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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 Andrew Ronald at 8:02PM
Robby Aceto

Tonight at our weekly FLEFF meeting, us interns got the amazing chance to hear electronic composer Robby Aceto share some information about the scores he has recently created and took some questions from the audience. You can get a chance to hear him as he will be improvising live music during the screening of the ninety-year-old documentary, Nanook of the North at Cinemapolis. 

"We are so sophisticated in our technologies, and a hundred years ago these things were just fantasy." He begins by speaking about the way sound in film has evolved over the past hundred years from live music accompanying each screening to revolutionary technology that made synchronous sound possible. Does the Jazz Singer ring a bell for all you film scholars out there? After that, he took some questions from the audience:

7:12 PM - Aceto informs us that the electric guitar has become a ubiquitous instrument in today's musical world, but as a "color guitarist," he deviates from this typical sound and offers a truly unique sound.

7:14 PM - "It's not the easiest thing to do." Striking, but true. Aceto talks about being a freelance musician and the negatives that come with it when it comes to getting gigs and finding your niche. However, he gives some optimistic advice: "be available and try to make a name for yourself." And let's be honest because this is true despite what field you are working in.

7:22 PM - Working in a group is kind of like duking it out. The baseline is respectable material and there is a sense of collaboration that goes into perfecting the piece. 

7:30 PM - We get to hear one of his pieces! As an outrageous and bizarre silent film appears onscreen (through an excessive use of vignetting), the music resonates with a sense of respectability and relevance. This proves that despite how ridiculous the visual may be, the power of sound in film is incredible and truly influential.

7:45 PM - Yet another piece comes on and the sound is remarkable. Through a myriad of instruments, including a toy piano, a cello, a mandolin and an open-air mic, a harmonious final result is achieved. No wonder the FLEFF co-directors Thomas Shevory & Patricia Zimmerman asked him to return to the festival for a fourth time.

7:52 PM - What is composing you may ask? "The idea is that you're not there to comment on what's going on. You're there to interpret and try to be a part of it." 

I think leaving off on these last words is appropriate. Although in context he happened to be talking about scoring music for film, I believe his words have the ability to speak on a much stronger level. By integrating yourself with what is surrounding you rather than take note of it exemplifies the interactive nature of FLEFF. Do you agree that actions speak louder than words?

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