News, Views, Updates and More about the Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival
Monday, April 4, 2011
FLEFF boasts some signature events. Well, maybe not for everyone, but they are the ones that are original commissions. And ones that make us feel priveleged to be programmers.
And one of the biggest treats of FLEFF is writing, producing, inventing spoken word, live music and silent film. And collaborating with long-time FLEFFistas.
NOT TO BE MISSED: Siren of the Tropics (France, 1927), starring the dazzling, incredible, black superstar Josephine Baker. With live music by Fe Nunn and Friends and performance by Cynthia Henderson. If this year is like past FLEFF's, our original commissions of live music for silent film almost always sell-out.
So our advice is simple: get to Cinemapolis early, at least 30 minutes before the screening, get in line, grab some food, and talk cinema to whoever you end up next to.
Enter Cynthia Henderson and Fe Nunn
This year, we're excited to be collaborating again with long-time FLEFFistas Cynthia Henderson and Fe Nunn. Cynthia is an equity actress on the Ithaca College Theater Arts faculty. She has a long resume of experience in television, film, Broadway, off -Broadway, Europe, Africa.
Fe Nunn is a jazz pianist with a quartet he's played with for decades called Fe Nunn and Friends. Fe is the longest-running FLEFF silent film/live music collaborator--we started working with him in 2004 on a project exploring African American filmmaker Oscar Micheaux's WITHIN OUR GATES.
Cynthia and Fe are some of the best people to work with: they relish the give and take of collaboration, they love to be in a group and brainjam ideas, and they are NOT afraid to tell Annie, Phil, Tom and I when one of our ideas is, well, less than brilliant. We always look forward to rehearsals with them, because we never know where we are going to end up. But we always know it will be somewhere much, much better than we had thought while pounding out emails and writing scripts and thinking abstractly about what music goes with what.
Meet Josephine Baker
This year, we're all collaborating yet again on a very very special project: live music and spoken word/performance for Siren of the Tropics (France, 1927) the first film starring an African American woman.
And that woman was Josephine Baker (she appeared in a previous posting by Tom Shevory, who was lucky enough to speak with her direct from Paris:) )
Josephine Baker was Madonna before Madonna, Beyonce before Beyonce, and one of the most important singers and dancers of the 20th century. But as an African American, she faced racism and hardship. She moved to France. And it was there she became the first black superstar during the age of Paris Noir, in the 1920s.
Here's a sneak preview of part of the spoken word script for Cynthia Henderson, just to give you a taste. But it's NOTHING, trust me, it's NOTHING, without Cynthia's acting moxy and brilliance and Fe Nunn's jazz riffs. You just HAVE to come to the performance--ONE TIME ONLY, Sat, April 16, 7 p.m., Cinemapolis:
Read the Sneak Peak of the Prologue we wrote for the performance ( Patricia Zimmermann and Cynthia Henderson)
So, here’s the deal.
Here we are at the CHECKPOINT.
You and Me.
You and Me and Josephine.
At the checkpoint.
So I do indeed know you. Oh yeah, I know you. I know what you’re thinking.
You’re asking, what’s a checkpoint?
Josephine will tell you.
Checkpoints: crossing over to a different place.
A place you didn’t know.
A place not on one side or the other
but on the checkpoint where it is both and neither.
A checkpoint is a check-in-- and check-out.
Josephine knows. Josephine is a CHECKPOINT.
She was one of the highest paid entertainers in theatrical history.
She was nude. She was clothed.
She was the other and she was the center.
She was fetish and she was fact.
She was a checkpoint.
At Josephine’s funeral, a fan shouted “elle est morte. Elle est immortelle.”
She is dead. She is Immortal.
Elle est morte. Elle est immortale. She is dead. She is immortal.
Covering her funeral in 1975, attended by 7,000, Nice Matin reporter Arlette Sayac observed:
“Josephine didn’t have the petty faults they know about,
the stinginess, the rudeness and sniping.
Her faults were on a grand scale—megalomania, unbridled egotism and wild squandering—faults that are beyond the imagination of le petit bourgeois.
So they only say the good things about Josephine. To them, she was a goddess.”
Check, checkup, checkmate, checkpoint, checked, spot check, checkered, checking, boiling point, border point, match point, point, pointer, pointing, flashpoints—principles of operation and crossings to somewhere else.
Josephine Baker was a checkpoint.
She checked in. She checked out. She crossed over. Checkmate.
Josephine broke all the rules.
Checkpoint. I said, CHECKPOINT. Josephine Baker says CHECKPOINT. Josephine says, cross over to another place that is never one place.
Picasso said, YES, PICASSO SAID “Josephine Baker is the Nefertiti of now.”
Tuesday, February 15, 2011
Blog written by Patricia Zimmermann, codirector of the Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival
So much is new at FLEFF 2011.
After a year of running FLEFF as a new media and social media exploration from off shore locations in Singapore and Mongolia, we're back to an on-the-ground, embodied festival right here in Ithaca.
We'll continue to work with our social media contests, blogs and new media projects PLUS we'll be bringing you concerts, presentations, panels, workshops, screenings, after parties and all those body-to-body, mind-to-mind encounters that make festivals feel a bit different from daily life.
So we are hoping you'll join us at the "checkpoint" for discussions, debates, engagement, and to reconnect with FLEFF and old FLEFFers.
With our 2011 Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival exploring the theme of Checkpoints, we're diving head first into every imaginable way to torque this idea through film, video, new media, installation, music, silent film, bands, concerts, and writers.
Here's our first top five of what's new:
1. We've expanded to FOUR DAYS of screenings downtown at Cinemapolis, our local nonprofit art cinema. With the new, gorgeous, and comfortable theaters with excellent sight lines, Cinemapolis now sports five screens in one building. No more shuttling across town! If one films sells out, just pick another film!
2. We've expanded the festival from seven days to EIGHT DAYS. We open on Sunday, April 10, with the world premiere of the webisodes UNCORKED, chronicling the Finger Lakes wine country. UNCORKED is produced, directed, and acted by talented Finger Lakes makers.
3. We're partnering with Delilah's Restaurant and Club on Cayuga Street for our post-screening gatherings and parties.
4. We're expanding our music programming, with more bands and musicians and DJ's at the parties at Delilah's, programmed by the ever-energetic London McDaniels, a guitarist and vocalist specializing in funk, soul, zydeco and R and B.
5. We're partnering with the Park Media Lab (USA) and Engage Media (Indonesia) on an international social media project called The Checkpoints Story Project, to aggregate and amplify stories about checkpoints. We are running a writing contest where you can win $500. And, with Park Media Lab, we'll also produce short works about checkpoints that will be loaded up on Engage Media as social media projects, sharing checkpoints stories from around the globe.
So FLEFF is back. We're now in Ithaca AND in Web 2.0. We're local and we're global. And we're probing all the places in-between.
All we need to make it a living, breathing, pulsing festival is....YOU!