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The Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival from the interns' point of view
Tuesday, February 11, 2014
Blog post written by Elma Gonzalez '14, FLEFF Blogger, Journalism, San Diego, CA.
The office is not very large. Its white walls serve as a frame to a plethora of posters, which urge students to participate in events discussing race and ethnicity. A colorful map of the world serves as the focal point of the room. It hangs above an L shaped desk with a computer monitor that is still on from earlier use. Several large stacks of paper shield the desk almost entirely, and a stapler and a spray bottle with blue liquid seize the last free inches. It is all an organized jumble of work.
In this office, sheltered inside a larger office for international programs, sits the most influential person of the Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival — and perhaps the one of the busiest women at Ithaca College —, Dr. Tanya Saunders, assistant provost and dean of international studies and special projects.
FLEFF was assigned to Dr. Saunders after the festival moved from Cornell University to Ithaca College 10 years ago. This week, I sat down with her to talk about her involvement with FLEFF and her expectations for its 10th anniversary.
EG: How did you become involved with FLEFF?
TS: I became assistant provost some years ago, and the provost at the time introduced the notion of sustainability to Ithaca College.
Cornell [University] wasn’t certain that it could continue to support FLEFF ... it was just a fortuitous circumstance that the provost at the time said, ‘Well, FLEFF is in keeping with [the] new area of interest that we’ve identified for Ithaca College. And so he asked Dr. [Patricia] Zimmermann and Dr. [Thomas] Shevory if they would take on the leadership of this project, and when I became dean of interdisciplinary and international studies, it was just a perfect fit because my idea for FLEFF was that it become a larger opportunity. We wanted FLEFF not to be just about the environment in the strict sense of that term, but to help us understand the environment in the larger context of sustainability. In other words, we cannot talk about the environment as if people weren’t living in that environment or as if businesses weren’t acting in that environment.
EG: What does FLEFF represent to you?
TS: It represents to me the opportunity for all of us faculty, staff, students, and members of the local community or the public to come together and to talk about ideas.
I think it allows us to come out of our schools, come out of our disciplines, to come out of our majors and recognize that [there are issues] we all share regardless of our disciplinary perspectives, and so then we can have an honest conversation.
EG: What is your favorite part of FLEFF?
TS: I love the concert. I like the opening concert because each year it’s different, and each year I’m surprised, so I am looking forward to what the concert will be this year. It sort of sets the tone for the remainder of the festival.
EG: Why should students attend the festival?
TS: Because they are going to be entering a world that is larger than themselves, larger than their immediate goals of ‘I want this GPA’ or ‘I want to succeed in a particular major’ or ‘I want to secure that first job’. Regardless of what their immediate goals are, all of them are going to become a part of the international or global conversation about how do we help our planet to survive in a way that allows us to survive as a species if you will, but to also have a quality of life that allows meaning.
FLEFF is fun as well. I am talking about it in serious terms, but we come out talking and smiling and engaging so I don’t want students to miss that either.
Friday, April 5, 2013
Blog posting written by Erica Moriarty, Documentary Studies and Production '16, FLEFF Intern, Houston, Texas
Hello FLEFFers! Can't make it to the FLEFF Lab in Park 220? No problem! I'm here live blogging to bring you the highlights!
And due to a last minute change, filmmaker Bo Wang, the first Chinese filmmaker to attend FLEFF, will be doing a presentation this hour.
Bo directed a film called China Concerto at 4PM and 9PM tomorrow at Cinemapolis. dGenerate films brings underground, new generation Chinese cinema out of China. This new generation of films emerged post-Tiananmen with a new, radical spin.
"Set the stage for us and walk us through China," Dr. Patricia Zimmermann began the
Bo described a brief history of China. After Mao died in 1976, the country began to adopt capitalism.
"It's been described as socialism with Chinese characters," said Bo.
After 1989 and the incident at Tiananmen Square, a new movement emerged. It began with the avant-garde movement which was politically driven in the form of personal expression. However, many movies continued to be censored. In the 90s, many artist began making movies and used connections in the western world to distribute the Chinese independent filmmaking.
In August, Bo attended a film festival in Beijing, one of the biggest in China. During this time, there was a significant party shift in Chinese government.
Bo described the interruption by the government: "After a half hour of the festival beginning, the electricity was cut...There was a back and forth resistance from the festival, but eventually, the festival was shut down."
After the festival shut down, the films became even more independent, often being shown in artists' studios or houses. Therefore, Bo's film, China, was never shown in an actual festival.
Although he is very involved in Chinese filmmaking today, Bo did not begin college as a filmmaker. He originally planned to go into the sciences, but he felt that he could connect with people more through art and film.
"Do you worry about censorship at all?" asked a member of the audience.
"I'm not attacking any specific person or authority," answered Bo. "I also did not expect this film to have a public showing in China. I think it should be okay. It should be safe."
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?
Tuesday, April 12, 2011
Blog was written by Kelsey Greene, Documentary Studies and Production, '13, FLEFF intern, Buffalo, New York
I am yet again in the third row of seats, but this time in the Park auditorium.
Laura Deutch says she didn't know what her path would be in college, which makes me feel a little bit better about not knowing my specific path for the future yet. I love how she is telling us about how she became involved in media and the steps she took to get where she is today.
The main focus of her presentation is her newest project Messages in Motion, which she started as a grad student senior thesis two years ago.
She is a very organized and clear presenter. Her slideshow is very informative and compliments what she is saying well. I am drawn to her idea of documentary which includes more new media concepts.
With her project she has individuals make "video postcards" using Flip cameras. The project activates social relationships and promotes personal expression. She redid an old cargo van and drives around Philadelphia, Pennsylvania teaching basic filmmaking techniques and helping community members use media in a meaningful way.
The slide that is currently up contains influential mobile media projects for Laura. While her idea is unique and creative she makes the point that it is not the first of its kind...
She is kindly explaining her process with us and using examples from her different experiences. She has a neat chart slide up with the following information giving the simple format of her process:
She is now showing us the homepage of her website that has a crazy map with blue lines marking where her Messages in Motion van has been. It is very visually appealing!
One thing I didn't know is she didn't originally plan on working with youth, and generally wanted to work with adults as well, but says she has worked mainly with youth since.
As what I am doing now, Laura says she has been trying to blog as much as she can. Her reason for doing so is to make the project and process as transparent as possible.
She showed some clips of videos individuals have made.
Now, the presentation is coming to an end so I am going to wrap up this blog.
Laura Deutch is very inspirational to me and I have immensely enjoyed and appreciated this presentation.
Monday, April 11, 2011
Blog was written by Kelsey Greene, Documentary Studies and Production, '13, FLEFF intern, Buffalo, New York
I am not usually the kind of student who pulls out their computer during class to go online, but I have been instructed to do so for this blog.
I am sitting in the third row of seats in room 115 of the Center for Health Sciences building. Renate Ferro is currently speaking to the audience of mostly students who regularly attend Dr. Zimmerman's class Nonfiction Film Theory at this time.
The Experimental Television Center, which has been an important place for discovery for many respected artists is located in Owego, NY. It sadly will be closing this year in May, but is most definitely celebrated and will not be forgotten.
Renete showed us some neat projects she has done or is working on including:
Now, Megan Roberts and Raymond Ghirado are speaking and showing pieces they have worked on. They began by showing us a project they did with twelve stacked TVs that they synced with music.
The projects they are showing us were made at the Experimental Television Center. It is interesting to hear their personal stories about how they made them while they show us the art.
Some of the projects they showed us were:
It has been really neat to see the artists discuss their projects and share their thoughts with each other and the students in the room.
I'm looking forward to more FLEFF events and will try to keep you posted!