About this blog
The Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival from the interns' point of view
Tuesday, February 18, 2014
Blog posting by Kimberly Capehart, Documentary Studies and Production '16, FLEFF Blogger, Cherry Hill, NJ
The blogging team has been busy interviewing and writing for the past couple of weeks, but we've also been doing quite a bit of learning. In order to more fully understand our position in the festival world, we've been reading a number of books about the history of film festivals, the process behind programming films for a festival, social media tactics, and more!
Here are 5 things that I've learned about film festivals so far:
1. Film festivals are places where the global meets the local
The Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival may be based in Ithaca, New York, but that doesn't mean that the festival starts and ends here. FLEFF will be showing a number of international works and bringing in guests from all around the world to share their experiences and interpretations of Dissonance. It's a great opportunity for students and community members to experience the excitement of a global film festival right in their backyard.
2. Film festivals are about meaningful, intellectual dialogue
As mentioned by Dr. Thomas Shevory, film festivals create a space where intellectual conversations are frequently occurring. The films, music performances, guest speakers, and labs at FLEFF are all opportunities in which to engage with another person in a meaningful dialogue about anything! Very few people have the opportunity to immerse themselves in such an environment, so it's important that festival guests take advantage of the festival by talking to as many people as possible. You'll be surprised at how many ideas will be exchanged during FLEFF week.
3. Festivals are about diversity
Especially in the modern age of the film industry, which seems to be over-saturated with Hollywood cinema, festivals seek to bring in a wide range of media and programming choices. But festivals aren't only about diversity in the works being shown, but diversity on a larger scale. For a film festival, FLEFF programs a lot of guest speakers, music performances, new media works, and more in addition to films.
4. Audience participation is a huge factor in the success of film festivals
This is where you come in! The audience is, arguably, the most important part of a film festival because they are the people who will be initiating the ever-important conversations that are so essential to a film festival. Whether you attend a film or a lecture on campus or downtown at Cinemapolis, it's important to respond to what you are seeing and to share your ideas with others.
5. Film festivals are flexible
It's important to have an open mind when getting involved with a film festival because they are constantly changing and adapting. A discussion with a director may run longer than expected and push the screening of the next film back a little or a different guest may be attending an event or a screening than previously scheduled or any number of things that weren't expected might happen. Film festivals need to be flexible in order to manage all of these changes and it's important that spectators share this flexibility.
What assumptions do you have about film festivals?
Saturday, February 8, 2014
Blog post by Blaize Hall, Television-Radio Communications, '15, Georgia, Vermont
Edited excerpts from an interview with Chloe Wilson, past FLEFF blogger and intern.
Q: What is the most important lesson you took away from the experience of working for FLEFF?
A: I think one of the cool things about FLEFF is that it’s open to everyone. They encourage non-film making students to apply. It’s so interdisciplinary. It definitely shows you that the skills you need to be active in this environment don’t necessarily belong to one specific type of student. They’re skills anyone can have and develop, you just have to work at it. I think that’s cool. Because a lot of time people can be pigeon holed, like “you study journalism, you know how to Instragram”, and maybe I don’t. Or “oh you’re TVR, you don’t know how to write”, but maybe, yes, you do! It’s nice to have an opportunity where any student can show that they can do anything, and its not necessarily based on what classes you’re taking, its just about who you are as an individual.
Q: What did FLEFF allow you to learn about yourself?
A: I spent two summers in NYC and I consider those my abroad experiences. The summer after I did FLEFF for the first time, I went to NYC to work. I learned a lot of good communication skills from FLEFF. You interview a lot of high-profile artists, people of different mediums, so you kind of learn how to ask good questions and learn from people in that way. Having learned how to learn was really helpful being in a new place, and a new industry because you want to be open to new things and that’s something FLEFF promotes - being open, having new ideas, sharing new ideas.
Q:What do you think about the theme of dissonance this year?
A: I think the theme of dissonance is very bold and in your face and it kind of challenges you. If you aren’t really familiar with the word, you may immediately think “oh you don’t agree, it’s negative”. I think its nice that FLEFF is challenging that. I come from a music background, and sometimes the chords in piano pieces and choral pieces are supposed to be dissonant. You can sing it at first and it feels really weird, but if you think about it you see why it works because it highlights, say, the soprano’s high C note, the altos low A. Sometimes the more different things are, the more you learn from them. It’s kind of the idea of challenging yourself and being open to it. It’s good to challenge things that could originally have a negative perception. The more you challenge yourself, the more you grow.
Q:Do you consider yourself dissonant or a dissident in any way?
A: That’s a good question to ask everyone! I think for me just going against what people think makes me dissonant. A lot of times whether you’re a college student or a professor or a businessman or work downtown, you’re expected to follow a certain set of rules or stereotypes, whether it has to do with your employment or just you as a person. I like the idea of dissonance in that you’re challenging a lot of different stereotypes, or challenging society and society’s rules to become the individual that you are. One of my roommates is an environmental studies major. She was telling me about this maple syrup project that they do, where they harvest the sap and make the syrup. I was just baffled because I’ve never heard of any of this. There’s so many things inside of each little box that we put people in that people don’t even understand. If you switched it around and put someone in a new environment, they might be dissonant for a little bit but then eventually you learn so much that you change. So really, is there even dissonance?
Friday, May 10, 2013
Blog posting written by Shawn Steiner, Film, Photography, and Visual Arts '13, FLEFF Intern, Elkridge, MD
It's been a good three years since I started college and I haven't missed a single Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival. I was a blogger my freshman year, a willing participant under Dr. Zimmermann's tutelage my sophomore year and yet again a blogger this year, my junior/senior year at Ithaca College.
Each experience was different but equally amazing.
This year was especially great. With a revamped meeting structure and more diverse projects to work on I really got involved with the festival. And, since I'm a senior I didn't have any of those nerves popping up when I was talking to festival guests.
And, if there was one point to take away from all this it is this: "We need to do something together."
During each presentation, film or chat in the hallway where a couple people of differing skills were together it always seemed to lead to that conclusion. Transmedia especially seemed to be at the forefront of this.
Great projects require collaboration. Different people from different environments coming together to make something. Because if I have learned anything during my college experience it is that your good friend and editor that leans over your shoulder to tell you that your fade out doesn't work is in it for your best interest.
You have to listen to one another and evolve and move through various mediums to tell your story. Hopefully, after a few years in the field I'll be able to tell mine.
Thank you to everyone involved with FLEFF this year for the great time and learning experience.