About this blog
The Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival from the interns' point of view
Tuesday, February 18, 2014
Blog post by Blaize Hall, Television-Radio Communications, '15, Georgia, VT
2. Film festivals can bridge a gap between commercial distribution and independent distribution.
3. Activist film festivals focus on films with a balance between information dissemination, rallying causes, and entertainment value.
4. FLEFF screens a spectrum of local and international films that all somehow connect to the environmental theme. FLEFF also includes musical artists in it's display.
5. The highest purpose of film festivals is not the screening of the films, but the valuable discourse that happens between the audience members afterwards.
Sunday, February 9, 2014
Blog posting written by Lucy Yang, Journalism and Politics, ’14, FLEFF Blogger, Puyang, Henan, China
Professor Sonali Samarasinghe is an award winning journalist and human rights activist. A native of Sri Lanka, she is the 2012-2014 Ithaca City of Asylum’s writer-in-residence, and Ithaca College has appointed her International Visiting Scholar in Honors for academic year 2012/13 and 2013/14. This year, Professor Samarasinghe serves as one of the jurors for FLEFF’s "The Dissonance Project," a writing contest for high school students.
Lucy Yang: As someone who is behind the scenes, what exactly is your involvement with FLEFF?
Professor Sonali Samarasinghe: I was a guest of FLEFF last year in my capacity as an international writer, an exiled journalist, and the writer in residence of the Ithaca city of Asylum. I was a featured speaker and protagonist in one of the FLEFF films of 2013 shown at Cinemapolis. The film Silenced Voices… explores the bitter ethnic and political conflict in Sri Lanka, through the eyes of three journalists [of whom I am one] forced into exile, and who have each suffered immense personal loss due to their journalism. This year I am delighted to have the opportunity to be a juror in one of FLEFF’s many intellectually stimulating projects. In keeping with the broad theme of dissonance and as part of the FLEFF umbrella, I am also teaching a mini course titled “Justice: What’s The Right Thing To Do?”
LY: Do you have to see all the films?
SS: As I am a FLEFF course instructor and juror in the Writing Project, this question may not relate to me in every sense. However, let me say that I will not want to miss any of the films that have been so deliberately and thoughtfully selected, based on the vision and mission of FLEFF. I have found the films to have an intellectual, social and creative value and relevance; they have never failed to provoke, challenge and inspire me. Therefore, I plan to be present at as many of the screenings and events as possible. FLEFF is an embarrassment of riches, full of wonderful things, and it would be to one’s detriment not to take full advantage of what it has to offer.
LY: What do you think of this year’s theme “dissonance” and how do you relate it to your personal background?
SS: Dissonance is a theme of extreme complexity, and I applaud FLEFF for its boldness in exploring it. We live with discord everyday. For some, every day is a battleground where they are confronted with physical, ideological, psychological, cultural and emotional incongruity. Each of these and more I have grappled with, as a persecuted writer and as a journalist forced into exile. I have come from a toxic political culture that has celebrated brutality and crushed the free spirit. To lose my home, my culture, my work and my family is shocking. The visceral pain can be hard to bear. Yet dissonance in all its forms is to be celebrated, because through conflict comes new beginnings, fresh ideas, evolved thinking and change. Disorder will eventually beget order and without friction the bow cannot make sweet harmony. It is [the] evil that forces you towards the good, death that brings life, and the ugly that draws you to the beautiful.
The mini course Professor Samarasinghe will be teaching, "Justice: What’s The Right Thing To Do?" will run from March 17 through May 12 on Wednesdays from 3:00 to 4:50 p.m. It will explore the nature of justice by taking advantage of the wonderful films and other events sponsored by FLEFF. Students will be required to attend screenings as part of the course.
Friday, April 5, 2013
Blog posting written by Shawn Steiner, Film, Photography, and Visual Arts '13, FLEFF Intern, Elkridge, MD
And once again we are back in Park 220 for FLEFF Lab Friday. Kelly Matheson from WITNESS is here and Dr. Patricia Zimmermann is moderating this hour. Come on by!
Kelly begins with the well-known video of Rodney King. It was the catalyst for witness and proved that video could enact social action and change. So, they got together and got video cameras all over to record stories all around. And for 20 years, after working through many issues, they are working to create many international videos and tell compelling stories.
QUESTION: Who is Oscar Grant?
How do you get your video seen when there is an absurd saturation of digital media out there? That is an issue that Kelly and others like her deal with constantly.
Informed consent is the current topic of Kelly's. She is screening clips from a huge variety of projects. Including a short from her TRUST series about youths fighting climate change.
An new take is how to take perpetrator shot video and turn it back onto the perpetrators, as opposed to the humiliation to the victim intended by the original video.
Verification is another thing that needs to be analyzed. Kelly cites the website storyful.com as a source for validation of video for news. Here is the fireball example that Kelly cites.
"Technology is always a double-edged sword."
QUESTION: What do you do when your documentary or video risks the well-being of your subject?
The question of reconciliation is a major talking point during the discussion. And it may bery well be added to Kelly's list of major things to think about when dealing with video. We need to determine how citizen-shot footage will allow usage in things like court cases and how they can be verified.
What does it mean when that image is recorded, circulates, or as evidence?
The ethics behind the usage of a video as evidence requires it to have a much more intense method of verification.
"Give the archive love. They are the unsung heroes."
Saturday, March 30, 2013
Blog posting written by Dorothea Hinman, Cinema and Photography '15, FLEFF Intern, Rochester, NY.
Just as one of the busiest weeks of my life draws to a close, another busy, exciting week is just getting started.
Of course, I am talking about FLEFF.
It's an exciting, fun filled week packed with various lectures, films, musical performances, multimedia presentations and guests. How am I going to make it to everything while still keeping up with the essentials like eating and sleeping? Sleep isn't essential, that can hold off for a bit.
But not in vain! No, of all the events I plan on attending, these three are keeping my excitement levels to a maximum. Make sure to check them out!
#1 GRRR: Love and Revolution- Riot Girl NYC and I Dream of Mummers (Monday, April 1, 4:00-5:15, Park 285). I can't help but agree with what fellow intern Kim wrote in her previous post. I too consider myself to be an up and coming feminist. Whether is is coming to college and constantly being exposed to different view points, being involved in FLEFF and witnessing art and media from around the world, or taking classes from FLEFF co-director Patricia Zimmermann, discrepancies between male and female privileges has been increasingly brought to my attention. Seeing this film which discusses issues such as rape, domestic abuse, sexuality, racism and female empowerment via rare, archival footage will only increase my knowledge and give me more perspective.
#2 White Scripts and Black Supermen (Wednesday, April 3, 4:00-6:30, Park 285). Along the same vein, this film intrigues me because it promises to ignite conversation about a social injustice that most people don't think twice about: this being racism and how it is portrayed in the media. I love comic books and superhero movies as much as the next person. But when I think about the last superhero film I watched, (I'm going to say The Avengers,) only Samuel Jackson's Nick Fury comes to mind. I am intrigued to learn about this topic that I have never given much thought to and to engage in conversation about what I learned.
#3 Carmina Burana (Tuesday, April 2, 8:15pm, Hockett Recital Hall, Whalen Center for Music). It may have not been in The Avengers, but the cantata's opening piece O Fortuna has been featured in countless other action films as well as football games! After a month or so of listening to the piece, I can assure you that there will be nothing like watching it performed live before your eyes. Music has a way of bringing people from all different backgrounds together. Sitting it a room with, experiencing this epic, dynamic, and sometimes downright hauntingly beautiful piece of music is guaranteed to bring people together. Either that or we'll all be pitching in on ear plugs to somewhat dull the mighty blast that will come from the 16 piece trombone troupe. (!!!)
Are you excited about FLEFF yet? What a silly question, of course you are! See you there. Which event are you most looking forward to?
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
Blog was written by Evan Johnson, Journalism Major, '13, FLEFF intern, Marlboro, Vermont
As I’m sure you’re aware, the theme for FLEFF 2011 is “Checkpoints.” In creating a diverse and engaging line-up of events and speakers, the organizers and curators of the festival have examined and almost every possible interpretation of the words “Checkpoint” and “Environment.” Tonight, I had the opportunity to explore how these words are connected to the expansion of Israeli settlements within Palestinian territories in Michael Kennedy’s presentation “Witnessing Iraq Burin: Stories from a Palestinian Village.”
In the West Bank, checkpoints are a part of everyday life. In the village of Iraq Burin, inhabitants face regular harassment and even armed violence from settlers of the nearby Bracha settlement as well as incursions by Israeli Defense Forces. As the people of Iraq Burin continue to lose farmland due to confiscation by the nearby settlement, the village had been the site of weekly nonviolent demonstrations. At a demonstration on March 20, 2010, two cousins Usaid Abd Qadus (19) and Muhammad Ibrahim Abdel-Qadr Qadus (16) were shot and killed with live ammunition. Usaid was shot in the head; Muhammad was shot in the chest when he ran to help his cousin. Muhammad was announced dead upon arrival at the hospital while Usaid died the next morning, several hours after undergoing surgery in an attempt to save his life.
Neither Usaid nor Muhammad was involved in that day’s demonstration and neither were active in any resistance group. The Israeli Defense Forces described their actions as justified, citing “riot dispersal tactics” and “less-than-lethal munitions” even though the boys were deliberately killed with live ammunition. Three elementary principles of international humanitarian law govern the use of force. These principles are distinction, necessity and proportionality. The willful targeting of unarmed civilians with live fire represents a grave breach the Fourth Geneva Convention and the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
This account heavily illuminates the themes of unnecessary death and remembrance. In cooperation with the intentions of FLEFF, the event also demands the perception and interpretation of a given environment. The presentation tonight demanded the viewers to analyze their own perceptions of the environment surrounding the Israel-Palestine conflict. What is our interpretation of this environment? How should incidents like this change our perception of that environment? Tonight, through his effective and powerful use of photography and journal entries, Mr. Kennedy presented a different environment, one far from our own.
*The official UNESCO report on this incident can be viewed here.
Tuesday, February 22, 2011
I'm Gena (pronounced like "Jenna") Mangiaratti, I'm a sophomore Journalism major with a minor in Anthropology. I'm from right outside of Springfield, Massachusetts.
In a little more than a year and a half at Ithaca, I feel like I have learned more about the world outside of my surroundings than in all the time leading up to it. As a journalist, I'm drawn to writing articles that spread awareness of human rights abuses or that bring understanding to differing sides of a conflict. One of my main commitments at Ithaca is being a staff writer for Buzzsaw Magazine, a student-run alternative literary magazine that focuses on politics and social justice.
I was drawn to FLEFF because I wanted to learn more about film as a vehicle for educating others. I am also very interested in learning about the inspirations behind creative people. So far as a FLEFF intern I have had the opportunity to watch a screening of "Gimme Shelter," after which director Alfred Maysles gave an engaging and informative question and answer session.
I look very much forward to interviewing FLEFF guests so I can provide readers with Q&A's and profiles.
What would you most like to find out about FLEFF filmmakers?