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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.
Monday, February 20, 2012
Blog posting written by Andrew Ronald, Film, Photography & Visual Arts '15, FLEFF Intern, Mahopac, New York
Alright, here's the scene: you are finally about to see the film you have been begging all your friends to sacrifice ten bucks for and go see with you. You get there, overcome with excitement for this movie. You are sitting in the middle of a packed theater with about one hundred other people who are as excited as you for the lights to dim and the previews to start rolling. Suddenly, this unfamiliar, yet bittersweet feeling of claustrophobia overcomes you. And for some reason, you love this feeling. We all do. And that is what we call community.
Community is ubiqituous. The sensation that is shaped through cliques of texting teenagers. The harmonious brotherhood that materializes in college fraternities. The cohesion between families that is created in neighborhood culdesacs. No matter where this dynamic manifests, it's undeniable that community is bliss.
This was exactly what it felt like during the screening of Oka! at Cinemapolis, a film that jumpstarted the fifteenth anniversary of FLEFF. The theater was saturated with incredible passion, palpable energy and, of course, a feeling of togetherness. Audience members even expressed promising feelings that the amount of energy will only escalade as the festival quickly approaches.
It's funny to think about how total strangers can be thrown together in a room and generate a better viewing experience than the one that would be created by being alone in a theater. But that's what communities do. It's astonishing to see how the idea of a communitiy can achieve so many rewarding effects. It creates a lingering sense of unity while still promoting diversity. It enhances companionship while preserving identity. It's basically what we would call a microtopia.
Now here's some questions I will leave you all with:
Do you agree with the sensation of being in a packed theater?
What does it feel like before a film starts for you?
What are your thoughts on the establishment of a community?
(And in case you didn't get the title, check this out. Save Community!)
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?
Sunday, February 19, 2012
Passion: it’s an uncontrollable desire, an inner fire. For me, passion is the most important emotion to incorporate in every aspect of my life, whether that is through my writing, my friendships, or my other interests.
What is even more exciting and invigorating than personal passion is finding people with a shared passion. And I’m not talking about shared love of trends like sports teams, Harry Potter, Twilight or Lady Gaga. I am talking about true, down and dirty, this-is-going-to-change-my-life and I-want-to-change-the-world passion. Trends are superficial. Passion goes deeper than that. It’s an emotion of the soul that touches down to the inner cores of our being. Passion builds relationships, friendships, and community.
At the screening of Oka, the first film to kick off FLEFF 2012, the sense of shared passion in the packed theater was overwhelming. The buzz of excitement, the gasps of shock, the silence of intrigue had everyone in a joint state of hypnosis. This can only happen with a connection on that deep level that passion evokes. We were all there and present in that theater because of a passion for environmental advocacy, music, film, etc. I felt connected to the strangers in that theater because of it. We all shared a few hours together, soaking our souls in FLEFF goodness.
I have found that the best friendships and strongest relationships in my life have not been formed because of a shared obsession for Urban Outfitters or the catchy television show Glee. They have grown from life loves and awe-inspiring aspiration. The best things in life come from passion.
What is your passion and how will you share it?
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!
Sunday, February 5, 2012
Blog posting written by Chloe Wilson, Television-Radio ’14, FLEFF Intern, Ashland, Massachusetts.
My name is Chloe. I am a sophomore Television-Radio major with a concentration in scriptwriting. I have a triple minor in Legal Studies, History, and the Humanities and Sciences Honors Program.
I grew up in Ashland, Massachusetts (the original home of the Boston Marathon!) and was determined to spend my college years in New York City. I ended up not in New York City, and I couldn’t be happier. Ithaca is the place that I’m supposed to be.
As introductions go, I don’t do labels. I find it impossible to identify myself without elaborating on why I used the words I did. And yet, blog posts can only take so much space, so I’m going to do my best to introduce myself. (Concisely, of course.)
I love telling stories. I love discovering characters in real life and I love creating them in my screenplays. I believe that everyone and everything has an enthralling story. It just may have not been found yet.
I love working with people. I have a strong passion for peer advising, which rose out of my desire to discover the stories of others. I also love helping people and enjoy working to make a difference.
I believe that we can learn from people just as much as we can help them. This is why I was attracted to FLEFF. It’s unique position as a curated and interdisciplinary film festival lets me partake in the dynamic intellectual engagement that no other festival offers.
I can’t wait for FLEFF 2012! I’m excited to become more active with downtown Ithaca through FLEFF. This year, The Finger Lakes Wine Center will host all of our after-event parties. Try to tell me that that’s not awesome. Go on. I dare you!
As they did last year, Cinemapolis will host our film screenings. The official film schedule for FLEFF is TBD, but Cinemapolis is screening OKA! at 4:30 PM on Sunday, Febuary 12th. FLEFF is co-sponsoring the event and a Q&A with director Lavinia Currier.
Again: it's going to be awesome.
FLEFF 2012 is going to be the opportunity of a lifetime. FLEFF challenges us to broaden what we know and immerse ourselves in what we don't, and this year's theme of microtopias only furthers that.
Personally, I'm really excited in learning about new media technologies through FLEFF. What about you FLEFFers" What are you most excited for in FLEFF 2012?