News, Views, Updates and More about the Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival
Saturday, October 20, 2012
By Jonathan Morello, FLEFF Assistant to the Codirectors
A few days ago, after grabbing an afternoon pick-me up at a local coffee spot in downtown Ithaca, I decided to stop by Cinemapolis to see if anyone was around to chat about the theater’s involvement with FLEFF.
For those of you who may not know, Cinemapolis is home to all of FLEFF’s off-campus film programming during the festival.
During my visit I was lucky enough to run into Scott Bliss, the executive director of the theater. He offered that we sit down and chat about Cinemapolis and FLEFF. I could not pass up a chance to have a discussion with a key film exhibitor in the upstate New York region!
Jonathan: Can you talk about the relationship between Cinemopalis and FLEFF?
Scott: It’s a hand in hand partnership. We try to accommodate FLEFF as much as possible. We have a facility that allows the directors to host a considerable amount of programing in a location that is right down the street from Ithaca College.
At the same time, we work with Tom Shevory and Patty Zimmerman (festival co-directors) to promote films to our customer base. This gives FLEFF great exposure--and helps Cinemapolis build its audience. It works to both of our advantages to do that. We recognize how important FLEFF is to the community and Ithaca College. We want to do anything to help them. And they will do anything to help us. It’s kind of a no-brainer to partner together.
Jonathan: What role do you play as the executive director of one of FLEFF’s most important partnerships?
Scott: I mostly work with marketing. Part of my job is to brand Cinemapolis and move it into different directions. That’s why one of my tasks was to work with Tom and Patty on FLEFF. It’s a huge annual event that is able to showcase Cinemapolis for what it is. They recruited me. I wanted to help them in any way possible. I think last year (2012) was a huge success.
We were able to make FLEFF more visible to our regular patrons and the community. The-tie in with Ithaca College is really important as far as branding goes.
Jonathan: Does Cinemapolis contribute to any of the programming that is presented at FLEFF?
Scott: Patty and Tom are really great. They do a lot of the negotiating with the film distributors. They handle the scheduling. However, I do meet with them to discuss the ways we can collaborate together. I have a booking agent that takes care of the movies that we show, so we’ll try to open a film or two that weekend to coincides with the festival.
Jonathan: Is there anything new that Cinemapolis hopes to contribute to FLEFF 2013?
Scott: This year Cinemopolis started selling tickets online. I think we will do the same for films that will be shown at the festival this year. We have seen a lot of success with online ticket sales for our general films. This method will be useful to pull-in younger festival goers who are accustomed to grabbing their tickets quickly and going right into the theater instead of standing in line and waiting.
Jonathan: I understand that you recently installed a high-quality digital projector. What opportunities will this open up for FLEFF?
Scott: Most major independent film distributors today allocate their titles through digital cinema. I think higher quality presentation throughout the festival is key this year: it will really enhance the experience.
Jonathan: What was the best part of your involvement with FLEFF last year?
Scott:For me, it was interacting with the interns. It’s good to see young people who have an interest in film and possess passion about causes that are important to them. It’s refreshing to see that there are groups of people out in the world who care about film and care about a medium that can facilitate social change or any other host of actions afterward.
Scott: FLEFF offers incredible preparation for whatever you decide to pursue later on in life. You learn how to work as a team. Your communication skills will improve as you drum up support for something that you truly believe in.
In any field it is important to obtain the working knowledge of seeing a project from beginning to end. I think experiencing something like that is absolutely essential for professional growth. Sometimes in an academic setting, you may not get that. You take your classes, you write your papers, and you take your tests. But being involved with FLEFF provides you with hands-on experience that you can take away and apply to whatever career that you end up going into.
Jonathan: Is there anything else that you want to add?
Scott: We are really excited about hosting the festival again. We always look forward to it. It is a little crazy at times but you know, being a little bit crazy is better than not being involved at all.
For a list of current screenings and events at Cinemapolis, check out their schedule HERE.