) BUDRUS - a film by Julia Bacha and Ronit Avni
The Israeli village Budrus, with Palestinians and Israelis, Hammas and Fatahs, men and women, unite in non-violent protest against Israel's Separation Border, otherwise known as "the Fence." They are led by local community organizer Ayed Morrar, who brings the people together to save Budrus from destruction.
This is an inspiring story of unification against a common enemy, highlighted by Morrar's 15-year-old daughter Iltezam, who launches a contigent of women that quickly moves to the front lines (father and daughter side-by-side). The film chronicles this movement, which is still continuing today.
As said by a Fatah Party Member in the film: "I felt that, in order to succeed, we had to empty our minds of traditional thinking." This speaks wonderfully to the new environments and new ideas we are looking to explore here at FLEFF.
(Showtimes: Cinemapolis, Thur. April 14 @ 7:10PM; Sat. April 16 @ 9:30PM)
4) PEACEABLE KINGDOM: THE JOURNEY HOME - a film by Jenny Stein and James LaVeck
This documentary takes a hard, powerful look at how farmers are beginning to question traditional practices of handling animals and treating them as commodities. This is a very moving film that will give you the kind "inside look" into a way of life we don't think twice about. I think this is a very important film for us to see.
(Showtimes: Cinemapolis, Thur. April 14 @ 7:00PM; Sat. April 16 @ 9:30PM)
5) LOS HEREDEROS - a film by Eugenio Polgovsky
A look at child labor in rural Mexico, and how it has become a condition passed down from generation to generation. If you watch the trailer, you see it is a continuous cycle of labor: collecting water, shoveling, harvesting, sculpting, and so on. These children inherit these duties and are trapped in this cycle. Is it fair that our duties are determined by birth?
(Showtimes: Cinemapolis, Thur. April 14 @ 9:30PM; Fri. April 15 @ 10:00PM)
Well, there's MY list. I hope you're all looking through the films and finding out what you want to see.
The best part is that we have both the films AND their filmmakers -- any questions you have can be answered the same night you see it. Looking forward to it.