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The Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival from the interns' point of view
Tuesday, February 21, 2012
Blog post written by Sarah Lockwood, Cinema & Photography '15, FLEFF Intern, Blairstown, New Jersey
The crowd swells in anticipation. Whispers, conversations, coats rustling, the uncertain glances around the theatre. When will the film start?
I settle further into my chair, and then freeze. I blink. I take a breath.
She glides past me on the way to center stage - I am but one of hundreds of faces in that packed theatre tonight. Yet simultaneously, I feel a sense of individualism. Of importance. Of connection.
The film screens, and once again Currier breezes past me, this time on the way to one of two wooden stools set up in front of the stage. The crowd buzzes with pleased admiration, of anticipation of the question-and-answer session that will follow.
My mind buzzes at the closeness. My first encounter with a director, an artist, the creator of a work of art whose screening occupied the last ninety minutes of my life, that stole it and transported it to the forests of Africa and the passions of a man for whom oka - a word meaning listen - was a command.
The creator of such a vision stood only moments ago, a foot from me. A pleasantly nervous fidgeting overcomes my muscles, a vaguely intimidating sense washes over me.
Lavinia Currier is just a woman. An artist. A filmmaker.
An ordinary person.
An ordinary person, however, from whom we are able to learn so much.
Sunday, February 19, 2012
Blog posting written by Jennifer Barish, Communication Management & Design ‘14, FLEFF intern, Skokie, IL
Many of my friends who study flute, guitar, or bassoon at Ithaca College usually laugh at my ignorance of quarter notes and half notes. I don’t know music. But I certainly can feel it.
During last Sunday’s showing of OKA! at Cinemopolis, the room was full, colorful, and boisterous. Director Lavinia Currier stood before the diverse crowd of professors, students, and native Ithacans alike--eloquently introducing her film and its components of magical realism.
I ate my popcorn far too fast, and then wondered how Ms.Currier could tie together magical realism, Africa, and an ethnomusicologist from New Jersey in the next two hours.
It was the music that tied it all together. I had no prior knowledge of Central African culture, ethnomusicology, or the dangers of living in the BaAka people’s dense forest. But there was something familiar about the melodic female chants and the textured sounds of the Pygmies.
My mind instantly brought me to a sweaty park in Chicago as I heard tUnE-YarDs' front woman, Merill Garbus, sing a soulful performance at the Pitchfork Music Festival. I couldn’t help but hear the similarities between OKA!’s Pygmy music and Garbus’ vocal rifts throughout her newest album. Through my love for the tUnE-YarDs’ sound, I felt instantly connected to this foreign and mildly intimidating film. When I did a quick Google search after the showing, I discovered that Merrill’s experiences in Africa influenced her unique, musical style.
When I got home, I instantly turned on “Bizness” and danced before starting my Sunday homework.
This connection is messy. But I think that’s what FLEFF is supposed to do—mess everything up, take your mind to other experiences with art across the country, and make you dance unabashedly in your dorm room.
I'll leave these two pieces of music here for you all to make equally convoluted connections.
Where does the music take you?
Thursday, February 16, 2012
Blog posting written by Chloe Wilson, Television-Radio ’14, FLEFF Intern, Ashland, Massachusetts.
What's up, FLEFFers?
FLEFF 2012 is still a ways away, but last Sunday (unofficially) kicked things off with a screening of OKA!. We had a full house and a great talkback with the director, Lavinia Currier. Not only was it awesome to hear about the true story behind the film, but learning about the global issues the film shows was a great experience.
Us interns, meanwhile, have been busy learning about and planning FLEFF events! I caught up with Gautam Singhani, Team Leader, and asked him about his FLEFF experiences and why he chose to work at FLEFF 2012.
Chloe Wilson: So you were a FLEFF 2011 intern. Why did you choose to be a FLEFF 2012 Team Leader?
Gautam Singhani: Last year, I had a suberb time helping organize the film festival and publicizing events as a FLEFF intern. I felt that there was much more that could be done to enrich the film festival experience, which is what drove me to apply as a Team Leader. I have many ideas on how to promote FLEFF, and I hope to implement them in order to help the festival grow.
CW: What was one of your more memorable experiences from FLEFF 2011?
GS: Meeting with the directors of some of the films last year was really valuable. I was able to interact, ask questions, and hold very intellectual conversations with them. I learned a lot about film making, but I was also able to network by simply holding conversations and listening to [the directors'] ideas and opinions.
CW: Do you have any cool stories from FLEFF 2011?
GS: Last year, I worked mainly as a projectionist. While striking equipment and packing up gear after an event, I got to interact with some of the performers and directors. I always found what they had to say about their own performances or films interesting. But what I really enjoyed was being asked to escort the directors and performers to nightclubs after their performances. There's no better sight than to see directors rocking it out on the dance floor!
CW: Are there any new changes that are coming to FLEFF 2012 that FLEFFers should look out for?
GS: FLEFF interns will be creating a huge recyclable art installation* on the Ithaca College campus to publicize FLEFF's theme this year- microtopias. We have also modified our advertising strategy to attract a larger audience and set ourselves apart from other film festivals.
CW: Any advice for 2012 FLEFFers?
GS: Get involved with ALL of the events that take place and actively participate in discussions after panels and screenings. Everyone can gain valuable information by interacting with directors and by asking questions during the event. (I also highly recommend interns to stay after events and observe, if not help the directors and performers after events. That interaction can help develop something further.)
And that's one of this year's FLEFF team leaders! Do you have anybody you want to hear from, FLEFFers? Sound off below!
*Our art installation won't look like these pieces... but seriously how cool are these?! It's amazing what you can do with recyclable materials!