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FLEFF Intern Voices

The Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival from the interns' point of view

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Posted by Thomas Ball at 11:52PM
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Blog Posting by Thomas Ball, FLEFF Blogger, Cinema and Photography 18'

First and foremost, the events chosen for the Cinemapolis screenings at FLEFF require the use of the theater’s larger exhibition spaces.

FLEFF events take place in a variety of places. Some take place in the Park School of Communications Auditorium, while others take place in classroom settings across the Ithaca College Campus. FLEFF transforms the spaces in which events take place into sites of discourse.

Unfractured, a film by Chanda Chevannes in collaboration with its subject Sandra Steingraber, will facilitate debates that directly effect the environment of central New York.

Steingraber, an environmental activist and scholar in residence at Ithaca College, travels around the world in order to campaign against the hydraulic fracturing practices used by chemical companies to extract natural gas.

The film chronicles Steingraber’s personal fight against harmful extraction methods, but contributes to a larger narrative that includes the many activists in Tompkins County continuing the fight to maintain control over the Finger Lakes region.

Yuri Ancarani’s The Challenge makes a great case for the use of Cinemapolis’ massive screens. The documentary exposes the world of Quatari falconry, a pastime of the oil sheiks that control much of the wealth in that region.

In one instance, a sheik has a private jet custom built, replacing all the seats with branches for his falcon to perch on.

Director Yuri Ancarani’s filmography revolves thematically on patterns of labor. Most of his other film depict poor laborers. The Challenge focuses on how the wealthiest percentile decides to use the excess leisure time extracted from that labor.

In contrast to the lavishness of The Challenge, the living conditions of laborers make up the basis for Bitter Money.

The film, directed by Wang Bing, gives a rare glimpse inside labor conditions inside the growing manufacturing sector within major Chinese urban centers. A major theme of the film is transportation, with laborers spending hours of their day commuting to the factories in which they work.

Due to the critical nature of the piece, the Chinese Film Board denied the film any kind of distribution in China, effectively banning the film from any kind of exhibition.

Tehran Taboo makes the rare appearance of an animated film on the FLEFF schedule. The brand that FLEFF maintains usually does not include animation, but the film touches on such pertinent political issues that it needed inclusion on the schedule.

The film portrays the lives of youth living in Iran’s strict theocratic society. Themes such as rebellion, sex trafficking and the power of the government to dictate the private lives of the people reflect the current movement of student protest in Tehran.

The film uses rotoscope techniques, with the animation based on live-action footage in conjunction with computer generated backdrops. In effect, the film synthesizes the real and the constructed in order to tell the story of the Iranian experience.

Finally, on Saturday April 14, Cloud Chamber Orchestra will perform an improvised score for the silent film Entrelos Hielos de las Islas Orcada. The screening is an isolated opportunity to see previously lost film from Argentine filmmakers.

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