About this blog
The Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival from the interns' point of view
Sunday, March 9, 2014
A red carpet swarmed with famous actors, celebrities, glamorous gowns, tuxedos, photographers, Ryan Seacrest, cameras, lights, Paris, Toronto, Sundance. When people think of film festivals, these are some of the images that come to mind. Before working behind the scenes for the Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival, I – as many others – imagined film festivals were about one thing above all, the razzle-dazzle.
Yet, as I delved deeper into the planning and production aspects of festivals through interviews with experts and research in class, I learned ‘glamour’ is merely a tip-of-the-iceberg factor in any film festival. Scholars, critics, and festival programmers agree the purpose of film festivals is above all to provide a platform for intelligent dialogue about important issues.
More than for entertainment purposes, films screened at festivals convey important and/or controversial messages that spark discourse. The difference between watching a film at home versus watching one at a festival is that at home there is no interaction with the film. The message ends with the credits and no other points of view are explored. At a festival, the audience and guests allow for necessary conversation.
George Stoney, a social justice filmmaker, once said, “I’m not happy until my media lead to face to face interaction.” This is the sort of engagement film festivals offer. It is a perfect place for the birth of new ideas, solutions, and activism.
Sunday, March 9, 2014
Blog post by Blaize Hall, Television-Radio, '15, Georgia, VT
I am brand new. I am a sponge. I am a first-time festival worker, first-time paraprofessional blogger, and first-time FLEFF worker. I jumped into the FLEFF blogging team this semester with few concrete expectations. I expected to write a lot. I expected to absorb a mountain of new information. I expected to engage in dialogue through interviews, reading discussions, and Q&A after films. And I expected that it all would leave me with a lot to think about.
I’ve listed a few fast facts I’ve picked up along the way.
The experience of blogging for FLEFF thus far has whet my appetite for festivals. It has made me realize the possibilities for personal growth through festival engagement. I have invested in material I otherwise would not have, such as viewing Cloud Chamber Orchestra perform during a silent film. I have read personal testimonies I never would have sought out, such as Gerald Peary’s “Memories of a Film Festival Addict” in the book Coming Soon To A Film Festival Near You. I have had conversations I would not have had the opportunity for, such as the opportunity to pick John D. Scott’s brain in an interview for a profile.
All of these experiences, with the addition of a wealth of constructive criticism, have pushed me to improve not only practical skills of writing, but also to form connections across facets of my life between material in different jobs and coursework, and to form conclusions for myself. This is invaluable.
Thursday, March 6, 2014
Blogging Post by Alexis Lanza, Film, Photography, and Visual Arts '15, FLEFF Blogger, Enfield, CT
I joined the FLEFF blogging team not knowing what to expect. All I knew was I wanted to learn and I wanted to write about it. My job is a blogger. I am a number; part of a group that is part of a larger group. We are the festival team.
The theme is dissonance. It's all we've been talking about for weeks. Every time I interview someone, I ask, “What does dissonance mean to you?” because every person has a different answer.
I have learned that festivals are a place for thought, discussion, and ideas to mass together in the same pot. I am excited for this. I think FLEFF is fascinating and every person who I have talked to has been completely different. It's a giant pot of soup with ingredients and flavors that somehow meld together to create an unexpectedly pleasant, bold, and unforgettable flavor. By result of some happy circumstance, I have been able to talk with people who offered an insight on something that directly correlated with my life: a concept I learned in class the day before that made me question my opinions, an idea I was on the fence about, or perhaps something that has been floating in the gray matter of my brain for awhile now.
I was given the privilege to speak with Karen Rodriguez, Upstate Filmmakers Showcase Curator, who talked with me about her experiences in the Pacific Northwest and experimental film. Hearing her story was the encouragement I needed to solidify my desire to move to Seattle and pursue what life has to offer me there. My blogging team also had the pleasure of Skyping with Leila Nadir, co-founder of ecoarttech (and her dogs!). Leila talked with us about the environment, nature, and her work. For that whole week, I had been subject to discussion along similar veins, focusing mainly on the National Parks, in my Environmental Anthropology class. I had been visibly struggling as these ideas threatened to irrevocably destroy everything that was important to me in my life before I questioned these topics. Without even realizing it, Leila put my mind at ease and helped me to see, as she put it, that nature “exists, but it's constructed.”
Dissonance. Throwing a wrench into the mix. I experience this every day. Although a contributor to opening my mind, thus far FLEFF has also been a way for me to calm the dissonances in my life and in that way fully grasp the lessons the world is trying to teach me. These two examples embody the feelings I have been experiencing as a blogger for FLEFF the past couple months. I am a little tentative— but mostly excited— for the festival week, when every day will be these experiences one after another. I am open and ready to question the world.
Thursday, March 6, 2014
Blog post by Haley Stearns, Still Photography '15, FLEFF Blogger, Buffalo, New York
When I first donned by FLEFF Staff t-shirt, I can honestly say I felt a sense of belonging and pride. This took place during my first year of college when I began my FLEFF journey as an intern. Two years later and being a blogger this year has taught me more than I could have expected about the Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival and other film festivals in general.
Beginning as a blogger was somewhat of an intimidating experience for me. I had never posted on a blog, let alone conducted weekly interviews before. Being a FLEFF blogger has placed me outside of my comfort zone and forced me to learn different ways of gathering and distributing information. Learning to analyze rather than generalize has been a bit of a challenge for me, but one that I am embracing fully.
In terms of this year’s festival, the theme of dissonance encourages me to not only to embrace discord, but also seek it out. Through this experience, I have witnessed and experienced perspective-altering discussions and interpretations that come from dissonant topics. I used to strive for consonance in my life. Being a part of FLEFF has taught me that dissonance has the ability to play an integral role in developing personal beliefs, attitudes, and perspective.
I’m really looking forward to FLEFF week and being able to experience all of the different events that are planned this year. FLEFF has a remarkable way of connecting the local community of Ithaca, New York to the global world in which we live. Having the opportunity to learn about new ideas, meets new people, and explore different avenues of thought through an international film festival is bound to be incredibly rewarding for all.
Wednesday, March 5, 2014
Being a FLEFF blogger has absolutely been one thing above all else: challenging. I have read and reread critical film festival theory books, such as Film Festivals and Activism, as I have become immersed in this historical and forward moving industry. I have written and rewritten blogs while attempting to refine my blogging skills. As someone with little skill in theater, I have stepped out of my comfort zone practicing and performing flash mobs – dancing, posing and all.
Honestly, I wouldn’t have it any other way. To challenge a student is to insight engagement, critical participation and progressive thought. As an upcoming Ithaca College graduate, FLEFF has pushed my abilities in blogging and media industries, preparing me to step out into the new media world as a skilled and capable individual.
My favorite aspect of being a FLEFF blogger is the genuine feeling of being part of a team. From interviewing filmmaker like Mara Alper to attending Cloud Chamber Orchestra’s accompaniment of Grass: A Nation’s Battle for Life (1925), my team has had amazing opportunities and stimulating experiences.
As FLEFF rapidly approaches I continue to look forward to a plethora of upcoming films, projects and events – especially the world premiere of the film Cotton Road, a continuation of the new media project that traces the cotton industry.